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Starts a command Shell, a graphical interface to the operating system.

A command Shell is available in the DOS Resource Kit. To order the Resource Kit, use the coupon in the back of your DOS User's Guide.


To start in text mode:

DOSSHELL [/T[:res[n]]] [/B]

To start in graphics mode:

DOSSHELL [/G[:res[n]]] [/B]

n (v4.0)
Specifies a screen resolution when there is more than one choice within a category. The default value of n depends on your hardware.
res (v4.0)
Specifies a screen-resolution category. Valid values are L, M, and H to specify low, medium, and high resolution, respectively. The default value of res depends on your hardware.

/B (v4.0)
Starts the operating system Shell using a black-and-white color scheme.
/G (v4.0)
Starts the operating system Shell in graphics mode.
/T (v4.0)
Starts the operating system Shell in text mode.


For information about comparing two files, see the FC command.

Running DOS Shell with Microsoft Windows

Do not start Microsoft Windows from within the operating system Shell. If you want to use both Microsoft Windows and the operating system Shell, start Windows, and then start the operating system Shell from within Windows.

Memory requirement

To run the operating system Shell, you should ensure that your computer has at least 384K of available conventional memory.

Adjusting screen resolution

Once you have started the operating system Shell, you can adjust the screen resolution by using the Display command on the Options menu. A dialog box displays the mode (text or graphics), the number of lines, the resolution category, and the specific number within each category for all possible screen-resolution modes available for your hardware.


Your current operating system Shell settings for program items and groups, options, screen resolution, colors, and so on, are stored in a file called DOSSHELL.INI. The DOSSHELL.INI file will be updated whenever you make a change or start a program item, so it must be located on a drive that is not write-protected. You can specify the location of the DOSSHELL.INI file by setting a %DOSSHELL% environment variable in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.

For example, if the DOSSHELL.INI file is located in the DOS directory on drive C, type in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:


If you customize the operating system Shell to suit your own needs, you should back up this file regularly. If the DOSSHELL.INI file is deleted or corrupted, a new file will be created the next time you start the operating system Shell.

Setting the location to store temporary files

When you run a program from the operating system Shell, temporary files are created in the directory where the DOSSHELL.EXE file is located. You can specify that temporary files should be placed elsewhere by setting the %TEMP% environment variable in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.


To start the operating system Shell in graphics mode, type:




v4.0 v4.01 v4.01A v5.0 v5.0A v5.00.02 v5.001A v5.01 v5.02 v6.0
Windows NT