Microsoft and Computer History Museum release MS-DOS and Word source code

By Silky Malhotra | Updated 26 Mar 2014
Microsoft and Computer History Museum release MS-DOS and Word source code
  • Microsoft and the Computer History Museum have made the MS-DOS and Word for Windows source code available to the public, as a part of its Historical Source Code Series.

Software giant Microsoft and Computer History Museum have published the source code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows for public view. Both the source codes are available for download on the Computer History Museum's site.


The source code from MS DOS 1.1 and 2.0 and Word for Windows 1.1a has been made public under a non-commercial license that forbids re-publication in another place on the Web.

MS-DOS was initially written by Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products and released first in August 1980. Microsoft hired Paterson in May 1981 and bought the software for $75,000 in July, and renamed it MS-DOS. The software firm released the first DOS-based version of Microsoft Word in 1983 and Word for Windows in 1989. Within four years of its launch Word for Windows generated over half the revenue of the worldwide word-processing market.


"It’s mind-boggling to think of the growth from those days when Microsoft had under 100 employees and a Microsoft product (MS-DOS) had less than 300KB (yes, kilobytes) of source code," Roy Levin, director of Microsoft Research, wrote in a blog post. "From those roots we’ve grown in a few short decades to become a company that has sold more than 200 million licenses of Windows 8 and has over 1 billion people using Microsoft Office. 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."

“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,” Microsoft Research managing director Roy Levin said today.


Microsoft is ending its support for Windows XP on April 8th. The company has started showing pop-up alerts from March 8 to XP users intimating them about the deadline. The OS that supports over four million government computers in the US alone and end of XP support will make the systems prone to exploits and malware. The move will affect banks the most as more than 95 percent of the world's ATMs run on Windows XP.

Source code are available for download on the Computer History Museum's website.

Silky Malhotra

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