Buying and running an IBM PC-XT in 2020

Bill Degnan billdegnan at
Wed Aug 26 08:39:48 CDT 2020

On Wed, Aug 26, 2020, 9:32 AM Liam Proven via cctalk <cctalk at>

> On Wed, 26 Aug 2020 at 15:10, Bill Degnan <billdegnan at> wrote:
> >
> > I remember when the IBM XT was too new for a VCF exhibit, back when
> Sellam ran shows.
> I can believe that.
> I gutted 2 original working PC-ATs in about 1996 for cases for
> Pentium-class machines. I deeply regret it now but it was 25y ago --
> they were only about 10y old and not remotely collectable or even very
> interesting at the time.
> I still have 2 MDA cards and one screen from them.
> >  The perspective is of a person who was not really part of the XT class
> machine world when they were
> > pervasive.  To me he seems to be exploring how they work as he teaches
> his son, but I guess most people
> > forget at this point how to use a PC and DOS.
> Exactly, yes. The PC came out nearly _forty years ago_ now, and only
> middle-aged types like myself (52!) remember them when they were new.
> I didn't see one until Uni in 1985, when I was 17.
> Working adult IT professionals in their mid-twenties to early 30s
> today grew up only with multicore 64-bit machines and have quite
> possibly only used SSD-equipped machines at work. Most have never seen
> or used a floppy diskette or CD-ROM, and machines with ISA slots and
> optical drives disappeared when they were small children. They might
> never have seen or used any kind of rotating or magnetic media
> whatsoever. Some I have personally encountered have never used a wired
> network connection.
> The era of 16-bit machines with rotating 5¼" media  (floppy, hard or
> optical) that you can _hear_ turning, that take time to get up to
> speed, where as you wait a minute or two for it to creak into life you
> can _hear_ motors whirring up, is as unknown to them as spinning the
> thread to make their own garments.
> For me, who started out at work on a PC-AT and worked on PC-XTs, it's
> a smooth continuum, but it's easy to forget that it really hasn't
> been, and the days of text-only single-tasking command-line machines
> with moving parts are last century...
> --

I delivered in a truck to the set up in Quebec the 20 IBM XTs that you see
in the movie Xmen the Apocalypse.  I retrieved them after the filming.  I
could set up an office or classroom of XTs.  A funny if not impractical
practical joke


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