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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:31 pm | Post subject: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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So I just bought this on ebay, it's a Packard Bell Pack-mate III with mouse and keyboard, and an IBM 8512 VGA colour monitor.
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It has no hard drive, but I have a few laying around spare, or if worse comes to worse I got the CF card adapter. I'm gonna get a local repair shop install the HD for me, as I don't wanna take any chances at fucking up this machine by accident.

The seller is also throwing in MS-DOS 3.3 on both "5.25 and "3.5 inch disks, and I have a licensed version of Windows 3.1 on "5.25 disks and a regular version of 3.1 on "3.5 disks.

It has a 80-286 @ 12mhz and 1mb of ram.

Windows 3.1 recommended is a 286 at 1mb or a 386 at 2mb (of ram). So it fits within the recommended.

However, the latest date (BIOS copyright date) says 1989, one year before the release of Windows 3.0.

Since it has a 286, I think it may be appropriate as well to run WIndows 286 (Windows 2.x), would run faster, take less resources, etc. Also, as I said before, as of the latest date on the system - 1989, this was the latest version out (excluding WIndows 386, because it can't run that, lol).

I guess I could also just run the origional 3.0 release from 1990, because with these specs and no C-ROM drive, it's not like I am going to be doing anything multi-media wise.

I can't decide this conflict. Fight it out amongst yourselves!

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:12 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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Windows 3.0 was pretty bad, really unstable. Just install using the 5.25" floppies the seller is throwing in of DOS 3.3 and Win3.1, there's no reason to run anything earlier.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:30 am | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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I think the best suggestion for this dilemma would be to try as many OSes as you can on there to find which one works best and then pick the permanent OS solution based on your experiences, In this case I would try both Windows 2.11/286 and Windows 3.0a and see which one runs better on there, there are other OSes you can try too if you desire. (suggested OSes/GUIs I can think of are: GEM, Windows 1.04-3.1, OS/2 1.x, MS-DOS 3.2-6.0, IBM PC-DOS 4.0-6.1)
66659hi wrote:
Windows 3.0 was pretty bad, really unstable.

I know Windows 3.0 was considered unstable when run on VMs, but I think it might be stabler on emulators and period-correct hardware from what I've seen, so I think it'd still be worth trying on there.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:49 am | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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KCompRoom2000 wrote:
I think the best suggestion for this dilemma would be to try as many OSes as you can on there to find which one works best and then pick the permanent OS solution based on your experiences, In this case I would try both Windows 2.11/286 and Windows 3.0a and see which one runs better on there, there are other OSes you can try too if you desire. (suggested OSes/GUIs I can think of are: GEM, Windows 1.04-3.1, OS/2 1.x, MS-DOS 3.2-6.0, IBM PC-DOS 4.0-6.1)
66659hi wrote:
Windows 3.0 was pretty bad, really unstable.

I know Windows 3.0 was considered unstable when run on VMs, but I think it might be stabler on emulators and period-correct hardware from what I've seen, so I think it'd still be worth trying on there.



No, Windows 3.0 was unstable when my dad had it on his 386 in 1990. It was also unstable for my uncle who worked in an IT department then.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:14 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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Microsoft has always had a nasty habit of fudging the true system requirements for their software. They did this to maximize sales. You can run it, but performance will be less than optimal.

Stick to PC or MS-DOS on this one.

Side Note: Always nice to see Packard Bell stuff. Don't know why people hated vintage PB stuff so badly. Never had a problem out of mine.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:03 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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@66659hi

In this case, I don't recommend to use Windows 3.1 with 80286 CPU with 1MB RAM.
Because it is minimum spec and it supports Standard Mode only.
(No support 386 enhanced mode.)
Windows 3.1 is best for with 80386 CPU or higher. (Recommend CPU : 80486 or higher, RAM is 4MB or higher)
Also recommend DOS is 5.0 or higher for Windows 3.1x

Therefore I don't recommend to use Windows 3.1 with 80286 CPU + 1MB RAM only if possible.
The perfomance is very slow and heavy than Windows 3.0 with 80286.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:15 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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Fair enough, but I wouldn't recommend Win30 either due to buggyness - I guess he could run Win286?


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:27 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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On a machine like this, the best bet is just to use pure DOS applications. Load up Power Menu, Professional Write, Turbo Pascal, Telemate, Commander Keen, that sort of thing.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:46 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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I would just use the licensed version of Microsoft Windows 3.1. It is, after all, fully licensed for use on this machine, and in nearly every case will run just fine on an Intel 80286 CPU or compatible. If the machine needs more memory (RAM) for running in Standard Mode, then it can easily be upgraded.

If you want, you could also try searching for a 386 accelerator board to upgrade to an Intel 80386 CPU or compatible. Even without the upgrade, however, Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1 will still run in Standard Mode if enough memory for it is available. At the very least, I have run those versions of Windows on 286-based machines with no issues at all.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:57 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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SoftPCMuseum wrote:
I would just use the licensed version of Microsoft Windows 3.1. It is, after all, fully licensed for use on this machine, and in nearly every case will run just fine on an Intel 80286 CPU or compatible. If the machine needs more memory (RAM) for running in Standard Mode, then it can easily be upgraded.

If you want, you could also try searching for a 386 accelerator board to upgrade to an Intel 80386 CPU or compatible. Even without the upgrade, however, Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1 will still run in Standard Mode if enough memory for it is available. At the very least, I have run those versions of Windows on 286-based machines with no issues at all.


Thank you, but what I meant by licensed, was that this is Just regular Windows 3.1 but Microsoft licensed it to another company to resell it.

Looks like this:
Image

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:24 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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popeyewinter wrote:
SoftPCMuseum wrote:
I would just use the licensed version of Microsoft Windows 3.1. It is, after all, fully licensed for use on this machine, and in nearly every case will run just fine on an Intel 80286 CPU or compatible. If the machine needs more memory (RAM) for running in Standard Mode, then it can easily be upgraded.

If you want, you could also try searching for a 386 accelerator board to upgrade to an Intel 80386 CPU or compatible. Even without the upgrade, however, Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1 will still run in Standard Mode if enough memory for it is available. At the very least, I have run those versions of Windows on 286-based machines with no issues at all.


Thank you, but what I meant by licensed, was that this is Just regular Windows 3.1 but Microsoft licensed it to another company to resell it.

Looks like this:
Image
When you said fully licensed, I thought that you were saying that the machine was using an actual Packard Bell OEM version of Microsoft Windows 3.1. I would still recommend Windows 3.1, though, for the reasons mentioned above.

By the way, would you be willing to share that copy of Windows 3.1 here, with scans and floppy disk dumps?

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:02 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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SoftPCMuseum wrote:
popeyewinter wrote:
SoftPCMuseum wrote:
I would just use the licensed version of Microsoft Windows 3.1. It is, after all, fully licensed for use on this machine, and in nearly every case will run just fine on an Intel 80286 CPU or compatible. If the machine needs more memory (RAM) for running in Standard Mode, then it can easily be upgraded.

If you want, you could also try searching for a 386 accelerator board to upgrade to an Intel 80386 CPU or compatible. Even without the upgrade, however, Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1 will still run in Standard Mode if enough memory for it is available. At the very least, I have run those versions of Windows on 286-based machines with no issues at all.


Thank you, but what I meant by licensed, was that this is Just regular Windows 3.1 but Microsoft licensed it to another company to resell it.

Looks like this:
Image
When you said fully licensed, I thought that you were saying that the machine was using an actual Packard Bell OEM version of Microsoft Windows 3.1. I would still recommend Windows 3.1, though, for the reasons mentioned above.

By the way, would you be willing to share that copy of Windows 3.1 here, with scans and floppy disk dumps?


I'd share it here, except I have no drive that can read 5.25 disks yet.... let alone any way to get them to work with a modern system.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:13 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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Since your Packard Bell 286 machine has a 5.25 inch floppy disk drive, you could try installing ImageDisk on that machine and creating .IMG and .IMD dumps from there if you have a 3.5 inch floppy disk drive to copy the utilities to, and if the 3.5 inch floppy disk drive in your 286 machine is working and is at least 1.44 MB (so that it would have enough disk space to copy 1.2 MB floppy disk images back from).

If you decide to make a copy of the disks using ImageDisk, be sure to select the options to preserve the interleave factor and bad sectors when creating the .IMD dump in addition to the .IMG dump, so that as much information is preserved as possible (at least as much as that utility would allow).

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:18 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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SoftPCMuseum wrote:
Since your Packard Bell 286 machine has a 5.25 inch floppy disk drive, you could try installing ImageDisk on that machine and creating .IMG and .IMD dumps from there if you have a 3.5 inch floppy disk drive to copy the utilities to, and if the 3.5 inch floppy disk drive in your 286 machine is working and is at least 1.44 MB (so that it would have enough disk space to copy 1.2 MB floppy disk images back from).


I don't have it yet, I still need to pay though I did commit to buy.

I did get a pre-paid re-loadable mastercard to pay for it, however because of paypal's hidden fees I am $10 short, so tomorrow or monday I need to go load a little more money on before paying, and then there is shipping time.

It's coming from somewhere in the sates to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, 5-10 business days expected.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:11 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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Isn't this a software thread?


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:17 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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either or, the point was to show off my buy.

Asking which OS to run, is secondary.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:46 am | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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Agree with Someguy. This is best used as a Dos machine.
Although WIn3x may install, it is barely useable.

If you are set on a graphical OS, try Geos GeoWorks Pro v1.2 (1991). It is available here at WinWorld complete w/Manuals.
I used to run this on a 16 MHz PC with 640k memory and it ran beautifully in Dos 3.3.
It includes all the major apps and is actually much easier to use than Windows.


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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:22 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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well, I just found out it doesn't support VGA, so keeping that in mind, I'll probably put Windows 286 on it, and maybe try some other OS's.

I don't see much point in 3.x Windows without VGA. personally.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:46 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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popeyewinter wrote:
well, I just found out it doesn't support VGA, so keeping that in mind, I'll probably put Windows 286 on it, and maybe try some other OS's.

I don't see much point in 3.x Windows without VGA. personally.
How exactly is it "pointless" to run Windows 3.0 or even Windows 3.1 with EGA? EGA was fully supported in both versions of Windows just as it already was in Windows/286 and Windows/386, so I don't see how it would make any less sense to run with EGA than it would to run with VGA.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:02 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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SoftPCMuseum wrote:
popeyewinter wrote:
well, I just found out it doesn't support VGA, so keeping that in mind, I'll probably put Windows 286 on it, and maybe try some other OS's.

I don't see much point in 3.x Windows without VGA. personally.
How exactly is it "pointless" to run Windows 3.0 or even Windows 3.1 with EGA? EGA was fully supported in both versions of Windows just as it already was in Windows/286 and Windows/386, so I don't see how it would make any less sense to run with EGA than it would to run with VGA.


Windows 3.x is a lot more graphically detailed than the previous versions of windows, that's what I meant.

I didn't say it was impossible, but you would miss out on a lot.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:15 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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Exactly what video card or video chipset is in the computer, and exactly what is the monitor make/model?


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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:29 pm | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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SomeGuy wrote:
Exactly what video card or video chipset is in the computer, and exactly what is the monitor make/model?


Integrated Packard Bell

IBM 8512 monitor.

There's a picture of the "System Configuration" screen which says,

Dislay: VGA/EGA. so if it doesn't do VGA like the seller says it doesn't, it should do at least EGA.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:01 am | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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So I got the seller to confirm that it does indeed use IDE and that it once had an IDE hard drive.

So, I have a 2GB IDE hard drive I can put in it.

One question, I know it would only recognise a fraction of the drives capacity, but would a 2GB hard drive work on a system like this?

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:15 am | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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Most likely not. From what I've been reading about these old computers, even most 386 computers could not handle drives above 500 something megabytes. Also, you may have to MANUALLY enter the drive geometry parameters into the bios setup (I've heard that this can be a major pain in the neck). Sorry that I do not know more than this, but I missed out on all of this stuff because I was born too late. I had to learn it off the internet. Good luck!

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:07 am | Post subject: Re: My new buy, which OS to run?
 
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Very old BIOSes would only read the first 1024 cylinders of a disk, which came to about 504Mb. If you popped in a 2Gb disk, it would read the first 504Mb, but that'd be it without an overlay program. A drive overlay like OnTrack or MaxBlast can bypass this limitation and make a valid partition that spans the entire disk. I had the same problem with my own Packard Bell, except it would only read the first 4096 cylinders (2Gb). Thanks to a drive overlay, I can use my entire 15Gb disk though it would normally be impossible.

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