A Compaq Resurrection

Around 1983, my dad brought home what was then a modern miracle. A “portable” computer that was IBM compatible. For years this was the machine that ran the family business. Well… at least ran a lot of the numbers.

Jump forward to today, and I managed to end up with this leviathan of a luggable machine. I decided out of nostalgia and the sheer technical challenge of resurrecting such an old piece of technology.

Unfortunately almost all of our 5 1/4 inch floppies have been disposed of over the years, but I was able to find a few at my parent’s house. I was also able to find some online archive’s of compatible software. The trick was getting the software on the floppies as there is no network connection on the Compaq, and there is no practical way to hook it up via a wire.

In the end this took a “rosetta stone” computer. Again raiding my parent’s stash of old equipment, I found an old computer that ran windows 95, had a network connection, and also had a dual a drive that took both 3.5 inch and 5 1/4 inch floppies.

This gave a path, but there was still a problem. The disks are formatted wrong. The drive I had was a duplex, and it took a lot of researching to find the proper DOS codes to format the disk as a 160K single sided disk. After figuring that out, I was able to locate a copy of the flight sim that I remembered playing on it as a kid.

Success! I managed to get it to boot, and the program launched. I was able to play it to a degree, but it became apparent that the keyboard was not functioning properly. Several keys were not working. In researching this there is a piece of foam that is used as a spring that disintegrates over time.

Fortunately I was able to find a gentleman in Germany that makes replacement disks. I have ordered a set, and am waiting to be able to play the flight sim with a full keyboard.

Details to follow…

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