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Difference Between DOS, Linux & Windows Operating System

  • Last Updated : 28 Jul, 2021

This article focuses on discussing the differences between the three different operating systems, DOS, Windows, and Linux.

DOS: DOS stands for Disk Operating System, which is an operating system that was popular till 1995 in IBM PCs. It is a single-tasking OS i.e., it can perform one task at a time. It is based on a command-line interface where one has to provide instructions to the computer in the command form. It runs from hard disks, floppy disks, or any other storage devices and thus provides an environment for the execution of programs. It occupies less memory. To use more than 64kb of memory, memory extenders were used, which older Windows used to use more memory. It was originally released only to OEMs(Original Equipment Manufacturers) who added support for their hardware. It was eventually released to the public.

Windows: Windows is a product of Microsoft. It is an operating system with various versions, Windows 10 being the latest version. It is a Graphics-Based user interface. Users give commands through clicking or choosing icons and images with the help of a mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen to the computer. Windows was originally a DOS extender running on top of DOS. The Windows 9x family consisting of Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, and Windows ME ran on top of MS-DOS and is capable of running DOS programs directly. Windows NT was released separately and is portable, and initially, it was written in C and C++ languages where processor reliability code is separated into DAL and HLL and was designed to be more secure than DOS and the Windows 9x family. The Windows NT family includes Windows NT 3.x,4.x, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and so on. Windows is more reliable than DOS and handles errors with ease due to various tools available for debugging and error handling.

Linux: Linux is a freely distributed multitasking and multi-user operating system that behaves like UNIX. It was originally developed by a Finnish student, LINUS TORVALDS in 1991. It is the best known and most commonly used open-source operating system. It is a cross-platform operating system based on UNIX that can be installed on PCs and laptops.

Comparison Between DOS, Windows, And Linux

FeatureDOSWINDOWSLINUX
Development Developed by Microsoft.Developed by Microsoft.Linux is developed by Open Source Development.
LicenseProprietaryProprietaryOpen-source
InterfaceIt supports a Text-Based/ Command-line interface.It supports Graphical User InterfaceIt supports both Command-line interfaces/Graphical user interfaces.
MultitaskingDOS is unable to run multiple processes at the same time.Windows supports multitaskingLinux supports multitasking
DistributionDOS was distributed by Microsoft.Windows was distributed by Microsoft.Linux is distributed by various vendors, such as Red Hat, Fedora, etc.
UsageDOS can be installed on standalone PC desktops or laptops.Windows can be installed on PC desktops, laptops, servers, and some mobile phones.Linux can be installed on a wide variety of computer hardware, mobile phones, and video game consoles to mainframes and supercomputers.
CustomizationExpansions for DOS can be downloaded so that one can customize them.It is possible to change the background and general color schemes and fonts for windows desktops.One can rewrite the code for Linux so that it can be customized further.
Reliability DOS is not very reliable because it crashes easily if a program doesn’t open properly or a wrong command is issued. Windows is not even reliable, with it crashing/needing to be restarted all the time. Linux is very reliable and is known for being run for months or even years without needing to be rebooted. 
ManagementDOS is not very easy to manage.Easy to manage.Difficult to manage.
Cost DOS is free of charge to download.It is not free.Linux is free to download.
User- SupportDOS is a single-user operating system.Windows is a multi-user operating system.Linux is a multi-user operating system.

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