How widely was MS-DOS used? Was it globally, or just in some specific places?

Were there any regional substitutes used more commonly, and if so, what were they?

closed as too broad by JAL, scruss, Chenmunka Feb 26 '18 at 9:40

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    I fear that this question will be too broad here as well. A question about DOS regions and localizations may be more on-topic. – JAL Feb 25 '18 at 23:55
  • 7
    Before Windows 95, MS-DOS had pretty much the role that Windows has today. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Feb 26 '18 at 1:54
  • 2
    MS-DOS was independently a flagship PC OS from 1981 to 1995, so I think this would be broad based on time period alone, even without considering regions, localisations and architectures — Microsoft adapted it for several x86 machines that were not IBM compatible, hoping to be the new CP/M even before fully-compatible clones sort of did that for them. – Tommy Feb 26 '18 at 4:32
  • This question is a bit too broad, maybe narrow it down to one question? – mnem Feb 26 '18 at 9:45
  • Interesting related read (from 1989): books.google.se/… - especially chapter 7 – tofro Feb 26 '18 at 10:11

As mentioned by Tommy, MS-DOS (or PC-DOS on IBM computers) was the default operating system for x86 PCs from 1981 to 1995 (and still widely used for a few years after that). Early versions were also adapted by OEMs to run on hardware which wasn’t quite IBM-compatible. As such, it was used pretty much everywhere PCs were used, whether it supported the local customs or not — many users around the world made do with an English-based computing environment, even if English wasn’t their native language.

MS-DOS itself ended up supporting a variety of localisations natively, but some markets had their own versions — examples include Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese (with the DOS/V effort), and Russian. The Japanese market in particular was quite different from the US-based DOS market, with a different “standard” for computers (PC-98) and specific software.

  • My first job as a programmer, I had a Zenith Z-100 (I think) and it had the unique capability of dual boot, and dual processor! It had a Z-80 processor you could boot to CP/M and an 8088 (or 86?) processor you could boot to Z-DOS. Zenith even had their own ZBASIC flavor of MS-BASIC. We had a wide variety of non-IBM compatibles, like Televideo, etc., that ran MS-DOS but I believe Zenith was the only one that had it's own labelled version. – Bill Hileman Feb 26 '18 at 16:28
  • You're forgeting about CP/M86 which was quite successful and it's follow up DOS-Plus, for example preinstalled with Amstrad PC1512 and several other machines. – Raffzahn Oct 6 '18 at 21:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.