Essay on Consumer Pcs Didn 't Always Run Windows
No, MS-DOS was not just like using the Linux terminal or firing up the Command Prompt in a window on your fancy graphical desktop. Many things we take for granted just weren’t possible back then.
The DOS PC Experience
DOS was a command-line operating system with no graphical windows. You booted up your computer and then saw a DOS prompt. You had to know the commands to type at this prompt to launch programs, run built-in utilities, and actually do something with your computer.
You had to know a few commands to get around the operating system. To switch between different drives — for example, to access a floppy drive at drive A: — you’d type something like A: at the prompt and press Enter.
To change directories, you’d use the CD command. To view the files in a current directory, you’d use the DIR command. To run a program, you’d type the name of the program’s executable file at the prompt.
For example, if you picked up a new floppy disk with an awesome new program on it, you’d push the floppy disk into your floppy drive — waiting while the loud magnetic drive read the contents of your disk — and then run commands like the following:
SETUP or INSTALL (depending on the name of the program’s installer)
You’d then go through the installer and install the program — basically just extracting the…