Skip to main content

Microsoft releases historic MS-DOS and Word for Windows source codes through museum

Microsoft has made early versions of the MS-DOS and Word for Windows source code available for the first time in order to help future generations understand where computing came from.

Related: Why DOS shouldn’t be forgotten

The company announced via its blog that the source codes at the centre of MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0 in addition to Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1a will be freely available thanks to a project undertaken with the Computer History Museum.

“Great things come from modest beginnings, and the great Microsoft devices and services of the future will probably start small, just as MS-DOS and Word for Windows did,” said Roy Levin, engineer and managing director at Microsoft Research. “Thanks to the Computer History Museum, these important pieces of source code will be preserved and made available to the community for historical and technical scholarship.”

There are certain conditions surrounding the downloads that mean it cannot be used commercially, can only be downloaded from the museum and should not be reposted onto the Internet.

Microsoft released its first version of DOS back in the early 80s following the purchase of the OS from Seattle Computer Products and it eventually became the centrepiece of PC-DOS and MS-DOS. It was the precursor to Windows 1.0, which was finally released by the company in November 1985 and started off the OS dynasty that still lives on to this day.

Word for DOS, meanwhile, got its first outing in 1983 and it wasn’t until the 1989 release of Word for Windows that it hit the mainstream, within four years generating half the firm’s worldwide word-processing revenues.

Related: Microsoft Windows 3.0 is 20 years old today!!!

The download is some 7MB in size and consists of a .zip file that contains 1,021 files in 33 folders and is one of a number of other source codes available through the museum that includes MS-DOS, IBM’s APL, Apple II DOS and Adobe Photoshop.