May 28, 2012

I'm Glad I Learned MS DOS - Bruce Atchison

Why should anybody, particularly a writer, continue to use an operating system that was on its way out twenty years ago? With Microsoft Windows securely-established as the world's leading program platform, using DOS seems like going back to writing on clay tablets.

Two decades ago, I took an MS DOS and WordPerfect class at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). At the time, I believed both programs would serve me well for many years. Learning the commands of each was difficult, but I felt determined to master them all.

I bought my first DOS-based computer a year later and immediately realized the advantage of using it. Since my vision has always been very poor, writing felt like an irksome chore. WordPerfect 5.1 opened up the wonderful world of writing for me. When I began accessing the BBS at the public library and ventured onto the Internet in 1995, whole new vistas of research and writing opportunities presented themselves on my amber monochrome monitor.

I still do my serious writing with a DOS-based PC. Additionally, I've discovered that many commands work in Windows' Command Prompt. One of my favourites is the CHKDSK C:/F/R command. This tells the computer to check the drive and fix any errors. Even better, it works on floppy disks and flash drives. Just type the appropriate drive letter, such as A, E, or whatever My Computer reports as the drive letter for whichever storage device you wish to check. I've rescued many ailing floppies and disorganized flash drives by using this command.

Another example is a command that transfers types of files. , I found some cool clip art on old CD-ROMs that a friend sent me. Instead of laboriously dragging and dropping each image, I typed the following command.

XCOPY D:\*.JPG/S E:\JPG

When I pressed "ENTER," the computer copied all the JPG picture files on the disks to my JPG folder on drive E. I did the same with the BMP, GIF, PIF, PCX, PNG, and similar image formats. By the way, you can also click "START," "RUN," and type both of these commands in the edit box that appears.

Now I can dress up my blog posts with appropriate artwork. Every Tuesday and Friday, I post excerpts from my books at the Bruce Atchison - author page. Please check it out, especially if you enjoy memoirs.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the helpful information you shared.

    ReplyDelete

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