DOS Shell was a file manager originally included with MS DOS starting from version 4.0 (1988) all the way up to MS DOS 6.0 (1993). It offers a graphical interface with mouse support and even allows for quick launching of programs from within DOS Shell.
The basic layout of DOS Shell was used for File Manager (Windows 3.X) and every File Explorer in Windows until this day. As such, the importance of this program and its legacy is not to be underestimated.
- DOS Shell was one of the first graphical file managers and offered a mouse driven interface with drop-down menus
- DOS Shell’s layout is still used in File Explorer today so will be very familiar to most users.
- Norton Commander & DOPUS (Amiga) both used a split screen where each side displayed a different folder facilitating copying & moving files between folders. DOS Shell was one of the first file managers to only show folders on the left & files & subfolders on the right.
- It was no longer included with MS DOS 6.22 but could be added using the Supplemental Disk made available separately by Microsoft.
- DOS Shell has a mixed reputation: die-hard fans still prefer Norton Commander’s split screen system. DOS Shell’s predecessor (MS-DOS Manager) ironically used Norton Commander’s system.
- Upon boot-up DOS Shell performs a full scan of the drive. With later systems with larger drives this could take several minutes to finish which made DOS Shell less ideal for quick uses on these machines.
- DOS Shell did not have a specific version because it was always bundled with MS DOS. As such, it identifies itself by its MS DOS release (or any other DOS it was bundled with such as IBM DOS).
- Norton Commander (MS DOS)
- File Manager (Windows 3.X)
- File Explorer (Windows 9X+)
- DOPUS (Amiga)
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