Solved Hard Drive Not Detected on My PC

January 31, 2012 at 06:48:17
Specs: Windows 7

The hard drive is not detected on my older PC when booted with a floppy DOS disk. Everything else is fine. Windows 2000 Professional runs when booted from the hard drive.

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✔ Best Answer
January 31, 2012 at 12:04:42

Yes, natively MS-DOS does not read NTFS Format, there are workarounds:

NTFS Reader Bootable Floppy

NTFSDOS Professional (ignore advertising in the page)

January 31, 2012 at 07:59:09

MS-DOS version = unknown

size of hard drive = unknown

type of hard drive interface = unknown

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January 31, 2012 at 08:34:55

If your hard disk that holds Win 2000 is formatted as FAT32 or worse NTFS (as I suppose running a NT based OS), DOS is unable to see it since DOS can manage FAT16 only for hard disk (FAT12 for floppies).

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January 31, 2012 at 10:25:20

Jolicloud: For DOS, I tried both 6.2.2 and 4.10; HD = 18.6 GB, 3.32 used; HD interface unknown, how do I determine that? Thanks, the dingaling.

Ivo: FAT or NTFS? I don't know the format. How can I detemine that? Thanks, the dingaling.

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Related Solutions

January 31, 2012 at 10:41:11

IVO: I've discovered the HD format is NTFS. Is that the problem? the dingaling

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January 31, 2012 at 12:04:42
✔ Best Answer

Yes, natively MS-DOS does not read NTFS Format, there are workarounds:

NTFS Reader Bootable Floppy

NTFSDOS Professional (ignore advertising in the page)

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January 31, 2012 at 12:18:31

Jolicloud: Thanks for your suggestions. I'll try to do the workarounds. Do you have a preference? If they are complicated I may not report back to you quickly.

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January 31, 2012 at 13:46:35

Jolicloud: Wow, this problem is getting too complicated for me. My review of the two sources revealed that: NTFS Reader Bootable only runs on Windows,98, 95, and 3.1. NTFS DOS Professional would possibly work but if it was run on DOS and/or my Windows 2000 computer, it requires licenses for those OSs. My Windows 2000 computer was purchased used (it probably passed through several hands?) and I don't have that license. Furthermore, I doubt I can find a license for the MS- DOS version that I would eventually use. I'm trying to recover some old data files and to run a few MS-DOS programs related thereto. The data and programs are all on 5-1/4 or 3-1/2 floppy disks, but mostly on the former. They originated during the 1983-1990 era. Also, I want to transfer those materials to more modern storage media (CDs, Flash Drives, and HD). The computer that I have to do that task has all the necessary drives that are required. I'm concerned about the age of the floppies because they are subject to deterioration. Perhaps I can choose a direct approach and simply transfer the selected materials to new storage media without checking on it's condition. I know some of those materials are still good.

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January 31, 2012 at 14:13:10

I am completely lost.......

If you have a working Windows 2000 Operating System, it can read floppies both 5.25 and 3.5 providing they are in FAT12 format and you have the correct floppy drives installed in that PC.....

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January 31, 2012 at 17:32:52

Jolicloud: If you’re lost, I’m lostier or the lostest. I get your point. However, there are some other factors involved here. I’ve been unsuccessful at formating floppy disks and also with diskcopy routines on my Windows 2000 computer. It’s generally due to “Incorrect DOS version” errors. I thought I could overcome those problems by booting the computer in MS-DOS so the Windows 2000 DOS and the MS-DOS (on floppies) wouldn’t be in conflict, if indeed, that’s where the problems lay. Regarding Diskcopy, recently I tried the procedure two more times; once with a new 3-1/2 disk of the same brand (Imation)and with the same style as the original source disk(a IBM brand, 2HD, formatted, 1.44 MB)and once with a different brand (Memorex) of the same style as above. Things went well at first and copying of the files from the source disk progressed to the "Insert target disk in drive A:" stage. I inserted the target disk(s) as directed, hit <enter> and an error was returned that stated: "Target disk bad or incompatible. The copy process ended. I had checked the target disks ahead of time by a "DIR" Command just to make sure they were formated and they were. However, I had not tried to copy some test files onto the new disks because I didn't think it was necessary. The empty disks were not fresh, but they were only 2 years old since purchase. I can’t solve the problem. It must be me, the computer, the DOS, or the disks. I figure it’s me. I’m the Dingaling.

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January 31, 2012 at 20:05:20

The computer that has the 5.25 drive--does it have a working, booting hard drive in it? If so, what OS is booting in it?

Is the 5.25 a 360 K or 1.2 meg drive? If you don't know, what's its model number?

Is the 3.5 drive a 720 K or 1.44 meg?

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February 1, 2012 at 02:47:10

Hi Dingalong,

this thread become somewhat complicated because you did not advise what you were trying to achieve in the first place.

Dos DISKCOPY is for use when copying the same format discs.
e.g. 3.5" DD to 3.5" DD (not 3.5"HD)

Dos COPY is for use when copying a file or files from/to different or same format media

Dos XCOPY is for use when different formats, directories or sub-directories are involved

As you have windows, just use its edit/copy facility and copy the entire floppy to a folder on the hard disk, then copy or transfer it wherever.

Be careful with old 3.5" HD floppys. If they have been formatted and used as DD you have to blank the 'extra' square hole with black tape. Because a new pc cannot read them as it sees them as HD.

I would not rely too much on a flash drive. Also if the data is important, make two backup copies.

Running old dos programs, is the next step.

Please advise back on progress.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

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February 1, 2012 at 08:59:20

DAVEINCAPS: You’ve hit my problem. Here are direct answers to your questions; the 5.25 drive is not the boot drive, the boot 3.5 drive is 1.44 mb. The bootable disks have been DOS 4.1 (from Windows 95) and DOS 6.22 (original source unkown). However, I find that the 4.1 disk contains only, autoexec.bat, config.sys, and files. Neither nor files exist on it. The DOS 6.22 disk contains only the, autoexec.bat, and config.syst files. However, I may have a solution. I have a MS-DOS 4.01 disk (it is not bootable, for an unknown reason to me, even though it has the, and the hidden io.sys and msdos.sys files) and I think it contains all of the DOS files (66 files, about 1.09 mb), including the and I should be able to copy the pertinent DOS files to the DOS 4.1 (from Windows 95) disk mentioned above (i.e., unless the slight ver. differences would create problems now or in the future).

Regarding the reason for unbootability of the MS-DOS 4.01 disk, I had thought the problem lay in the config.sys and autoexec.bat because those files used some C: drive statements which were not valid. I changed some of the statements in the files but that did not help. Below are the two files after I changed them. I used the REM statements in the Config.sys file so those lines would not run but they would preserve the original file statements. The Autoexec.bat file is new. Both new files contain statements that I thought were necessary for the Windows 2000 computer that I’m using for the old floppy disks. The lines below are double spaced but they were not in the actual files. If there were any error messages I don’t remember them and I doubt I kept notes (a mistake).
PATH a:\
My reply here is a paste and copy from a word file I composed for my answer. The subject has changed. Perhaps I need to start a new one? Hopefully, the issue will be solved by your next response. My head is ringing. Thanks, the dingaling.

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February 1, 2012 at 09:35:24


Sorry, I assure I don't want anyway to be offensive, but I feel you are trying harder than you can since to manage DOS on a Win 2000 PC requires a good knowledge of DOS and NT systems, things you are far away a thousand light years. As example Autoexec.bat and Config.sys have nothing to do with the early boot process that is triggered by io.sys and msdos.sys via the master boot record.

To fly a jetfighter you can almost manage a Piper.

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February 1, 2012 at 10:11:29

I was thinking if you had the floppy drives in a computer with a booting hard drive then you just copy the disks to the hard drive and burn them to cd or whatever. But I'm still not sure if that's your situation. Do you have two computers--one with the 5.25 and 3.5 but no booting hard drive and one booting 2000?

There was a dos 4 but it's not associated with windows 95. If you do a VER from 95 command prompt you'll get a version 4.something but it's a windows version and not dos. 95 dos is something like version 7. So I think your dos 4 is just the older dos version which you shouldn't be bothering with since you have 6.22.

If you want to mix commands from different dos versions you need to add the command and its dos version to SETVER.SYS and then load setver in config.sys. But if you have the relevent 6.22 commands you don't need any from other versions.

As IVO says, you don't need all that stuff in config.sys and autoexec.bat just to copy some files.

So post back info on the computer the 5.25. Does it have a booting hard drive?

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February 1, 2012 at 10:25:06

Mike Newcom: Originally I just wanted to be able to boot my computer in the old DOS to work on some old floppy programs and data disks, that I had acquired with time so I could preserve those materials. At one time I was very adept at using IBM and MS-DOS (without a hard drive and without Windows) on simple computers and life was uncomplicated. Time changed that! I won’t go into details except to say that advancing computers and software have become downwardly incompatible with each other at ever increasing rates. I started this thread simply to solve the “HD not recognized when booted with DOS” issue and the solution come quickly. It was FAT vs NTFS incompatibility and in my case there was no practical way around it. I should have closed the thread at that point. My mistake. I appreciate your help and will follow your advice. I was not familiar with the black tape over the extra square hole technique. I moved into the 3.5 floppy disk drives era late and didn’t pay much attention to the styles other than the 720 KB vs 1.44 MB storage differences. Unfortunately, I’m incompetent with CDs except for burning music CDs and I only recently used a flash drive for moving a program from one computer to another computer. How do I close the thread? Thanks. dingaling

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February 1, 2012 at 11:06:43

IVO: I agree. I'm behind the times (81 years). I guess you are telling me the boot problem is in one or both of the two hidden files? If they are defective they need fixing or replacing. I don't know how to do that. If those files are simply copied (from elsewhere) to the disk that won't boot do the files automatically go where they belong or is there a way to insure that they do go correctly? I know that some DOS versions allow for the /B switch during a format procedure to reserve room on a disk to later copy the DOS system files. However, I've not found any references that tell how the copying routine should done in that case if it's unusual. Any suggestions?

Regarding Jets and Pipers, I've only flown the latter, plus some other Army airplanes and helicopters and civilian aircraft. The dingaling.

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February 1, 2012 at 12:26:04

DAVEINCAPS: I only have one computer that can work with both sizes of floppy disks that I'm concerned about. It's a NCS brand computer (IBM-type clone) that runs Windows 2000 professional OS. It has a 18.6 GB hard drive (with 15.2 GB free); CD read only drive; and some USB ports. As configured, the 3.5 drive is bootable. It requires a cable change and possibly some dip switch changes to make the 5.25 bootable, rather than the 3.5 drive. That action necessitates removal of the case which I wouldn't want to repeat many times. Except for a few DOS disks, most the disks I would be working with are 5.25 and some of those go back to the mid 1980s. My concern is: because of potential FAT vs NTFS file type incompatibility issues, can I use the computer (described above) to run and/or store the old DOS programs along with the pertinent data files in modern medium portable storage devices (CDs, Flash Drives, Portable HDs) The old programs and files were the FAT type. The hard dirive of the computer (described above) is NTFS. The fact that the hard drive of the computer, when booted with a MS-DOS disk is not recognized, gives me reason to be fearful about what other incompatibilies will surface in the future as I try to process the old floppy disk materials (programs, files, and data, etc.). I'll need to change the CD drive to a read/write type if I want to store stuff of CDs.

Regarding the DOS 6.22 disk, it only has, autoexe.bat, config.sys, and the hidden boot files. It's almost useless for my purposes. I didn't know things could get so complicated in my late life. Maybe you'll be luckier? the dingaling.

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February 1, 2012 at 14:28:17

FYI what you state a MS-DOS4 is actually Windows 4.xx, the correct designation for Windows 95/98 which has MS-DOS 7.xx underneath.....

If you boot of a MS-DOS 7.00 aka W98SE Boot Disk, you can then read the other disks, if any data from the W98 Boot Disk is needed after floppy removed it will request to swap floppies........

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February 1, 2012 at 15:57:05

Jolicloud: Thanks. Yes, I found that within the text of the file (opened with notepad) from a disk I thought was MS-Dos 4.0 mention is made of Windows 95 (OPK3) ver 4.10.1053 and also further down in the text is Windows 95 ver 4.00.1111. Strange! I've confused the old DOS versions with Windows versions. I have a non-bootable 3.5 floppy of DOS 4.01 and the date is 1988. I suspect the reason the above floppy (with the two hidden system files) won't boot is because long ago I made a diskcopy from a 5.25 disk to a 3.5 disk because I didn't know better.

I may be able to do the things I want to do with MS-DOS 3.3 because that's the era of disks I'm dealing with. Otherwise, I'll purchase a more modern MS- DOS as you suggest. Thanks for your suggestions. The Dingaling

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February 1, 2012 at 17:13:45

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February 1, 2012 at 19:47:45

Yeah, you can find downloads for non MS dos versions. I can email you floppy disk images of 6.22.

If you plan on working with dos you may want to find an old PC at a garage sale or thrift shop so you can have a separate setup. Dos 6.22 is limited to fat16 partitioins which have a maximum size of 2 gig. So if you go that route you don't need anything fancy. I'm not sure if--or which--non MS dos versions are fat32 capable.

Re your # 16. Yeah, the hidden system files need to be at a certain place on the disk. You can't use the COPY command for that unless you're goiing to copy over system files already on the disk. When creating a bootdisk you use the SYS command to place them where they need to be. The SYS command and system files you want on the disk need to be the same version OS that is booted on the PC. Or, if you already have a bootdisk and want to make another you can use the DISKCOPY command to create an exact duplicate that will put them in the right place.

As your system is now, as you found out, if you boot from dos it won't see the NTFS drive. However, if you boot 2000 from that drive it will see the dos disks OK and you can copy their contents to the NTFS drive and probably run at least some of the dos software from windows 2000 command prompt.

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February 1, 2012 at 20:18:06

Jolicloud: Thanks for the alternative OS link. I'll check that out. The dingaling

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February 1, 2012 at 21:15:06

DAVEINCAPS: I appreciate your suggestions. I'm ignorant about images of DOS images on floppy disks. I need to reseach that area. Would the disk work like a regular floppy, be bootable, and contain all the normal DOS 6.22 files or at least the most important files that would run DOS programs of the 1983-93 era? If so, I'll gladly pay you for it. Give me your phone number and I'll give you my email address. Or I can give you my phone number and you can call me. You can decide which route is best for you. I can give you my mailing address if it's permitted on this thread. I'm new here. Thanks for your other suggestions. I understand them. I have never used the SYS command but will in the future since you have explained it. I'll keep looking for another suitable old computer but they are scare and so are the parts. I had a good one (a P-C Tech, IBM clone) whose HD crashed that had operated fine even without Windows. When I purchased the Windows 2000 computer a high density 5.25 drive was taken from the old PC-Tech computer and placed in a vacant drive space in the Windows 2000 machine. The dingaling.

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February 1, 2012 at 21:53:22

You can send me a private message by clicking on my user name on one of my posts. Then on the page that opens click on my user name again. Send your email address that way.

The image files are self extracting. That is, you run them as you would a normal file and it will tell you to insert a blank disk in the floppy drive and then it creates the disk. It's a 4 disk set for 1.44 disks. The set is intended to be used to install 6.22 on a hard drive. Most of the files are compressed. The installation process will uncompress them but the disks as they are are not really intended to be working disks.

I could send an image file that contains the uncompressed files you would likely need on a working disk if you didn't want to do a regular installation.

Let me know.

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February 2, 2012 at 09:02:29

DAVEINCAPS: Thanks for the excellent description of the image files disk. Let me think about the image disk, especially as to how I would use it. I'm leaning in the direction of somehow, eventually, making a bootable DOS 6.22 floppy that would contain the necessary DOS files that would support my endeavor to run the DOS programs I have on old floppy disks and to save those programs and the data files created therefrom in a form that could easily be saved on modern, portable storage media (e.g.,CD, flash drive, portable hard drive, etc.). My problem may be in deciding which DOS files to choose for a single floppy because there are so many files and the files are large. All of the files of the early versions of DOS easily fit on a single-sided low density 5.25 disk and most current programs could actually run on a single floppy drive computer (without a hard drive). The size of the file alone of 6.22 DOS (1994) doubled from that of the same file in DOS 3.2 (1987) (54,645 and 23,855 bytes, respectively). Most of my DOS programs are fairly simple and I don't think I would need many DOS files on a single disk. And I could add the files I needed, on a case by case basis, from the other DOS 6,22 disks on hand. It would be nice if I had another computer with a hard drive. My Windows 2000 computer drive is not partitioned. Otherwise I could load DOS 6.22 on it. I think I could use a RAM drive to speed operations, making sure of saving the data prior to shutting down, of course. I'll get back to you soon on the matter. The dingaling.

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February 2, 2012 at 09:27:07

Did you just try to run your DOS programs directly under Win 2000 loading them from your floppies?

Win 2000 has a built-in DOS emulator, NTVDM (NT Virtual DOS Machine), that allows the execution of many legacy applications in a prompt window you can open by clicking Start/Run and typing cmd , the Win 2000 version of

If your programs refuse to run via NTVDM the best way is to setup a virtual machine to run DOS inside, but that requires a bit of work and system knowledge. I did run legacy applications directly under Win 2000 and XP in this way, more complex ones using a virtual machine. NTVDM takes care of managing NTFS for DOS programs.

I apologize I was so rude to a so smart member and airplane pilot: I never had luck to gain a liftoff ever at a flight simulator!

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February 2, 2012 at 18:03:48

To IVO: Please forget the idea that you were rude. I didn’t take it that way. Also, I’m not very smart, especially when it comes to modern computers, electronics and modern communication devices in general.

No, I’ve actually not tried to run my old programs via Windows 2000 DOS because I was of the opinion they wouldn’t run due to FAT vs NTFS file incompatibility. Some say I’m wrong about that. Some of my programs are BASIC and I don’t find any forms of basic on Windows 2000. I have some disks that have the BASIC program files so I could load them in a directory (or folder) so they was be availble. I think part of my problem is because I started with the simple computers and DOS programs and without Windows because it didn't exist. After retirement in 1990 I didn't switch to Windows on my home computer because the hard disk (20 mb) couldn't hold it and very many other problems at the same time. I made the switch to Windows when my old hard drive crashed. I had a lot of catching up to do because I far behind. Anyway, that's my fault. Regarding a virtual machine, I don't want to go there. I WILL TRY SOME OF MY OLD PROGRAMS ON MY REAL MACHINE SHORTLY. Regarding flight simulators, I don't like them. A long time ago my young grandson and I flew two different simulators, in a aviation museum, which were electronically linked so we perform a dogfight. He beat me badly. Most of the time I flew inverted (not on purpose) and crashed accidently. In the army, Link trainers were bad enough just trying to get from one location to another and to fly a satisfactory pattern at the airport. The dingaling.

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February 2, 2012 at 22:38:20

I deleted the .exe file extension and resent the first file. Let me know if it goes through OK.

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February 5, 2012 at 14:48:42

You might consider getting another hard drive (a small one 500MB-8GB) and formatting it with FAT to create a DOS booting hard drive system

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February 5, 2012 at 20:52:15

To: wizard-fred: Good idea! I believe I might purchase one that will connect through the USB port that will suffice. Do you have suggestions as to brand and sources? I understand there are some that are "bimodal (or bimotile ?) i.e., that can hook up internally or externally. I don't have room in my compuer for an internal mounting. The dingaling.

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February 5, 2012 at 21:02:15

To: DAVEINCAPS: For others who may have been following this thread, yes, I got all the files you sent but I haven't had time to download them into the computer that I will be using them in. Thanks for your help. The dingaling

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February 5, 2012 at 23:52:12

I was thinking of putting another drive in your older machine. I don't think it would boot an external dos drive.

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February 6, 2012 at 07:14:36

To: wizard-fred: Your suggestion, while good, complicates things. I have used the old machine, time to time, as a backup to my modern HP notebook and to store photos, Word files etc. Also, its been very handy for manipulating certain things with the old DOS disks I have on hand, which it can read, and even run some programs, and still use the Windows 2000 aspect when I want to. Therefore, I don't want to lose that capability if I can avoid it. If I would have had a partitioned hard drive, it may have been helpful but I don't have it. Furthermore, I don't think it's possible to partition the drive now without reformating the whole disk and that would involve backing up Windows 2000 and various files I don't want to lose. Also, since it's a used computer, I don't have the Windows 2000 setup CD. Is it possible to have two partitions on a hard drive with NTFS on one and FAT on the other? Is it possible to boot both systems in such a way that I can conveniently move back and forth between them?

We've gotten off track during the thread from the original question raised here (i.e.,"Hard drive not detected on my PC". The question was answered early-on in responses #2 and #5, that being the incompatiblity of NTFS and FAT hard drive formats. Certainly, all the herein questions and responses have a bearing on my main objective which is to rescue and preserve some old DOS programs and data files for posterity. I'm new to this forum and I don't know how to close this thread officially so I can start a new one. Do you? Perhaps it's just as well to continue the thread. Do you have suggetions. Thanks. The dingaling.

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February 6, 2012 at 09:13:08


If I correctly understand your actual need is to run legacy programs in Basic under your Win 2000. To do that in a straightforward way without virtual machines or volume partitioning/dual boot you need QBasic, so take a look at the following that explains step by step the process (and just for Win 2000 environment!)

About your questions, Yes, it is possible to partition and resize an existing NTFS volume to divide it into FAT16/NTFS, the FAT16 being bootable at power on via a boot manager. A boot manager is a program that prompts you to choose the wished OS, i.e. DOS or Win 2000. This is however a potentially dangerous procedure (almost in my opinion) and anyway higly complex. It is not unlike you end with a dead system.

I prefer virtual machines that are pieces of software though acting as real computers; after all when you load a program like your internet broweser actually you run a virtual machine that transforms the PC in a communication tool.

I am not a geek kid, I am 62 years old electronic engineer that spent his professional life managing IBM mainframes that were the most real machines you can ever imagine but now I felt in love with virtual reality that is the future (even if really I graduated lecturing on that issue that in 70s was more a science fiction issue).

I hope the link I posted here may help you.

Ivo Luigi Bertani
Milano - Italy (EU)

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February 6, 2012 at 11:13:50

@ IVO,
I appreciate your response. I'll look into the QBasic option. I learned how to program in IBM Basic and GWbasic but only modestly. However, I used a fair amount of Basic programs that others had written for PCs. That was mainly to help my professional research activities in plant breeding and genetics. For complicated programs I could turn to Statisticians at the local State University with which I was affilated and they used some of the latest IBM mainframe computers which involved Fortran programming which I never learned.

I know nothing about the virtual phenomenon although it is fascinating. Perhaps we are living in a virtual world? Really! I'll pass on trying to go to a two OS computer. Linking two computers together - somehow, if that's possible - might be a better solution for me? I think my Windows 2000 computer may be about the best one for doing what I want to do in linking some of the old stuff with some of the new technology. One of my problems is that I've forgotten how to do some of the old DOS and Basic program routines that were second nature to me at the time. Unfortunately, advancing age has a way of decreasing both memory and functionality.

I'm behind the times regarding modern computer and software technologies. I started with the first IBM PC and using their DOS and never got into Windows professionally. Sometime after retirement I was forced into the Windows environment when my old windowless DOS computer at home crashed. I can work some with Windows but I've not mastered it. I'm 81 and I'm overwhelmed by the flood of complexities.

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