DOS-si-do

Where the heck is CTRL-Z?

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

Back in 1993, for those who weren’t around, Windows still ran on top of DOS. At the time, this pilot fish is a consultant, installing a new laser printer for a customer. But the Windows 3.1 computer won’t install all the drivers from the floppy. (Kids, you might want to check Wikipedia on that one, too.)

So fish gets on his CompuServ account (yeah, this Tank is a regular time machine), finds the driver is available, and downloads it. But the driver won’t load because it is finding remnants of the old driver in the Windows/drivers folder.

Fish then does a dir aa*.* (where “aa” is the prefix of the drivers) and gets a listing. He does a cursory scan to be sure there isn’t anything else in the list that would cause a problem if deleted — and promptly enters del *.* instead of del aa*.*.

He has to go to an office-supply story and buy a copy of a well-known unerase program, then do a listing on another computer to see what the files were supposed to be named. Eventually, everything was fixed and working — including the laser printer.

Says fish: “You can bet the farm that I’ve never again hit Enter until I’ve checked what I’ve typed!”

Sharky misses the command line, but that’s just because I’m bossy. Worse would be missing out on your true tales of IT life. Send them to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

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