4DOS

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This is what the root directory of my "C" drive looks like on FreeDOS using the 4DOS command interpreter, which replaces COMMAND.COM. I had used this before in the early 1990s as shareware. I actually bought it at the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale, Washington on a double density 360K floppy disk for $4.99 along with many other titles.

For a brief period around 1993-94, stores popped up in malls all over the country selling DOS and Windows 3.1 shareware. Some of the better Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) would have shareware on CD-ROM which you could grab over your 2400 baud modem. But now we have moved far beyond the era of MS-DOS, and most of this former shareware has either been released into the public domain or has become "abandonware". In this case, 4DOS is released as unsupported freeware with the caveat that the source code may only be compiled under FreeDOS.

What 4DOS lets me do is set up my DIR command to display files with different colors based on their extension, or whether they are directories, or hidden files, or read-only files, or have the archive bit set. I have all my executables showing up as green, for example, so at a glance I can tell which file to run. And 4DOS lets me set up a short alias for long commands just like in Linux. All the normal DOS commands are there, but with far more features, and many more commands are present, all documented with a help system that pops up when I hit F1. So with 4DOS as my one-stop command-line shop, loaded into high memory, I can move all the little individual utilities like MOVE or DELTREE or XCOPY off my hard drive and reduce the clutter.

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