You've come to this page because you've said something similar to the following:
- I ran the command from the DOS prompt …
- I shelled out to DOS …
- I dropped to DOS …
- I used the menu to shell out to DOS …
This is the Frequently Given Answer to such statements.
MS/PC/DR-DOS doesn't have a prompt. It is an operating system, not a command interpreter.
Command interpreters, such as
are ordinary DOS application programs that run on top of MS/PC/DR-DOS. It
is command interpreters that present prompts and accept command lines
input from the user. A command line interface is not a
"DOS prompt". The prompt that you see when using a command line interface
on MS/PC/DR-DOS is a "COMMAND prompt" or a "4DOS prompt".
The prompt is
displayed by the particular command interpreter that you are running at
Moreover, not all command interpreters are actually DOS programs in the first place. This is especially true for modern operating systems like OS/2 Warp and Windows NT.
Microsoft's use of "MS-DOS" in the icon on Windows NT version 4 that
starts up a command interpreter process is simple Microsoft mislabelling,
for example. The Windows NT command interpreter,
nothing to do with MS-DOS, let alone a "DOS prompt". It is a Win32
program. (Note that this mis-labelling was fixed in Windows NT version 5.
The icon was re-labelled "Command Prompt".)
Similarly, the OS/2 command interpreter,
CMD, has nothing
whatsoever to do with MS-DOS, and isn't a "DOS prompt" either. It is an
OS/2 program. (IBM doesn't label its OS/2 command interpreter as being
anything related to DOS. It does, however, call it an "OS/2 Window",
which is just as bad a misnomer as "DOS prompt". OS/2 is an operating
system, not a command interpreter. All of the windows on the
display are "OS/2 windows".)
When a program "shells out to DOS", it simply invokes an instance of a command interpreter as a child process and waits for it to terminate. If a program calls this function "DOS prompt" on its menu, then it — like Microsoft — is mis-labelling it. This is especially true if the program isn't a DOS program itself, and the command interpreter that it runs isn't actually a DOS program either.
Since DOS has fallen into desuetude to a large degree, people are now erroneously conflating command interpreters with consoles. Comand interpreters are not consoles, either.