Virtual archaeology: Recreating the very first PC I ever used
There are some things in life you will remember forever. In case you are just like me, then the very first PC you ever used is most likely one of these things.
I still remember the specifications of the family computer 6-year-old me used in 1999, even though its mainboard died around 15 years ago.
It was a Packard Bell PC, powered by an Intel Pentium II @ 233MHz, 32 MB of RAM, a 20x CD-ROM-Drive (no DVD!), and a Matrox Mystique GPU.
I knew that the system was running Windows 95 with a custom OEM software bundle. For years, I thought that rebuilding the system with the original software was impossible. The recovery CD was long gone and there was no copy to be found on any archival site.
By pure luck, I recently found a copy of the original recovery CD for sale online - I simply had to get it. It turned out that trying to recreate the system on a virtual machine was quite an adventure involving a deep dive into the inner workings of the Packard Bell recovery process.Read more...