But I don't want to open those Windows

With an old PC, a new hard disk and simple Dos programs, who needs more, asks David Lawson
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Indy Lifestyle Online
I am a Dosser. Always was; always meant to be. But not if Bill Gates of Microsoft has his way: he wants to knock the C:> out of our lives.

Phooey, I say. I do not want your swish new icons, Mr Gates. Nor your 32-bit file access (whatever that is). You can stick your Explorer, and your Network, and whatever else is wrapped up in the glitzy new package. Leave me with my Dos command line. It is not that I am some geek who wants computers to be difficult. I never built a Univac in my cot or reprogrammed the school computer to forecast the National Lottery. In fact, I cannot tell a batch file from a macro. I am just a humble writer.

Along with thousands of other novices, I started with a trusty old Amstrad PCW back in the Eighties. Windows 3.1 came after I had "upgraded" to a PC, but I found those natty icons merely got in the way. OK for absolute beginners, but I would have bought a Mac if that was my bent.

It also screwed up most of my favourite Dos programs. For years I have struggled to make them behave under Windows. But the world conspires against Dossers. Every program update was geared to Windows.

I am no Luddite. Windows-based Internet browsers and mail readers have displaced old-but-simple Dos programs. But I had to run out and get a new 250Mb hard drive to cope - and a supply of tranquillisers to deal with conflicts and crashes. Then, while testing an early version of Windows 95, I found history repeating itself. My Internet mail reader and Dos- based CompuServe browser both coughed and died. Even my HP Deskjet refuses to print in black and white; I must use colour.

Another wave of revisions to these programs will empty my wallet. All those hefty updates also mean I may have to buy an even bigger hard disk. In the meantime, I relish the fact that pressing F8 as W95 starts will put me straight into Windows 3.1 - or my beloved Dos. I can even twiddle the set-up to kill the introduction screen - so I can pretend I am not even running super-Windows. Dossers rule, OK?

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