If you really want a graphical user interface, there is nothing
to stop you.
You can download these GUIs from Download Central.
has been developed since 2004. Of all the GUIs I have tested,
this one is the easiest to configure.
a venerable program, which means it has lots of features, and all
of them are really working (screenshots). It is no longer officially supported and I
do not know if it is still possible to buy the full version.
is, of course, primarily a web browser, but it is also a capable
file browser and GUI. It can edit text files and launch DOS applications
with the help of OOK files.
The websites for these GUIs are still maintained or at least still up,
and downloads should be working.
was developed 2002 and takes the Windows 95 approach. This is
the only GUI on this page that I haven't tested myself.
- SEAL 2.00
is probably the most
ambitious GUI project for DOS. It is currently in lambda, whatever
that is supposed to mean. Image viewer supports BMP, JPEG and PNG,
but no GIF (probabely because of patent issues). A number of desktop
- SEAL Help
- Some SEAL resources
by Tobias Johansson. You will find two games here
(already included in SEAL 2.00) and a programmer's guide for version
- Spectra, formerly WinDos
lets you treat zip files as directories. Requirements: 386,
VGA, mouse, but there is a special version for 286 machines.
Optional desktop requires a VESA card; additional midi
player for Pentiums.
is very, very old, it had its heyday in the eighties, and is
now open source. It might be interesting if you want to put a GUI
on a PC with a CGA or EGA card. The worldwide first full-featured
Illustration application for the IBM-PC, Artline,
ran only on GEM. Released in 1988, Artline offered full Bézier support
as well as fully scaleable vector-fonts and PostScript Support.
It can now be downloaded for free.
- Desktop 2
Originally supposed to be a commercial project, it was released
by its author Felix Ritter
under the GPL in September 1998. I was not very impressed. First of
all, it comes with a somehow compulsory installation routine that
does not give you any choice where you want it. The desktop itself
is cluttered with too large and not very pretty icons, I could not
figure out how to use the thing. If you want a German desktop, this
might be interesting however.
The websites for these GUIs are gone.
Last modified 2011-10-26
The Belgian Basic Operated Shell by Ken Van Hoeylandt
features four desktops, a midi
player, a calculator, a (very!) simple paint program for its own
native BVS format, a dialer for serial modems, an icon manager and
even an AI program, but no file manager.
This is a very strange product with a certain Bauhaus charm.
It is supposed to work on a 386, maybe even 286 with 640kB of RAM
and a VGA card. Better cards are not supported.
Currently no download is available.
This is based on GEOS, which was introduced in 1987 as the
new OS for the Commodore 64 and
later ported to DOS. Requirements
are a 286 with 640k RAM, HDD 10, DOS 3.3, min 12-20MB. Price
used to be $49.95-$79, but the homepage is down, the company does
not exist any more, but a few links are still up: