The Dumb Way I Ended Up Getting Windows 95

Way back in the middle 1990s I was going to community college. I acquired a 486 computer that was used. I also signed up for dialup internet. It was a nice computer. It even had a turbo button! I had both 5¼ and 3½ diskette drive but it didn’t come with any of the disks. It even had 4 megabytes of ram!

It had some software installed on it when I bought it from the guy. I don’t remember what all was on it but I had windows 3.1 which ran on top of DOS at the time. It had a whopping 800 megabyte hard drive which I quickly filled up with downloading different shareware and stuff.

One day I came up with the idea to delete some files to free up space. I noticed that there were lots of these dll files and somehow got the idea that I could delete them. They lived in the windows directory so when I did delete them I found out that they were sort of required to run windows. The extension dll didn’t seem that important to me at the time. .com and .exe I knew mattered. Oh well, lesson learned.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the original disk for windows so I wasn’t able to reinstall it. Memory seems to be failing me a bit on that though because part of me seems to remember having this disks but either some didn’t work or were missing. That detail really isn’t that important. That was around the time that windows 95 had come out so I bought a copy of that too install. That was a lot nicer than windows 3.1 was. It was a pain in the ass to sit there and wait around to swap disks to install it.

The long file names were nice to have because the 8 letters (I think) plus the 3 letter extension didn’t give you a great way to name stuff. To be fair that limitation came from a time when you probably labeled a diskette rather than affording a hard drive that could store thousands of files.

Ever since that day I can assure you that I learned not to just delete files without being sure that I really want to and having a way to restore them if I needed to.

Well I guess there was the one time for shits I ran rm -rf / on a live system to see how long it would remain functional. That was on an old hard drive that was taking a shit and I’d replaced it and just copied everything over to the new drive. Everything I had open on when I ran that command for the most part continued functioning. Once I rebooted FreeBSD nothing worked but I knew that would happen.