IBM PC-DOS 6.1 Unboxing – Kind of

Or, Clever, Lazy IT People.

I got a call from a friend of mine the other day to let me know that they were cleaning out an old storage closet at his work. They had found a treasure trove of software from the early 90’s, including a couple of copies of IBM PC-DOS still in the shrink-wrap, and he was wondering if I wanted any of it. So, like any good retro-computing enthusiast, I said that I would take all of it!

He dropped it off for me the other day, and I finally got to dig in – so I present to you an IBM PC-DOS 6.1 Unboxing!

2015-11-26 20.34.51This is a very substantial box. It weighed in at 4.1 pounds – almost as much as the laptop that I’m writing this on. Let’s crack this open and see what’s inside.

2015-11-26 20.38.26First up, it looks like they included a friendly manual. (A $21.95 value!) That was nice of them! A quick flip through suggests that they’re trying to make DOS as user friendly as possible. (Well, as much as you can for DOS anyways).

2015-11-26 20.34.19The license agreement. This is a little more of what I was expecting. Very boilerplate, and surprisingly liberal. You’re even allowed to make a backup copy and transfer your license. My, how times have changed!

2015-11-26 20.34.34More detailed license info, including specs system requirements, and even the chance to win a ThinkPad! (if you registered by July 5, 1994)

2015-11-26 20.35.31Next up, the installation guide. Thin, straightforward, and surprisingly friendly (at least for a tech guy).

2015-11-26 20.35.48This one is much more reference-y. Also about an inch thick. Covers every single command built into DOS, including an exhaustively detailed explanation of the parameters and switches. Very useful, but not exactly bedtime reading.

2015-11-26 20.36.00The next one is about SuperStor/DS – an optional compression tool included with DOS. Useful for certain people, but I see why they didn’t include it in the main manual.

2015-11-26 20.36.08Another inch-thick book – this time on how to do just about anything in DOS. I’m not sure why they effectively included two users manuals in the box, but I guess that this is the more technical, in-depth one for DOS power users.

2015-11-26 20.36.19That’s it? What about the disks!?

2015-11-26 20.36.27Oh, I see.

2015-11-26 20.36.34It looks like the IT folks, being clever and lazy like IT folks are (well, we prefer the term efficient) figured out that IBM packed the disks at the bottom of the box. So, not needing the manuals, they just sliced open the box through the shrink-wrap, slid the disks out, and put the boxes in storage, not even bothering to remove the shrink wrap and open the box.

All in all, there were 3 copies of PC-DOS 6.1 – all opened in the same way, 4 Copies of Windows 3.1, and 3 Copies of Microsoft Office 4, among others. Unfortunately, it turned out to be almost all manuals. I scored a complete copy of IBM PC-DOS 4.0 and WordPerfect 5.1 upgrade, and some fun monitor tents that will be the subject of a later post, but aside from that it was a bust. But, you win some, you lose some, and at the end of the day it was all free and I’m grateful to my friend for thinking of me.

Better luck next time, I hope. For the moment, though, I’ve still got all of the manuals. Anyone interested in taking them off my hands?

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