Reason for the persistence of DOS in Windows?

Although I work in a tech field, I am not a tech guy, so I am curious as to why, when needing to diagnose an issue, we often have to use DOS commands - ipconfig, ping, plus some other really wierd shit.

On the rare occasions where I am on the phone with IT, and the first thing they say is to open the Command Line, I ask them why they still use DOS and they all say “I dunno”. Now I know these aren’t programmers, but it seems like they just learn these rote commands like they are a foreign language, and when you aske them why they don’t just have the commands in english, they say it’s just the way it is.

When I go to the auto mechanic, their manuals aren’t all written in Latin.

So, anybody have a simple answer? Just curious.

  1. Because there’s no way to do some of these things in Windows, with what’s included out-of-the-box. Like there’s no ping application. Now Microsoft could add these things, but they haven’t.

  2. Because it’s often easier to lead someone through command-line tools than through a Windows app. Leading someone through a Windows app can be painful, especially because people tend to be surprisingly blind. “Click on the Setup tab.” “I don’t see a Setup tab.”

  3. Because there is no inherent superiority to Windows apps vs command-line apps. They are just different types of tools. It’s not Latin vs English. It’s German vs English.

That’s not DOS if you’re running CMD.EXE.
It’s a command-line interface, executed in a 32-bit environment. It’s possible to write technically advanced apps that run in the context of CMD.EXE, complete with calls to DLLs and 32-bit code.

Because all us geeks would scream to high heaven if you took away our DOS prompt. There are some functions that simply can’t be done in Windows, or aren’t very easy to do.

I still drop to the DOS prompt when I want to do some of the more complex file system operations. Heck, even the not-so-complex ones are better - “dir *.xls /s” is still about a gazillion times faster than the Windows search thing.

I am in IT support and usually its alot easier to have someone use the command line then it is to navigate windows apps. All i have to say is go to start and run and type this. And spell the words and just say hit enter. With windows i have to say do this do this click on this right click this click the 2nd tab read me that number, hit repair. Its also alot faster doing a Win+R typing CMD and then ipconfig i can do that in less then 2 seonds where as doing the windows way takes alot longer

To echo Smack-Fu with a little twist.

To get to a diagnostic/configuration piece of software like msconfig through the GUI interface of Windows can take multiple clicks, might be in slightly different locations on different computers and can be easy to miss in the massive jumble of icons in the Windows directory. Asking you to type it in on the command line allows a single type of instruction that will open the program on almost all computers.
Second, the GUI interface is nice for browsing through directories to find what you want. If you know what you want, where it is and what it is called, the point and click interface can be frustrating. That is why the IT guys probably use the command line on their own computers, even though they could find the program with mouse clicks.

Don’t even THINK of taking away the DOS prompt. There’s no AppleScript in Windows so the only way FileMaker can boss the OS around effectively is by Send Event to cmd.

Yeah, I know it’s a seriously picky nit, but it bugs me when people who should know better call it a “DOS prompt”. It’s the Windows command line interface. You don’t call it a “DOS prompt” when you’re running a UNIX shell, do you?

I know, old habits, old dogs, and all that. But how long are you going to keep calling it that?

As others have pointed out, there is no “DOS” in modern versions of Windows. The console mode command prompt looks very similar to DOS and uses a similar syntax, but the two are not the same.

One very obvious difference between the two is that command script files under Windows use the extension “cmd” (presumably for “command”), while DOS used “bat” (for “batch”).

There are many console mode applications other than the command prompt in Windows, including some of the default Windows components .

AHunter3, while there is no AppleScript in Windows, there is JScript and VBScript, both of which can make full use of OS calls like any compiled language. Microsoft’s Server resource kits include a large number of VBScript scripts that do a wide variety of maintenance tasks, as an example.

To echo what previous people have said: command line and graphics both have their strengths. Command line is much faster and more powerful if you know what you’re doing, and is much easier to direct someone – compare "Find the ‘System’ tab, click on that, then go to the third area, right click on 'Available Connections . . . " (not taken from any existing GUI, just made up on the spot) to "Type ‘irsep -s -r *.dll’. (also completely fabricated, doubt if that works in any operating system).

Also, why the hell does my text keep jumping to the location of my actual cursor when I type, both in Ubuntu and XP? It’s hella annoying.

Another reason system utilities are so often command line programs is that it’s much easier to write command line programs. Designing GUIs is hard. Making a program react to command line switches is easy. These utilities tend to be small programs that someone originally dashed off to help themselves diagnose a problems.

That’s the default for some flavors of the X Windowing System, but the only way I’d be able to simulate that in MS Windows XP would be using Powertoys.
You got and Powertoys loaded, maybe one that mentions focus follow the mouse?

Who cares if its called a DOS prompt? As long as you get the meaning across its perfectly legit. Dont need to be nit picky espically with computers.

Spoken like a guy who’s never spent 15 minutes looking for a misplaced parenthesis.

CMD.exe isn’t the only command line interface for Windows any more, either. They released a new one recentlyish, which went by the somewhat cool name “Monad” while in development, and is now called “Windows PowerShell Live .Net 2007 Ultimate” or some such rubbish. It allows a lot more powerful command line control and scripting than the pretty archaic CMD.exe does. Ars Technica have a pretty nice intro and run-through of some of its features. It’s quite nifty in some ways (and pretty clunky in others, but then it’s only 1.0).

Or a misplaced or missing ’ i have. But when you deal with so many users using the incorrect term as long as you get the meaning across its fine. I mean when a user tells me there hard drive and modem dont work i know they usually mean the tower

The OP was accusing DOS prompts of obsolesence.
The command prompt is more advanced technology, and thus less obsolete than the DOS prompt.

Never heard of Powertoys, and I’m using GNOME, not X. I’ll have to look into ‘focus follow’ when I next boot into XP.

Like I said, I just find it irritating when used by people who should know better (i.e. computer nerds). It just makes you sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about if you’re calling something a DOS prompt that’s not a DOS prompt. If I’m talking to a “where’s the ‘any’ key?” person, I’d totally let it slide.

I would rephrase that as “Don’t need to be nit picky except with computers”. :slight_smile:

The particular Powertoy is called TweakUI, I think. Does that name sound familiar? Or, maybe it can be turned on in the mouse driver settings? Seems unlikely that you’d have it turned on in both OS’s without knowing about it, though.

To get back to the OP:

  1. Because the stuff works.

Its such a basic level of operating that it something you can always count on to work, and to get you answers back that are meaningful, AND accurate.

It gives you a baseline to start fixing stuff, and you KNOW you can trust that baseline.