Wednesday, May 11, 2016

...back in the Old Corps...

I was digging through some boxes recently and ran across a bit of "ancient history"....

MS-DOS, WFW, Win95 diskettes
Ah, diskettes...anyone remember those?  When I was in college, this was how we did networking.  Sneakernet.  Copy the file to the diskette, carry it over to another computer.  Pretty reliable protocol.

I have (3) MS-DOS 6.0 diskettes, MS-DOS 6.22 setup diskettes, (8) diskettes for Windows-for-Workgroups 3.11, and (13) diskettes for Windows 95.

And yes, I still have a diskette drive, one that connects to a system via USB.  I would be interesting to see if I could set up a VM in VirtualBox running any of these systems.

I guess the days of tweaking your autoexec.bat file are long gone.  Sigh.

I did find some interesting sites when I went looking around the purport to provide VirtualBox images: (this site refers the reader to downloading the files at
Vintage VMs, 386Experience

I wish I still had my OS/2 Warp disks.  I was in grad school when OS/2 Warp 3.0 came out, and I went up to Frye's Electronics in Sunnyvale, CA, and purchased a copy of OS/2 2.1, the box of which had a $15 off coupon for when you purchased version 3.0.  I remember installing it, and running a script provided by one of the CS professors that would optimize the driver loading sequence so that the system booted and ran quicker.  I really liked being able to have multiple windows open doing different things, and web browser that came with Warp was the first one where you could drag-n-drop images from the browser to the desktop.

Windows, Office on CD
Here's a little bit more history...Windows 95 Plus, and Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, along with a couple of copies of Office.  I also have the CDs for Windows NT 4.0 Server, Windows 2003 Server, and I have (2) copies of Windows XP.

OS/2 Warp 4.52, running in VirtualBox
Oh, and hey...this just happened!  I found a VM someone had uploaded of OS/2 Warp 4.52, and it worked right out of the box (no pun intended...well, maybe just a little...)


Mitch Impey said...

Nice to see I am not the only IT historian out there. I have pretty much the same set of flopies / cd's as you mentioned. Plus several binders full of MS TechNet cd's should you ever require them. I have a shrink wrapped copy of IBM TopView for DOS from 1984 that runs under DOS 2.0. I have a couple of usb floppy drives from IBM as well and of course, they still work. I imaged the DOS disks when I was first learning about FAT in forensics. As for OS/2, there is at least one major bank here in Denmark using it :)
br, mitch

Harlan Carvey said...


I got rid of some old stuff, but kept the stuff that was...well...more meaningful. In grad school, I set up two small networks; one 10-BaseT, the other 10-Base2. Both had an NT 3.51 Server and two Win95 systems, and were connected across two Cisco routers. The entire thing connected to the campus backbone via a 10-Base5 vampire tap.

While I was out there, I went to Frye's a number of times, and "Weird Stuff" was right next door. They had tape drives, MS-DOS, IBM-DOS, MS OS/2 v.1.0, all in shrinkwrap.

I notice that when I look at VirtualBox and what the options are for a "New" VM, I can create Win95...not that I'd want to, but hey, it's there. Might be fun to do an older version of Windows NT, though.

And I hope you noticed the OS/2 Warp 4.52 VM that I got set up...kind of cool...

Mitch Impey said...

Back in the 90's I had a complete collection of Byte, PC World, etc that became a lot less meaningfull once it exceed 10 feet of shelf space. Same with sw, I literally had a real copy of almost every piece of standard retail sw sold. I moved a lot back then and when I moved from Toronto to Munich, all of that was chucked out. When I moved to Denmark, I worked for a IT distributor, so that was similar to a wolf guarding sheep.
But I still have too much "IT history" on hand :)

Yes, I noticed your OS2 Warp... it is all cool :) I can loan you my CD's ? :) Or some older versions of Sun Solaris for Intel ? Should fire those up in a vm once I get my thesis and 508 exam over. Still working on my book review as promised, nearly there !

Greg MacPherson said...

I'm not going to reminisce over 'tweaking your autoexec.bat' or "feeding the toaster" with floppies (IIRC OS/2 required something like sixteen (16) floppy disks - and 1.2MB floppies each could take MINUTES to load). Ease of use definitely was not paramount back in the 1980s/90s. WARP was a great product. Share IBM couldn't market ice to Eskimos.

Mitch Impey said...

OS/2 lives...