DOS-derivated Operating System, fully compatible with various older DOS OSes (including MS-DOS, DR-DOS. PC-DOS, CP/M-86), with enhanced features added.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Open Source
Pro Large and friendly community
You won't be let alone, any question submitted on FreeDOS forums will be detailedly answered in a few hours time.
Pro Compatible with MS-DOS apps
Pro Supports FAT32 partition
As opposite to every MS-DOS version equal or older than 6.22, or any DR-DOS version, you won't be restricted by a 2 Gb large FAT16 partition.
Pro Highly portable OS
It takes ten minutes to make a portable, USB FreeDOS drive, All you need is a USB device FAT or FAT32 formatted (128 Mb should be enough, but a 2 GB device would be better). First make a FreeDOS bootable USB drive with a program like Rufus (on Windows) or UnetBootin (on linux or Mac). Select it at boot and run fdisk to make a Primary DOS partition and install FreeDOS on it. Final step: reboot and run fdisk again to make the new partition active (optional: delete the installer partition). After that, the system is ready to boot with any computer.
Pro Extremely lightweight
Takes less than 10 seconds to boot.
Pro Easy to dual-boot, either with any Linux distro or Windows
If you install a Linux distro after Freedos, GRUB2 will automatically detect it. As for Windows, newer EasyBCD releases implemented FreeDOS and automatically recognize it.
Con Unlikely going to be your PC main OS
If looking for a lightweight OS, and thinking of FreeDOS as a possible option, consider that it will only useful when having to deal with legacy software, or other dos-based programs still commonly used at workplaces. Nonetheless it's a fantastic solution for Retro-Gamers who still own a a supported sound card. However the lack of modern software makes it hard to accomplish common everyday tasks, such us opening a document written in UTF-8, not mentioning, obviously docx and pdf files. The best choice is to install it on a USB drive, in order to have a portable OS, with basic hardware and all your files (and if you want games) ready to be launched with every machine. Useful to edit partitions, as well as restore MBR, check errors, install a light bootmanager on any kind of FAT partiton of every IDE-mode compatible hard-disk.
Con Obvious lack of sound card drivers
If you own a sound card produced after than 2000, you won't find a driver to make it work.