This Old DOS

By Ira Plato

Hi, I'm Bob Wheeler Dealer and welcome to This Old DOS. Last week you may remember we renovated the Charles Babbage Family computer. We upgraded their antique CPM to the IBM operating system known as MS DOS. And this week on This Old DOS, we're continuing our renovation by installing a brand new operating system, supposed to be real easy to use, called Windows. And boy am I excited. So let's go around back and see how Norm is doing with it.

Bob: Hi Norm. How's it going?

Norm: Oh, hi Bob. Well, as you can see I'm about to install Windows on our old machine.

Bob: No glass in these Windows, huh Norm? Ha ha.

Norm: Ha ha. That's right, just a handful of floppy disks. This is an attempt at making an IBM PC work "a little bit more" like an Apple Macintosh. Instead of typing commands you just move a lot of little pictures around on a screen.

Bob: I can't wait. Sounds simple enough. Let's take a whack at it.

Norm: Well, ok, the first thing we do is install these disks. Pop them in the computer and follow the, uh, directions on the screen. Here you try (sound of hard drive grinding). That's it.

Bob: Simple enough.

Norm: Ok, Bob, now the machine wants to know if you want to modify your config.sys or change your autoexec.bat to automatically load when the machine boots up. What do you want to do?

Bob: What's a config.sys? I don't know anything about this stuff.

Norm: Never mind, it's ok Bob, I'll take care of it. There. Now to be really state of the art we've got to upgrade our microprocessor (sound of sawing). That's the computer chip inside so that these Windows will work fast enough. Otherwise, you know, you might as well go out and get a cup of coffee while the screen draws pretty pictures, heh heh. So let me get one of these, uh, 486 chips. We've got a crane here. Hey fellas…fellas! You wanna load that puppy here into place? Careful (sound of machinery)! Don't bend the pins! There, all snapped in.

Bob: All right, now we're ready to open Windows, right?

Norm: Not on your life, Bob. While we're at it we're building an extension onto the memory board for those fat, greedy programs that gobble the stuff up. I'll just hammer a few of these 4 megabyte chips into place (bang bang). There, now we've got 16 megabytes on board. Narly, man!

Bob: All right, let her rip, Norm.

Norm: Not so fast, Bob! Those big Windows programs need lots and lots of storage space. Charles talked to his banker and decided to spring for that 200 megabyte beauty there. Hand me that, uh…

Bob: You mean this thing here (groaning and grunting)?

Norm: Yeah, that's the hard drive. Ah, thanks. And they want to do multimedia. You know; sound, graphics, computer games, the latest; so we'll add on a new super VGA monitor.

Bob: Something else?


Bob: Something else? More stuff?A CD ROM drive.

Norm: Yeah, we have a sound board and special speakers if you want that great sound.

Bob: This isn't so simple anymore!

Norm: Well, we're just about ready to go. That's about it.

Bob: All right now. With all this preparation Norm, this had better be great.

Norm: Well, I hope so, let's (sound of drive grinding) load up Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3, Excel and FileMaker Pro and watch her rip! (beep…crash) Uh-oh.

Bob: What happened? What happened?

Norm: Well, it looks like a system crash.

Bob: Oh no!

Norm: Don't worry! We can fix this thing. We can fix it.

Bob: What do we do now, give up?

Norm: No, never! We drop everything and start over. That's the American Way. You keep changing stuff until you find what's wrong.

Bob: Now, how long is this gonna take? I haven't got all week to…

Norm: Don't worry! I'll have this thing running like top, Bob. In the mean time you can go back in my shop there and use my Mac.

Bob: All right, you keep working at it Norm. We're out of time folks. Join us tomorrow for the start of our new 50-part series: How to install and maintain a Local Area Network. Until then, bye bye from This Old DOS!