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disk-operating system, often prefixed, as in MS-DOS and PC-DOS; a computer operating system
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(computer science)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(operating system)
1. The common abbreviation for MS-DOS.

2. IBM's Disk Operating System.

3. Any disk operating system.
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(1) See denial of service.

(2) (Disk Operating System) Any operating system that supports hard drives. See operating system.

(3) (Disk Operating System) A family of IBM mainframe operating systems (DOS, DOS/370, DOS/VS, DOS/VSE). As disk storage became accepted in the late 1960s, DOS started out as a variant of IBM's Tape Operating System (TOS); however, it was always the "junior partner" to OS/360 and its progeny. See DOS/VSE.

(4) (Disk Operating System)Pronounced "dahss." A single-user operating system from Microsoft for Intel x86 personal computers. It was the first operating system for IBM PCs and IBM-compatible PCs, and it remained the underlying control program for Windows 3.1, 95, 98 and ME. Subsequent versions of Windows incorporated all DOS functionality, and most DOS commands work the same in Windows. See cmd abc's.

The OS in the IBM PC was PC-DOS, and the OS used by all other PC makers was MS-DOS. Except for DOS 6, which contained different utilities, PC-DOS and MS-DOS commands and system functions were the same, and all PC-DOS and MS-DOS versions were commonly called "DOS." See DOS 6.

DOS Lives On
In various incarnations, DOS is still used in embedded systems, where a small OS footprint is required. Examples are Digital Research's DR-DOS, ROM-DOS from DataLight ( and the open source FreeDOS. See embedded system.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The SunPCi card will support Microsoft Windows and DOS applications, whether purchased off-the-shelf or developed in-house.
But they were slower than my DOS applications. I continued to use Windows for my interface, though I loaded DesqView occasionally.
This means that they can multitask Windows and DOS applications, provide virtual memory, and run at a reasonable speed, although DOS programs that use expanded memory will no longer work.
Even Windows sometimes serves as a font-handling solution for DOS applications (though Windows' font-handling features are still relatively crude).
If personnel are already trained in single-user DOS applications, such as word processing and spreadsheeting, they can continue to run these programs on their PCs.
The Sun 386i is an example of this kind of machine; it runs DOS applications under SunOS, a version of the Unix operating system.
The network will continue to support DOS because the administrative department has several specialized DOS applications it can't walk away from.
Because of this, few software packages, except for a handful of unique industry-specific applications, are committed to further enhancements of DOS applications.