Microsoft’s April Fool is MS-DOS for Lumia, and it actually works

April Fools’ Day is one of the worst days of the year, fact. I spend the whole morning giving the side eye to every press release I receive (‘A new digital radio range? A likely story.’) But as much as pranks are clearly terrible, when someone puts a lot of effort into one, you have to begrudgingly give them credit. And this year, Microsoft has pulled out at least some of the stops. They’ve reimagined MS-DOS for Lumia as a totally genuine new mobile operating system, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

At least, that’s the April Fool. But the company’s actually gone to the trouble of creating a working preview. Launched in 1981, MS-DOS was hugely successful and used for IBM computers until the mid-90s.

If you’re too young to remember the real thing (which I just about am, although mainly because we didn’t get a computer until I’d finished school), this will give you a flavour of what it was like. Type in DIR to see what apps are available (one of them is camera.exe, which will let you take an ASCII selfie). Plus, if you type in WIN at any time, you’ll get a glimpse of Windows 3.1. (Still better than 8.)

It’s the perfect piece of tech nostalgia, and although life’s arguably better now we have tiny computers in our pockets that we can control with the tap of a finger, for nostalgia’s sake alone, it would be pretty cool to have this and more 80s throwbacks (BBC Micro, anyone?) as real apps.

See MS-DOS for Lumia in action on YouTube, or give it a download and take it for a spin.

Diane Shipley