In honor of the IBM PC turning 30, I thought I’d tell some stories about my experiences with the operating system introduced with it, PC DOS (aka MS-DOS).
Longtime reader Jim ` asked me a few more worthwhile questions while I was procrastinating working on yesterday’s post about RAID. Let’s go to Q&A format.
Twenty five years ago yesterday, a revolution happened. Nobody really noticed, and nobody thinks about it today, but the effects are still here. That we take these things for granted today shows just how wide-reaching the revolution was.
It took the form of a computer with a 32-bit Motorola CPU, full stereo sound, a display capable of 4,096 colors, and a fully pre-emptive multitasking operating system. At a starting price of $1,295, though it rose to closer to $2,000 by the time you added a second drive and a monitor.
So the PC that stored my resume got kicked (as in the foot of a passer-by hitting it) and died, and the backup that I thought I had… Well, it wasn’t where I thought it was.
Time for some amateur home data recovery. Here’s how I brought it back.
It seems like I’m recommending the program MBRwork to someone at least once a month. I recommended it two or three times just last week. But there are a couple of things I don’t like about it. One, it’s DOS. Creating DOS boot floppies isn’t as easy as it used to be. And two, it’s proprietary, so it could theoretically disappear any minute.
But similar tools exist for Linux.
Here’s a familiar problem, I’m sure.
You need to back up your laptop, so you buy a monster (200+ GB) USB or Firewire hard drive. And then you can’t use it in Symantec/Norton Ghost, for one of two reasons:
1. You can’t format a FAT32 partition bigger than 32 gigabytes.
2. Ghost chokes when it tries to make a file larger than 4 gigabytes.
Occasionally, a PC’s CD or DVD-ROM drive will stop responding for no known good reason. Sometimes the problem is hardware–a CD-ROM drive, being a mechanical component, can fail–but as often as not, it seems, the problem is software rather than hardware.*
A little over a year ago, someone issued me a challenge: Make a boot disk containing the Microsoft network client and CD-ROM drivers. The problem is that the network client, plus the DOS boot files, plus a CD-ROM driver and MSCDEX almost always takes up more than 1.44 megs.
Cars. I just found out today that one of my coworkers owns four vehicles. And that’s not counting his Harley. I wondered the same thing everyone else did: What’s a single guy need four cars for?