Difference between DOS and Windows

Both DOS and Windows are types of operating systems. DOS is a single-tasking, single-user and CLI-based OS; whereas Windows is a multitasking, multiuser and GUI-based OS. Read this tutorial to find out more about DOS and Windows and how these two operating systems are different from each other.

What is DOS?

DOS (Disk Operating System) is a character-based operating system that was developed in the 1980s for IBM-compatible computers. DOS is one of the oldest and widely used computer operating systems. It is a set of computer programs. DOS can perform major functions like file management, allocation of system resources, providing essential features to control hardware devices in a computer system.

It is a command-line based system that allows users to enter commands to execute programs or manipulate files.

Here is a list of some of the important characteristics of DOS (Disk Operating System) −

  • DOS is a single user system.

  • DOS is a command line interface operating system.

  • DOS is machine independence.

  • DOS provides command processing facilities.

  • DOS operates with Assembler.

In DOS, commands can be typed in either upper case or lower case.

What is Windows?

Windows is a graphical operating system that was first released by Microsoft in 1985. It is a multi-user, multi-tasking operating system that provides a graphical user interface (GUI) for users to interact with the computer. Windows allows users to launch and use multiple programs at the same time, and it supports a wide range of hardware and software.

The windows operating system is basically the extension of the disk operating system. Windows is the most popular and simplest operating system because it makes use of graphics and colors to create a screen for the user interaction with the computer system. The greatest advantage of the Windows operating system is that it does not require any special training to use it.

The Windows operating system needs DOS to run various application programs initially. Because of this reason, DOS should be installed into the computer memory first and then Windows can be executed.

Here are some important characteristics of the Windows operating system −

  • Windows is a Graphical User Interface based computer operating system.

  • It uses icons (pictures, documents, application, program icons, etc.) for user interaction.

  • Windows operating system has a taskbar.

  • It has a start button as a main menu button.

  • It supports pointing devices like mouse, joystick, touchpad, etc.

Difference between DOS and Windows

The following table highlights the major differences between DOS and Windows −





DOS stands for Disk Operating System.

Windows stands for Windows, no specific form.

Tasking Nature

DOS is single-tasking OS.

Windows is multi-tasking OS.

Power Consumption

DOS consumes quite low power.

Windows consumes high power.

Memory consumption

DOS memory requirements are quite low.

Windows memory requirements are quite high as compared to DOS.

Networking support

DOS has no support for networking.

Windows supports networking.


DOS is complex in usage. You need to remember commands to use DOS properly.

Windows usages is user-friendly and is quite simple to use.

User interface

DOS is a CLI-based OS.

Windows is a GUI-based OS.


Multimedia is not supported in DOS.

Windows supports multimedia likes games, videos, audios etc.


DOS command execution is faster than Windows.

Windows operations are slower as compared to DOS.

Multi window

DOS supports single window at a time.

Windows supports multiple window at a time.


Both DOS and Windows are types of computer operating systems, but they are completely different from each other in many aspects. The most significant difference between DOS and Windows is that DOS is a single-user character-based (Command Line Interface) operating system, while Windows is a multiuser, graphical user-interface based operating system.

In general, Windows is a more modern and user-friendly operating system than DOS. It is more widely used today and supports a much wider range of programs and hardware than DOS.

Updated on: 11-Jan-2023

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