Save DOS: The Ultimate Antidote to Vista's Bloat

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More than a year after the release of Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, many users continue to spurn it, citing performance problems, compatibility issues, interface annoyances, steep upgrade costs, and general bloated excess.

The growing demand among consumers and business professionals for a leaner, meaner OS has made one thing clear to PC World: It's time to bring back DOS.

Yes, DOS--the operating system that hit the market with the first IBM PC in 1981, and powered the majority of the world's personal computers until the current fad for Windows began in the 1990s.

To deny the worl

d's computer users access to DOS is to deny them a familiar, powerful, and affordable operating system. But that's precisely what Microsoft did when it discontinued sales of MS-DOS on November 1, 2001--foisting Windows onto corporate and home users alike, whether they wanted it or not. It isn't too late to right that wrong.

We hereby urge Microsoft to reinstate sales and support of DOS 6.22 immediately. The site for our Save DOS campaign, live at, includes a slide show of great moments in DOS history, video coverage of the DOS resurgence, a history of DOS's accomplishments to date, and a community for DOS disciples to share their opinions, memories, and most-loved batch files with one another.

DOS Is Still Boss

The benefits that DOS provides over Vista--and even over the relatively reliable and (admittedly) widely supported Windows XP--are as varied as they are undeniable.

For instance, for power users who require maximum efficiency on today's hardware and find overwrought graphical interfaces useless, DOS is the ultimate high-performance OS. (Check out our DOS vs. Vista features-comparison and performance-testing charts for more details.)

For high-end gaming, DOS takes a radical approach to supporting serious performance by placing minimal demands on system hardware, leaving the PC's memory and processor cycles free to render mind-blowing 256-color graphics.

Security, a major bugaboo for Windows users, is a nonissue with DOS, since hackers stopped writing DOS viruses years ago and every known piece of spyware in the wild is incompatible with the operating system. Another plus: The lack of graphical browsers for DOS completely eliminates Web annoyances such as pesky pop-up ads.

Even mundane tasks, such as displaying the contents of a directory, are quicker with DOS. Want to find and open a folder? In Windows, you must put your mousing wrist at risk of repetitive stress injury with several time-wasting mouse clicks. In DOS, all you have to do is type dir c:\foldername /p--engaging both of your hands (and therefore both hemispheres of your brain) and touching the same key twice in only three instances. 

Yet another benefit: DOS vastly simplifies the tedious and complicated process of installing and removing software, which in Windows tends to choke system resources. Whereas Windows programs frequently leave miscellaneous files and configuration settings strewn around your PC, nearly all DOS apps uninstall completely when you delete the program's directory, leaving your PC with the digital equivalent of a freshly vacuumed carpet. In that regard, DOS offered Mac-like simplicity years before Apple ever thought of it. (Come to think of it, that makes DOS a viable upgrade path for disgruntled OS X "Leopard" users, too, since today's Intel-based Macs are, at their hearts, powerful and stylish DOS boxes.)

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