Is Powershell just DOS, or is Belinda Allen crazy?

Is Powershell just DOS, or is Belinda Allen crazy?

Belinda Allen tells me that PowerShell is just DOS. I can understand why she would think this, but she is, in fact, crazy. I believe this misunderstanding comes from the colloquial use of the term “DOS Prompt”, which falsely identifies the Command Prompt as DOS.

For starters, DOS is a full operating system. While its primary interface uses the command line, it is still a complete operating system. There are even different command line interfaces created for DOS. Applications were written specifically to run within DOS. You cannot write an application to run in PowerShell.

The Command Prompt, introduced in Windows 95, is a DOS-like command line interface that simply emulates many of the same commands used in DOS. Once Windows moved to the 32-bit versions, DOS was no longer part of Windows. Granted, you did still have access to a true MS-DOS prompt, but it was simply a self-contained virtual machine that could run 16-bit applications.

PowerShell, however, takes the command line interface to the next level. It has full integration with .NET Framework, making it capable of tasks that DOS and its brethren couldn’t imagine were even possible. But, it is not an operating system and even has its own set of commands to set it apart from Command Prompt, rather than emulate what was already familiar.

Is PowerShell just DOS? No, it’s not. Scali agrees with me. Saying that it is would be like saying DOS is just UNIX. Sure, there similarities, but there always will be. Many things change over the years and if you still refer to the Windows command line interfaces as “DOS”, you might be as crazy as Belinda.