Jinxed? or Just really unlucky?

img_20181128_005650.jpgWell Its been the best part of a year since writing my last blog. To be honest, its been a slow year for retro projects, however, I have done a few bits but mostly nothing to blog about. In fact, most of my projects have gone badly.

Early this year My beloved XP 32bit machine’s rare and now expensive ATI 9800pro died? So after deciding that a replacement was too expensive and the fact the last one up and died on me I replaced it with a 6600gt BFG edition boxed!!. But it was dead on arrival I later found out but only after forking out for a new Asus motherboard with an 8x AGP slot which I thought might boost performance.

9800pro Allinwonder 128mb DEAD

While playing with the XP and trying to get better and better Pentium 4 CPU’s to work I purchased not one, not 2 but 3 3.0ghz Pentium 4 CPUs with the 800mhz FSB and Hyperthreading. All of which had tons of problems: Failed installs, Terrible performance in windows, Blue screens and so on.

8 months on and I revisited my XP32 bit machine. Bought a Used but good P4V800D-X motherboard which supports all P4 CPU’s. I bought a used Pentium 4 3.2ghz and paid too much for it just because it was pictured working. I got 2 identical HDD’s and Installed them in RAID and then proceeded to spend the last 8hrs trying to install XP over and over and over again. Different raid drivers different XP CD’s only to get into the XP desktop to have the same Abysmal performance as the last 3 Pentium 4  systems I built.

6600gt BFG DEAD

I Pressed on failed boot after failed boot I eventually got a clean boot and managed to install the drivers for the motherboard and the Drivers for my second 6600gt. Finally, I thought “I may have cracked it”. But no the 6600gt won’t display any visuals after the driver has been installed.

I think this project was just born to fail flat on its face and drown in a pool of its own vomit. Learn from me these points..

  • Don’t make a Raid in windows
  • Stick to the 533fsb Pentium 4’s (they run cooler anyway)
  • Do not buy high-end AGP cards (they will only die and make you cry)

I’m, sure there are other points to make but I’m too angry right now.

Please stand by for in the future there will be more content on its way I just need to stop breaking stuff and start fixing things.

Enter a caption

Top 12 Stratergy Games

My list of the top 12 Strategy games (in my opinion)

 I Love Lists! I don’t know why but I do, maybe its something about the order of things when written down in a neat list but whatever the reason I love them. Another thing I love is strategy games and I love all types; grand strategy, turn-based, squad based and real time. So I thought for a little blog update I should combine my two loves and create a list of my favorite strategy games. I am not sticking with one specific group of games instead I thought I would cast a wider net and say if its strategic in any way it could be in. Please remember that this is my personal list and I’m not saying these games are the best ever just the best for me and there retro so no modern games sorry.

 12 Age Of Empires 3

Got this game for Christmas the year it was released and played it to death. For me, it was the first RTS I had played with an in-depth story that played out as you played and at times felt almost like an RPG.


11 Dark Omen

 I originally played this on PS1 and really wish I still had the game as it has become rare to find in good condition. However, it is better on PC and runs great in 3dfx mode. A had game to master but once you have the control scheme down it gets very fun and even harder.


10 Frontline command

 Just clinching the top ten spot is an RTS from the legendary bitmap brothers and sadly their last game. A great little RTS based in WWII and in my opinion ahead of its time. with each trooper being a key player in the battles you play this game rewards player who looks after their troops.

09 UFO Aftermath

 The UFO games are spiritual successors to the Fables X-com games of the 90’s. Aftermath is set in the days after the alien invasion where the extraterrestrials seem to have gained the upper hand. You are forced to build up a task force from the ground up and defeat the Xeno scum. This titles feels far closer to the modern releases of  Xcom than to its source material and plays great in time-based (like turn-based) or real time.


 08 War wind 2

The second installment of war wind is not a fantasy RTS but a sci-fi. This game borders the line between RTS and RPG with your troops getting XP and upgrades and being able to bring them along threw out the game and even having the option to talk to non-hostile NPC on the map in a story mission.


07 MAX

 An oldie and a Goldie. I only discovered max a few weeks ago but I am hooked, and it’s partly why I made this list. Its closes cousin is probably total annihilation but its turn-based and revolves far more around building your bases and resource management. Usually, I’m not a fan of the base building part of strategy games but seeing as its turn-based meant that I could relax and take it slow.


06 Laser Squad

 If I’m playing games on my 386 and want a turn-based, squad tactical game I will load up Laser squad. Somewhere between Xcom and rainbow 6, it’s a great little game for an old dos game.


05 Myth

Top 5 now and grabbing 5th is a game from Bungee before they sold out gave up and churned out the same game for the last 10 years about some chief or something. but enough bungee bashing. This game is the perfect medieval fantasy RTS with spellcasting special abilities and a brilliant storyline and voice acting. The game has tons character with loads of hidden easter eggs and lots of mods available. while the second game is better supported for modern computers and mods. I own the big box of this game and its a must install for any retro computer I build especially to see if its tricky 3dfx mode which looks amazing.


04 Combat Mission Beyond Overlord

 This is a great game that spawned a series of games that is still alive today and known mainly to the very hardcore strategy community. The way its played is in phases and there are two of these phases in each round. A planning phase allows you to plan your unit movement with lines and way-points. The next phase is the results phase, in which you watch your and your opponent’s troops attempt to execute the orders given in the planning phase. you cannot issue orders in the results phase which lasts for 60 seconds, I love this way of playing games as it results in terror when you spot a tiger tank 5 seconds into a phase and have to watch for 55 seconds while your troops alone attempt to deal with the threat without your input. I highly recommend the game and all its follow-ups are also great.

 maxresdefault (1)


03 Sudden Strike gold (2)

 Entering into the top 3 spot is sudden strike 2 or gold whichever. It’s a fantastic RTS set in WWII with tons of units and tactical choice. what sets it apart is that it seems like a typical RTS is that the soft squishy units and thinly armored tanks you’re given seem to throw away. In fact, they are the only unit you are going to get, so take care of them. Instead of an infantry platoon attacking a town it might be worth sending a scout and a sniper to deal with mg positions or call in arty/airstrikes to soften the enemy up. There is a lot of depth here too including medics, transport trucks bridging teams, steal-able cannons and vehicles and much much more.


02 Act Of War

 Stealing second is Act of War an absolutely overlooked game. I played this at a time in my life where I wasn’t overly into computer gaming, in fact, I was more into party’s and console gaming with friends and a few beers to boot. However, I still had my old computer and this was one of the few games I played on it for a very long time. On the surface, it’s another modern-day RTS in the vein of World in conflict and other titles available at the time. However, I personally believe that it’s better than all the rest. Its depth is immense and while it doesn’t reach the like of soldiers of WWII or its later iteration men of war, it gets fairly close without losing the grand scope of a battle. The game has you evacuating casualty’s, capturing enemy’s which can be exchanged for Intel and retrieving disabled armor from the battlefield. In one of my favorite missions, you arrive in San Francisco during the Russian invasion and have to help local police and national guard units and prevent them being overrun. I like to play this mission like black hawk down by attempting to evacuating them with helicopters or rescuing them with a convoy of Humvees. The game has a storyline straight from a Tom Clancy novel and some very cheesy live action cut scenes reminiscent of red alert but more a little more serious. Overall a great game and well worth checking out. However, I can’t vouch for its sequels as I haven’t played them.


01 Close Combat A bridge too far

 maxresdefault (2)

To me, if you say the words strategy computer game I think Close combat. If you say WWII computer game I think close combat, and if you say close combat I think bridge too far. It was the first strategy video game I played, at my uncle’s house when I was young and at the time I had no idea what to do or how to win but the maps and the tiny units moving around them was magical for me. Later in life, I played invasion Normandy and, while I understood the game better and loved to play against a friend I still wasn’t good at the game. Now going back to them I love to play all of them and I am fairly good at all of them but I mainly like to go back too a Bridge too Far.


The frustration, the hope, the joy and the pain of loss, all of these emotions can be felt in a single action on this game. For example, Order that ad hoc rifle team to attack that Panzer V that is parked just outside there concealed position with its back to them. At first they all mill around swapping guns and priming “gammon bombs” then one brave soul takes a bomb and slowly makes his way across the street. “Oh no,” terror strikes you as the turret slowly traverses toward your lone man, wait he’s even got a name! You can see his status bar goes from attacking to panicking to seeking cover as the turret-mounted machine gun opens up barking its deadly salvo, but slowly he crawls out and throws his bomb BOOM! He’s done it amazing but just as he stands to join his fire team an MG42 down the road Farts into life and cut’s the hapless man down in the road, only 2 feet from the door. A medal will be awarded to him on the results page and you sure as hell will remember his name!


The game Has you controlling several elements of the allied army during its attempts to hold the bridges in the market garden offensive and simultaneously pushing XXX corps down the road to bring your boy’s armor and munitions and eventually the victory. You can however play as the Germans also which is a nice change of pace and especially good in LAN multiplayer.


Thanks for Reading Fdiskformat’s blog

Let’s Build A Legend, 486

If you are into your retro computers and into your DOS games, you should know a little about the 486 processor.  In short, it was the update for the 80386 in 1989 and one of the last CPU classes to officially use the numbers “80***” for naming. There was a “586 processor but commercially it was known as the Pentium line of CPU’s at least the ones from Intel.  Cpu’s from other manufacturers like Cyrix were known instead as 5×86 and later 6×86. The reason the 486 is the most wanted Retro pc build is that it is simply the last DOS processor. You can install DOS on any computer but it really makes sense on a 486, you could install windows 3.1 on a 486 but you will find yourself in DOS more than w3.1. Windows 95 is also achievable on the 486 but it does slow down quite a bit. The speed of a 486DX2 at 66MHZ covers most games from 1989 to 1994 with earlier games requiring you simply to enable the turbo button (turbo buttons actually half the CPU speed by disabling the multiplier) common on most 486 motherboards. Quite Simply it’s the DOS gaming sweet spot.

The Story So Far

I’ve been trying to build a 486 system for year and years, there are several hurdles to building a 486 based system. For one they are expensive due to demand and the fact that a lot of them do not work anymore, due to the quality of the motherboard Producers and what kind of CMOS battery was fitted. Second is the motherboard type. there are several layout/expansion types of motherboards with several different configurations. Expansions like ISA, VISA, and PCI could be fitted, each with its flaws and strong points. Cache is also a problem. Since only 8kb L1 cache was built into the 486 CPU L2 cache was available on board either soldered or socketed chips and COASt Modules (cache on a stick). Some boards do not have the cache chips onboard which means finding and buying them, other boards have fake cache soldered on which means you can’t get L2 cache. As for COASt you really need the right coast stick which matches the FSB of the processor you are using and it’s hard to find info about sticks these days.

Not my actual one, Picture borrowed from https://ancientelectronics.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/packard-bell-legend-115/

This was the first attempt at a 486 build but the battery had leaked and destroyed the motherboard. Next, I bought a motherboard that was untested which just wouldn’t post and third I bought a tested working motherboard. However, that was a dead motherboard also despite not having a battery leak, A few months ago I saw a complete tested motherboard and CPU from Russia. After being passed around every customs in Europe it arrived so let’s build.


The Kit

  • Lucky Star LS-486E Rev C1 Socket3
  • AMD Am5x86-P75 AMD-X5-133ADZ
  • 256kb Cache
  • ATI Mach64 4mb PCI video card
  • Ess audio drive ES1869 ISA soundcard
  • 16mb EDO ram
  • LG 52x CD drive
  • Maxtor Floppy drive
  • Compact flash card 4gb
  • CF to IDE adapter
  • 520MB Seagate IDE drive
  • Brand new AT/ATX case


The build went great I was a little confused by the fact there were no crew holes for the type of motherboard I used. However, the pc case came with these little rubber blocks that did the job great.


The only thing that gave me any trouble was the fan on the CPU. Originally I thought that the fan was dead as it required me to physically move it to start it rotating. So I bought a replacement and that was the same story. After some time with a multimeter, I discovered that the Molex to 3 pin fan adapter was wired wrong and after re-wiring it Boom I had all the hardware working a treat.

Power ON


It worked, Dos 6.22 Installed I set about configuring drivers, command and autoexec files. I tried Phil’s DOS starter pack which configured the memory and mouse for me, the CD driver, however did not work. The oakcdrom driver did though and I was all set. It was strange to get this far without one problem but I’m not complaining.


Next, I fired up some games.

Playing these games on a 486 was amazing and I loved every minute of it until. I suddenly realized that something was different, No music. I had great sound as in sound fx but no general midi from the MPU401 chip. But for now, its good enough and I shall be customizing this case, Upgrading/fixing the sound card and finding a better monitor hopefully.

Not so retro?

There are 3 things wrong with this build although I wouldn’t say wrong so much as different. The sharpest of eyes here will have noticed that the CPU isn’t strictly a 486. It’s a 5×86 from AMD and runs at 133mhz, although classed in the same family as the 486 CPU’s it was in fact made to rival the Pentium chips made by Intel. the 5×86 is more than fast enough to handle Windows 95/98 especially since its Overclocked on voltage to make it 160mhz (a common upgrade of the time). however at this time, it doesn’t bother me too much and when I start the pc it still declares 486 processor found, good enough for me. Second is the CF card hard drive which is useful as hell for transferring files so that stays. at least I have a mechanical HDD in the machine for the correct sound. and third is the 52 speed CD drive and that because no one wants to wait for a 1-4x cd drive from the era.

Blog By Fdiskformat


Back To 1999 For One Week

Ever wondered what its like to use only technology from from 1999 for an entire week ? Of course you haven’t. But in case you did, I did it for you, so come on in and read about a trip to pre Y2K.

I set myself a challenge of using only technology that was available in the year 1999 for a whole week. No high-speed internet, no wifi, smart phones and no face book.

The phone with the best battery life ever! which then died every minuet.

I equipped myself with a Nokia 5110 as a 1999 replacement for my I phone. An AMD K6 550MHZ 128mb ram PC for gaming and every day computing tasks and said good-bye to the modern world.


Day One. Good Bye Cruel World

day one was good Fun, the phone was charged and my office was re-arranged. The first problem was the battery on the Nokia which would tell me it was fully charged then tell me that It: wasn’t charging then that it had no battery and was in fact turning off. Still what can you expect from a 18-year-old battery. I missed music the most, I had radio at work but it’s really not my kind of music. At home I had the PC which I had burnt a load of CD’s too but in-between the radio and the PC I had nothing. The PC was a pain to set up, my usual hunting ground for old versions of programs is oldapps. However it was refusing to play ball so I spent most the first night trying to get Firefox to install on windows 98.

Firefox 2.0 working great for some stuff


Day Two. The Sound Of Silence 

Working with no music started to get to me so I searched the web as best I could try to find a tape cassette player or better yet a Mini disc player. Ebay and sites like Gum tree wouldn’t load properly and amazon was a no go. However Argos loaded fine and what do you know they have a brand-new Cassette Walkman from BUSH for sale. That night I pickup my Walkman and a pack of tapes, I also set up a Mini recording studio next the computer and set about making mix tapes for the first time since I was about 11 great fun.



Day Three. Tape player works…

Not good and not bad but it works. The Nokia though has become more like a land line

Trust me you do not look cool and retro with one of these on your belt!

and refuses to hold battery at all. During my lunch break instead of watching you tube and checking in on my favourite you tubers Like Victor Bart or LGR I decided to blast some dust off the VHS player. When I was young I recorded the Simpson’s every night and just before my challenge I found one of these tapes. The quality is much better than I thought it would be and I loved watching the adverts where I forgot to press stop when recording. On the PC I am losing the battle to get email working. On outlook, Mozila Thunderbird and even in browser; all of them refuse to make contact with the mail servers. Random Blue screens and freezes are a pain also but what can you expect when you put 1999 hardware through to stress of modern-day web pages.


Day Four. Cabin Fever 

Blue screens and lock up are dogging my life and I really want to talk to my friends on some other medium other than text on an ancient phone. It’s not hard for me to stay off social media for a week or even two and I dare say I would be totally un-phased by loosing my phone. Most week nights I chat with an old friend on Skype and not being able to have that chat is getting me annoyed. So I have a choice I could install Kernel-Ex an unofficial update for Windows 98 that means you can install programs more meant for windows XP and therefore are only just obsolete. Is that cheating? Well bugger it I’m going to install it. After all I only said hardware not software. And while I’m at it I’m going to play Tony Hawks on the PS1 despite it being released in 2000, it’s still on 1994 hardware :D.


Day Five. DVD’s and Online Gaming

Over the hump. Over half way there and Its going well. Kernelex is installed which has

Not quite but so close i can hear people rocket jumping

allowed me to install Firefox 8.0 however it’s character set is all messed up? I did eventually sort that out. However on the email front I’m still loosing. It’s possibly because I don’t have anti-virus or it just doesn’t recognise my outdated encryption. I don’t know why but it wont work. As a bonus though I can now install VLC player Which enables me to watch DVD’s.  I decided to try out some Unreal tournament online, I installed the game and the latest patch and found some servers. Oh my god there are still

The matrix 1999 on DVD in VLC player

servers for a game made 18 year ago and there populated to boot. I join one, for a while it downloads a bunch of mod’s and the such then freezes. It never get that far again. I will endeavor to get this working when I have the aid of a reliable way to download and install patches for the game as the sites I was visiting were dodgy.


Day Six. A Walk in the Woods

DSCF0357Took the dog for a walk in the woods with my wife. Walking in the woods I didn’t take my phone as its useless without an outlet to plug it in and I didn’t take the Walkman as its rude to ignore my wife. Played some racing games in the afternoon; Johnny Herbert’s Grand Prix and 24hrs Le Mans. Using my CH virtual pilot yoke which works great as a steering wheel. That’s about it for technology news day 6 Bit boring but them’s the breaks.



Day 7. A day Of Games 1999 Style

Woke up with a free day to do what I wanted so I broke out a whole bunch of old PC games I wanted to play but first PS1.

Point Blank with the Namco light gun

I love light gun games and so I played my favorite Point blank for a couple of stages. Great memories of this game with a friend. Light gun games are something you can only do with old technology. As the gun needs the refresh rate of a CRT to work. I loaded a few games that I hadn’t give much attention to in the past. First up Comanche 2.0 Great little helicopter combat sim more suited to a 486 PC and ran a little fast but still playable.

Comanche 2.0 great with the Logic3 PC Invader joystick



Next up was Bedlam. I Urge you to go out and play bedlam. What a great game, I use to play this a bit back in the day but was never any good at it. I mastered it today and it is very hard. Bedlam is an over the top Mech shooter with an open world style level with lots of objectives. I highly recommend it. Lastly I spent far too long-playing Total Annihilation. A good friend of mine always use to rave about this game and I’m sad to say I never gave it the time it deserved but I mean too now and maybe its possible we could play over the internet.


Summary. How was Life in 1999 for one week?

In short It was really good fun, no honestly I know it sounds crazy but for a retro computer collector it was ace. I remember owning a computer in 1999 and it was far worse than this one i built. It had a 200mhz Cyrix mx chip and 32mb of ram which ran like a one-legged donkey. But it was great fun to have an excuse to try to live for a week like it was 1999. And that’s something you don’t often get to do. The internet despite not being coded in the same way as it was in 1999 works for some sites including Youtube now that they have dropped Flash player. The PC worked as well as I expected it too, with a little more blue screening than i would like. However I was asking the system to do things that i was never made for. Mobile phones in 1999 were great: battery life for days and it phones people and texts them what more would you like? Well except maybe a new battery that would last for days and not minuets. Overall It wasn’t horrendous and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, I will in the future be attempting this challenge but in different eras of time but for now I’m going to bask in the warm glow of 2018 for a few weeks.

Ill leave you with a little slide show of My week


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thanks for reading Fdiskformat.


Gotek Controversial ?

Lets get something straight before we begin, I love floppy disks! Great little media storage solution and like many other retro computer collectors I have hundreds. I am not even kidding, I’ve got Acorn floppies, Atari ST floppies, Amiga floppies and Dos floppies. However not matter how nostalgic i feel about them we have to acknowledge their flaws, thy are all getting old and weather its the disks themselves or the drives that read them but errors are becoming more frequent.


Here we have My Olivetti M240 640k computer,

this shipped with a 360k floppy drive which I changed as i don’t have many dos formatted single density kicking around and no other computers to write them on. So the 1.44mb drive went in and it is entirely period correct for the computer. However read write errors continued to plague my experience and no it’s not the drive, I tried different drives and spent hour formatting and writing disks for a good 1/4 of them to fail once in use. So whats a retro geek to do?



Gotek makes a floppy drive emulator and I think most of china makes knockoff ones now, not that I’m complaining this one only cost me £13 bargain! It directly emulates any floppy drive you can think of and with different firmware even does odd drive like the Amiga. The computer just sees it as a 1.44mb floppy drive.


Images of floppies you’ve made or found??

can be written to virtual floppies contained on a USB pen, up to 999 images can be made if your USB device can hold that much. It is easy and if you’re struggling and reading this then just watch Phil’s Computer Labs video of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taFP1J_lZBI&t=304s


Once the disks are on there, plug-in the USB device and away you go however is it right to do so? Lets skip over the Ethics of downloading dos games from the net and all that gubbins as that’s not a topic i want to get into and besides if it’s truly abandon ware then its fair game. I want to look at it from this angle.


Dose This look normal to you?

It bugs me a little that this changes the look of your vintage PC which is part of the whole joy of retro collecting for some. The aesthetics of the machine, especially a good-looking Olivetti M240 are part of the joy and HELL its a big grey box on your desk its hard to ignore so its got to look good. Period correctness also goes out the window, not a huge deal for most of us but for some its everything. I certainly wouldn’t sell a system with a Gotek in place and I wouldn’t want to buy one with a Gotek either as I would feel like something about the computer was missing.  DSCF0292

I am not against modding computers or consoles.

Far from it, I love modding and pushing hardware as far as it will go and truthfully i fit a Gotek where i can. Sure I feel a little dirty afterwards and yes it feels like a little of the fun is gone when you not having to switch disks every 30 seconds but when you realize you have been playing dos games and loading programs with out a single “read failed, retry, abort ,fail” message its well worth it.

Acorn Archimedes I GOT ONE!! or most of one

Managed to pick up one of the computers on my hit list, a Acorn Archimedes 3010.

I explained my reasons for wanting one before but I also listed the problems with getting one, namely the battery going bad and crooked Ebay sellers. However I saw one just after Christmas and the description was good “Fully working condition” sounded good to start with and “cmos battery flat but boots holding the delete key” means that yes the battery is bad but it works still then its save-able.


So Here it is, grubby as hell because no one ever thinks of cleaning these things up. Out the box the first thing I did was clean and strip it.


And there it was, the leaky battery but lets not forget this one is fully working and even boots up so onward I went.


Off came the old battery and on went white vinegar to neutralise the Alkaline solution which was eating away at the PCB. Lots of scrubbing, then Isotropic alcohol cleanse and finally deionized water to wash it all down.


I admit it didn’t look pretty but it was done and protected from future damage.

So onto testing

First great problem is video, the output on the Archimedes was RF or VGA so naturally I went for VGA, I don’t know what the problem was here but long story short was that I fixed it ??? for an age it worked fine through RF but almost un-readable, but all of a sudden it did work so…… good.

Second problem was the mouse, quite simply if you don’t have one then you can’t use your Archimedes. After some ridicules prices on Ebay, I’m talking (£50 for a non working original Archimedes mouse) I got an adapter from the 9pin mini din to PS2 for £35 !!!!.

Third problem was the Floppy Drive



I got the multi meter out and began to look for broken traces around the FDD port and found 2 and fixed them but this didn’t solve my problem ???? Time to get the schematics out.


Here with the help of a friend on the Facebook group Retro Machines we found a fault with the Low/High 5V line for the FDD which was highlighted by the blue looking wire seemingly added to the motherboard with a resistor added in for that homemade look. However with this now fixed it still wouldn’t read disks??? It’s then I turned to the drive itself and here we meet our good friend Honest Ebay seller or possibly who ever he got it from. The Floppy drive itself was just a PC drive shoved in place of the original drive, after much research i found a PC drive that would fit and modified it to be DF0 (first drive). And…..




Now I know this is controversial  but Actual software bought obviously second-hand is stupidly expensive. £15-20 for a single game on one floppy no guarantee of working, is not something i want to sink money into. The Archimedes reads and formats dos floppy but you can’t unpack games in the pc because it corrupts the file ? (im not an expert) so I’ve tried Omniflop and Omnidisk to write ADFS to floppy disks formatted to ADF 800k Arch format, and for many hours had no success at all.

So Too Sum Up

I have a fully working Archimedes a computer from my childhood, however I can’t do anything with it. I’ve not given up, I have read that you can load a un-zipping program into ROM and then un-pack the zip files on a regular PC floppy into ROM and then write it to floppy on the Machine itself, I’ll update you if this works.

Thanks for dropping in on the Fdisk Format Blog


That’s the words i haven’t been hearing!

Well I have been off the radar for a while from the internet scene and as you can see via the feature image, its because I have been messing around with consoles, EWWWW. Don’t stop reading please I have an excuse…… um its made by Microsoft.

Home brew menu screen

Yes its the old xbox original, A console i never experienced. I notices that the prices were still relatively cheap so strike while the hammer is hot. I meant to buy one and ended up with 3, as you do and the first thing i new i wanted to do was soft mod them. I have pimped one so far and the list of mods go like this:

  • Soft Modded With x unleashed
  • Larger HDD 120gb
  • Composite cables and using region switcher i can now get 720p 😛
  • Homebrew emulators sega, snes etc.

Still to come:

  • Load all my favourite games onto HDD (this takes some time)
  • Get my keyboard and mouse adaptor (en route from Germany)
  • Upgrade cooling (new fans)
  • Possibly make on into a tower 😛
Sorry for the strange cropping my local IP is on the bottom probably not important as its the same as everyone else’s.


So I have not been lazy!

Honest. I shall post a making of the tower if i get around to it one day. I feel I am not breaking my no consoles promise entirely as its pretty much a Pentium 3 PC with a Nvidia GPU and when I am finished with it, you will not be able to tell the difference between it and a computer.

Anything else coming up?

Well there is a Data recovery mission Im on, attempting to get lost data off a mystery laptop.

Compaq Prseario 1245 


Then I will restore the old girl to working order for fun. Also stay tuned for a more in depth review of the Amiga emulator UAEX for the xbox original witch will go out on Amitopia very soon.

Cheers FDISK.

Acorn Archimedes (I wants’s don’t get!)

The mental struggle of a computer collector trying to weigh the pros and cons of getting a system seemingly for sake of it !

Ah the Acorn Archimedes the British entry to the 16/32bit market now i wont bore you with a history less

on as there are far better ones on Youtube. Now when your a collector you tend to go for computers that relate to you personally for nostalgia reasons. However i have only the vaguest memory of the Archimedes, it was probably the first PC I used and definitely the first one i remember. In school in the early to mid 90’s I am 98% sure we had a Archimedes just 1 as far as I can recall and im fairly sure it was a 3000 keyboard type.


The red function keys the green acorn on the case the side loading floppy drive all these things strike a chord with my childhood. Im not going to tell you i learnt how to code on it or we spent all our lunches playing games in-fact all i can remember doing was using the paint application and typing a word document.


So why do i feel i need this computer in my collection even though it has such little impact in my computing life? well im a collector the zx spectrum had no impact in my life but i have the 48k and 128k versions of it! Oh in that case just get one, and there in lies the problem or multiple problems:

Number 1: There rare, as of right now there are 5 on Ebay

Number 2: Price tag the going rate on one of these is about £250

Number 3: Function most of the ones on Ebay are listed as untested as people don’t want                       to know, if its dead they have to list as dead.

How many times do you read Working but unable to test fully (incorrect leads, no monitor) and so on. Further more all of the Archimedes has a battery run clock that unless removed at some point has now leaked and destroyed traces on the mother board. Beware of this line ” powered on, green light but nothing on screen” or “only loads into desktop by holding middle mouse button on startup” these sentences mean my battery has leaked or at the very least is dead and about to leak.


YES! but.. I don’t want to par £200 on something that doesn’t work, further more there is a ton of other things you need to look out for cost of software and the availability of backup from the net. You even need to get a mouse with one as separately they cost £40 and up. But the biggest pain is that only 2-3 years ago you could pick them up for nothing and i didn’t so its on my TO GET list but I am not going to run out and buy one until I find the right one for the right price and as a collector that’s important. I can’t blow money on every system i want and if i did would it make my collection better ?? Ok now im getting deep gnight retro computer collectors and if anyone has a Archimedes they want looked after I am your man 😛

A Trip To A Closed Museum

Come with me now as we journey through the Fen

On a grey Saturday three friends went to the Museum of technology gizmos and gadgets located deep in the Fens of Lincolnshire/Cambridgeshire. The fens if you don’t know are a large expanse of flat land that use to be underwater but was starting to be drained in the 1630-1650’s and finally drained in the 1800’s. The village of Throckenholt where the museum resides isn’t too far from where i am so I decided to cover the museum for my blog.

the fen



To cut to the point there will be very little in the way of a review of this museum as it was closed but fear not out story does not end there…



Feeling dejected and let down by the google open times information we set off…

IMG_2323in the direction of home but fate would have a different plan for us this day. About 6 miles from Throckenholt we stumbled across Harrison’s auction house in a small village, our interest heightened we ventures in and what would great us.

That’s right Atari ST 520e

This beauty was hidden in a corner and was about to be auctioned off, my friend registered a number to bid as he wanted a banjo (which he did not get ) and 2 lot’s later the ST £4 the bidding went up by £2 and ended with me winning at £12+15%(auction fees) I never felt so alive it was a steel if it worked .

Took her home found the right leads flicked the on button and boom she works

Its grubby, grey,missing a key and it not an Amiga but a working 520e (should say FM as it has a FM modulator?)  for less than £20 is fantastic i even got my non retro friends involved here they are playing Captain Dynamo.

Look how exited they are !!

So there it is the day was not a total loss ill find a replacement key and tidy the machine up and play some games. Thanks for reading about the journey of a retro computer collector drop me a message or a question if you like and join me next time.

Super Huey an Fdiskformat review

I enjoy retro computing

“well no surprise there” you say. All that building sourcing parts, repairing bits, finding bobs, sticking them together and then searching the net for hour to find out why its not working. To then get it working and then back to the web to find drivers and so on. However building retro computers only serves to fuel my other hobby retro gaming


Long story short i wrote a review for Super Huey for the Amiga, its for a great site called Amitopia if you would like to go give it a read that would be great.