Meet Bill, the crotchety IBM-PC!

Written by PushingUpRoses on November 28th, 2011

Hey everyone! I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving Holiday! Mine was filled with getting fat and Christmas songs butchered by Michael Buble.

So, as many of you have already figured out, I love computers. I had been scouting sites like Craig’s List and eBay for older computers that ran earlier versions of Dos, that still functioned properly. Preferably, I wanted a system I could play my old floppy diskettes on, and legitimately play Dos games and maybe incorporate the system into my videos. After much scouring, I found that these systems tend to be very expensive. It makes sense, finding an older system in mint condition is no easy task. In some ways, finding old systems like computers from the early 80s is more difficult than game console collecting. Consoles like Nintendo, can still find those if you really wanted one. Finding an old computer that someone hasn’t scrapped proved to be a challenge for me, especially since I am usually on a tight financial rope, so to speak.

And then, a miracle happened!

Completely by fluke, I found this gem in my room mate’s grandpa’s house. It was just sitting there like an old relic, in absolutely beautiful condition. Meet BILL, the old, crotchety IBM-PC!


Get away from me, you young whipperschnappers.

Beautiful, right? The guy who gave it to me seemed to be surprised that I wanted it. Bill works perfectly, and is in pristine condition. Bill is an IBM-PC 5150 with a 8088 processor. He has two 5.25 inch floppy drives, A and B. There is no hard drive. It runs Dos 3.1, and runs at 4MHz. I am unsure on the ram at the moment, but it is somewhere between 64k and 256K.

This system is quite historic! IBM asked a small company named Microsoft to write the OS for this system. Bill Gates bought the rights to QDos (Quick and Dirty Operating System, you may recall hearing about this in my DosBox video) and modified it to create PC-Dos (later, MS-Dos) for this model. It also came with a higher end monitor which displays CGA graphics. This system was made in 1981, making Bill 30 years old. Originally, this model, when it came out, would have ran someone $3005. Which by today’s standards, is about $7200. If you search for this system, it still runs about 700-800 dollars. I am very lucky to have gotten mine for free, otherwise Bill would have been sent to the scrap yard.  I named him after my late father, even though my father wasn’t very crotchety.  Bill, I assume, is up there in years and is very grumpy.  His floppy disk drive makes distinctively cranky noises.

Running Reader Rabbit


I don’t have many 5.25 floppies hanging around, however, I plan to invest on getting it a 3.5 inch floppy drive so I can write some of my old games onto 5.25 floppies, and run them.  I did happen to have Reader Rabbit lying around, so I popped that into the B drive, and it worked perfectly.  Oh, the CGA glory!  How I love thee, purple, cyan, white and black!

If anyone has any 5.25 inch floppy disks they might want to get rid of, please let me know and I will gladly take them off your hands!

Bill is a wonderful find and I couldn’t be more excited.  The best way to find old systems is to ask older family members if they had a system and kept one.  Look around, and you might be able to score one for free!

More information on Bill as me and my room mate mess around with him.  Hopefully, I will be able to run King’s Quest 3 on it and relive my childhood.


  • Mike

    I haven’t seen one of those in years (granted it is 5 years older then me). Wow. I hope you have fun with it.

    As an aside, you have an amazing smile. That picture with Bill is fantastic…He isn’t looking too shabby either 😉

  • Anonymous

    Reader Rabbit?  Oh my god, that is AMAZING!

    The only actual floppy disks I owned were for Math Blaster.  I tended to have the smaller, hard disks.  And the days of DOS were great.  The first game I remember playing on DOS was Jump Jet, and that game was, and is, absolutely amazing.

    Seriously, super congratulations on your amazing find.  That is GLORIOUS.  I’d love to be able to pop in some of my old disks without some lousy “compatibility error,” where I have to play around with files in order to be able to play the game on the disk that I legitimately own.

    Good for you, and happy belated Thanksgiving!

  • Anonymous

    Oh my god, this is so amazing! I’m so happy for you, Roses!
    Hope you and Bill have a wonderful future together! (:

  • Steve Joanis

    you standing next to an old computer is the sexiest thing ive seen in years… 

  • Otto Rosenlund

    Ohh, if I had known you were looking for this sort of a computer. There is one such computer collecting dust at my orchestra’s back rooms, in fine condition. The keyboard is finnish, but finding a keyboard won’t be that hard. Heck, I’m still using an IBM KB-7953 in classy light gray. Best keyboard ever.

    I guess I should buy that ‘puter off of whichever organization might have ownership of it and put it on sale online.

  • Mr_fuzzer

    I have one of them. A IBM 5150. Which i use from time to time. However last week i couldnt find the regular  ac cable for the screen that goes into the outlet so i just grabbed one which connects into the PSU´s back and it fried. I dont know if the motherboard and other components are fine or if it all went to hell. Man i hope its just the fuse but sadly it rarely is just the fuse. Im guessing im going to have to either check every freaking connection to find it or im going to find myself a new psu for it which wont be easy.

    Its so annoying, i just found my old stash of games and dos 3 on 5.25″ as well. 

  • Ill Propaganda

    Just “discovered” you through your “Hackers:Debugged”!

    Truly looking forward to what you may have coming up!


  • Adam Gunsch

    I’ll get back to you if I find my boxes of 5.25″

    I remember having black cauldron 

  • Ben Hall

    I used to have that exact same computer when I was a kid.  :)

  • Steve Wozniak’s evil twin

    omg, it’s….Digger! That game pissed me off so much and yet I still find myself playing it

  • Steve Wozniak’s evil twin

    omg, it’s….Digger! That game pissed me off so much and yet I still find myself playing it

  • Nathaniel Tolbert

    I do not have one that is that old functioning, however I do have a 486DX2-66 Gateway sitting here that is a spare. It will play a vast chunk of dos games and does indeed have a 3.5 and I believe a 5.25 drive. As well as a CD-Rom. It doesn’t have a sound card in it, but that isn’t too much of an issue. I guess what I’m saying is if you want it you can have it.