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Say goodbye to the MS-DOS command prompt

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | Dec. 7, 2016
It had a good 36-year run, but its day is done

But you might as well wave bye-bye to the old command prompt. Build 14791 isn’t just any beta. It’s the foundation for the Redstone 2 upgrade, a.k.a. Windows 10 SP2. This is the future of Windows 10, and it won’t include this oldest of Microsoft software relics.

PowerShell, which just turned 10, was always going to be DOS’s replacement. It consists of a command-line shell and a .Net Framework-based scripting language. PowerShell was added to give server administrators fine control over Windows Server. Over time, it has become a powerful system management tool for both individual Windows workstations and servers. and its NT-twin brother, cmd.exe, were on their way out.

They had a good run. A good way to understand how they held out for so long is to look at DOS as a house under constant renovation.

First, all there was was the basic structure, the log cabin, if you will, of Microsoft operating systems. That log cabin was given a coat of paint, which is what Windows 1.0 amounted to — MS-DOS all the way, with a thin veneer of a GUI. Over time, Microsoft completely changed the façade in ways that made the old log cabin completely unrecognizable.

With Windows NT in 1993, Windows started replacing the studs and joists as well. Over the years, Microsoft replaced more and more of MS-DOS’s braces and joints with more modern and reliable materials using improved construction methods.

Today, after decades, the last pieces of the antique structure are finally being removed. All good things must come to an end. It’s way past time. Many security problems in Windows trace back to its reliance on long-antiquated software supports.

Still, it’s been fun knowing you, MS-DOS. While you certainly annoyed the heck out of me at times, you were also very useful back in your day. I know many programmers and system administrators who got their start with you on IBM PCs and clones. So, goodbye and farewell.

While few users even bothered to look at you these days, you helped launch the PC revolution. You won’t be forgotten.


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