Why remove DOS for a Dell PC

A friend wants to work as a medical transcriptionist from her home. The company she wants to work for stated to her that she must remove DOS off of her Dell PC in order to qualify to do this type of work for them.  Her Dell PC is about 2 or 3 years old.

1. Can DOS be removed from her PC?
2. What effect will it have on using MS Windows on her PC?
3. What benefit will be achieved by removing DOS from a PC.
4. Will removal of DOS effect any other programs, like MS Office or Facebook.  

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Lou DufresneIT Business Analyst CSM / Project ManagerAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
It seems unlikely to me that a 3 year old computer would be running DOS as an operating system. Most computers today won't do that.

I think they must be talking about the command processor that is built into Windows since Windows NT4 Workstation. That command processor cannot be removed, but it presents no issue either.

So: What operating system is this Dell running?

What is meant by DOS?  Real DOS (from pre-1993) or Command Processor?

If Real DOS? How did they put it on the Dell?

.... Thinkpads_User
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
DOS is built-into the Windows O/S. You can remote a link to it and possibly disable it in group policies or in the computer security policy, but it will probably be needed at some point in time in the future if any troubleshooting is needed like pinging a site to see if she has a connection to the internet or other device.

It probably won't effect other apps but it can definitely make the pc harder to troubleshoot if problems come up.
I think they asked to disable command prompt, it won't affect apps like office or any standard windows application.

Run gpedit.msc and Enable "Prevent access to command prompt"

Also check with the company if scripts also needs to be disabled or not.
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MacGyver80Senior Systems AdministratorCommented:

How old is this computer that it is running DOS and what operating system is this system running?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The Command Processor is needed from time to time. There is no need to remove it or block it. You can screw up a computer with a GUI just as fast as with Command.

.... Thinkpads_User
Giovanni HewardCommented:
Run the following command:

dir %windir%\cmd.exe /s/a/b

Open in new window

This will output all instances of the Windows command interpreter.  Do what you will with those executables (archive, modify permissions, rename, delete, etc.)

To meet the requirement of "removal", I'd backup a copy of the files and then delete them using explorer.  

Modifying the GPO, changing permissions, renaming, etc. won't actually "remove DOS off of her Dell PC", to do that you must delete them, preferably after they are backed up.

Bear in mind other "DOS" based programs will still exist on her system (xcopy, ping, etc.), so you may want clarification of their "removal" requirements beyond the command interpreter itself.  Removing all instances of cmd.exe will prevent "internal commands" from being available on the system (i.e. COPY, DEL, MD/MKDIR, CD/CHDIR, ECHO, FOR, etc.)

I would urge your friend to ask the company:
1. Exactly what they are referring to as "DOS"
2. Why this is so important to them.

She might feel that by asking too many questions she could be jeopardising her chance of securing this work, but I think this is an unreasonable request, especially in view of the fact that it is her own PC.

All she has to do is explain to the company that:
1. Her computer is running Windows 7 (3 years old, correct?)
2. It does not have DOS installed
3. She has sought expert advice which revealed that the Windows 7 command line processor (not DOS) is not something that can be be separately uninstalled.

Maybe they are referring to "C:\WINDOWS\system32\command.com" which is installed in Windows XP for compatibility purposes.  You could probably just rename that to "command.com.bak" in XP and, because it isn't in the folder "C:\WINDOWS\system32\dllcache" it wouldn't be detected as a modified protected system file and automatically replaced from there.

Even if you were to rename cmd.exe or move it to a non-system folder, there are still loads of other command line programs installed in modern versions of windows that could wreak havoc in the wrong hands.

Perhaps they are worried about malicious software that could potentially expose their confidential documents to rogues, but modern malware doesn't use "DOS" any more than it uses Windows GUI programs, so if this is their concern then it's a misconception.

I would be curious to see a full and verbatim list of all their system requirements.

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Giovanni HewardCommented:
Thinking outside the box, you could create a virtual machine for her (used exclusively for work) which includes the recommended windows version and excludes the command interpreter and associated files.  See VirtualBox, VMWare Workstation, Spoon, etc.  This way you're not modifying her primary OS, staying compliant with their requirements, and avoiding the appearance of impropriety.

virtual machine example
One other think I meant to mention, and it was in direct answer to to this part of your question:
>>> "Will removal of DOS effect any other programs, like MS Office or Facebook." <<<

MS Office will work fine without the standalone command line programs installed by Windows.  Facebook, however, is not an installed program, it is a website.

In my opinion using Facebook on a computer intended for work (that I am sure will involve confidential information) is more of a security risk than all the "DOS" programs put together.  As well as being a distraction when working, users are often induced to click on links that install malware, and some of the "apps" can be security issues in themselves.  My opinion is that facebook access should be banned from all corporate computers, and if your friend is seriously intending to use the computer for work of this nature she should consider the excellent suggestion above of a separate Windows installation in a Virtual Machine used only for that work, or else get a tax deduction and buy another computer purely for work.

It isn't clear from what you have asked whether the company has already run an audit on your friend's computer and given certain stipulations, or if they are universal requirements for all potential sub-contractors and are well out of date.
Lou DufresneIT Business Analyst CSM / Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
I appreciate all of your responses. Most of the responses added to my knowledge of this subject. I distributed the points across many answers because all were helpful but some were more explanitory to me.
Thank you Ldufresne19.  I hope your friend can cut through all this nonsense with the company requirements and start earning money.
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