On April Fools' Day this year, Microsoft saw fit to send a bunch of its tech community an unusual package. I unboxed it and showed it off a couple of days back. You can see that video by clicking the link in the description. In short, the company released an MS-DOS app for Windows Phone. And since then, I’ve been playing with it and discovered a bunch of really cool and useful commands. And I guess, since they’re not obvious, they’re all hidden.
Oh, and you’re going to want to watch until the end of the video, because I’ve saved the best until last.
1. COLOR - Type Color and you get a list of background and foreground colors with an assigned number or letter. To change the MS-DOS colors, simply type “color” and the number/letter combination you want.
2. CAMERA - No surprise here, typing “camera” launches the MS-DOS camera app. You can switch between ASCII, CGA and black and white cameras, take pictures with the front or back cameras, and save them to your device.
3. SEARCH - Type in “search” followed by your query, and you launch the Cortana interface complete with your search. I tried to type “Cortana” but that didn’t work for me.
4. DATE or TIME - Type “date” or “time” and MS-DOS shows you the current date, or current time.
5. WINDOWS 3.1 - To show us how far we’ve come over the past 30 years, Microsoft built in a mini version of Windows 3.1 in to the app. Simply type “win” and it launches. Its options are limited. There’s an internet icon complete with old dial-tone. Contacts, mail and calendar take you to where you’d expect them too. Market Place takes you to the Windows Phone app market, while Review lets you submit a review for the MS-DOS app. Lastly, Media takes you to an old version of media player which has just one delightfully quirky polyphonic music track.
6. MAP - Type “map” and, you guessed it, the maps app launches.
7. MS-DOS Version - Type in “ver”, and MS-DOS tells you its version number, which - in this case - is MS-DOS Mobile 1.0.
8. CLEAR SCREEN - Once your screen is full of commands and responses, you might want to clear it. Type “cls” and all previous content is wiped from the screen.
9. WINDOWS PHONE MARKET - Type “market” and it launches the Windows Phone app store.
10. INTERNET - Typing “internet” launches the web browser. But if you want to go direct to a specific URL, type “internet” followed by the address you want to go to. For instance typing “internet www.phonedog.com” will take you to our site.
11. EMAIL, SMS, PHONE - Type in “email”, “sms” or “phone” followed by your desire email address or phone number sends an email, text message or calls the person you’re trying to contact.
12. CONTACT LIST - Type “phone select” and you’re taken to your phone’s contact list or address book.
13. FORMAT - One of MS-DOS mobile’s more humorous options is to attempt to format the hard drive. Type in “format c:” and the attempt is made, before Cortana swoops in to save the day.
14. FLOPPY DISK - Like the original MS-DOS you can type “A:” to try and access the floppy disk. At which point it makes the appropriate noise and tells you it can’t detect one.
15. HELP - Type “help” and it gives you a ton of options to try.
16. ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS - Lastly, you can play rock, paper, scissors! But this is by far the most complicated of the commands, because it involves several steps. First type “cd games”, then “cd rps” then “rps.exe”. From then on, you get a bunch of options to choose from, and Cortana guides you through the process before launching the Rock, Paper, Scissors game. It’s an 8-bit wonder where you choose your weapon and hope the “PC” chooses the weaker one.