I just found the oldest file on my computer

Named “DFIX.EXE” and last modified December ‎10, ‎1986, ‏‎1:44AM, I can’t remember what it is or what it belonged to originally, but it was probably from one of those DOS apps and games that got passed around while I was in school. Uh, yeah, this was before “filesharing” was taboo, anti-virus was hardly common and Napster didn’t exist.  The “Created date” is listed as 2001, which means it had a rather interesting journey.

This was probably copied from a much older floppy to my old Packard Bell PC (the brand no longer sells in the U.S.) that I got in the mid 90’s with the then state of the art Windows 95 as I was just entering high school. I used this PC for most of my school work, games, MP3s and surfing until graduation. It was, cue massive nostalgia, the same PC that I used to setup a small webserver and start a little community hub called Ghostnetworks.

The PC went through a Win 98 upgrade, at which point the file was probably copied over along with my entire (“gasp”) 2GB worth of “stuff” from the PCBells’ 4GB drive into my Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop with its stunning 60GB capacity. This was so I can use the PC as a dedicated server running Apache for GN. The inspiron served me well (it still works!), but was starting to lag behind on my work and it was pretty heavy at almost 8Lbs.

I didn’t carry the laptop around all that much and this file, among countless others, was long forgotten in a “backup” folder in My Documents. I then got an eMachines box (can’t remember the exact specs) in the early 2000’s on sale at our local Staples and it received the entire hard drive contents of the Dell (about 20GB worth of files “created” on the new PC) and this file too sat there for many moons.

I went through all of 2004 until I cracked open the old eMachines again and Lo and behold! Old stuff!!

This, along with the rest of the super massive 60GB that had accumulated on the eMachines ended up on a second custom PC and it’s 500GB drive that I got from a reseller after the DotCom bust. And there it sat again until the drive was moved to yet another custom PC and then another, until finally, after the drive started making the proverbial death clicks, it was moved to its final (maybe) resting place on a new-ish 1TB WD drive after almost 14 years. My, how far it’s travelled.

All this just goes to show how far our digital legacy has come as I’m sure for some people there are older, “proper”, documents and files that have survived to this day.

Of course, this is far from the oldest file out there. On the Internet at least, I came across a pretty old W3C document (RTF) that discusses a proto-WWW by Tim Berners-Lee. The last modified date of this document is in August of 1990.

Anyone else come across a piece of digital nostalgia?

6 thoughts on “I just found the oldest file on my computer

  1. Alas! No digital nostalgia here since every prior computer of mine has died some sort of abrupt, fiery, horrible and unexpected death. There’s a sort of freedom in that I suppose. Then again it could just be part of being accident prone.

    • Dear me, that’s very unfortunate. Though I can totally relate about being accident prone.

      I’ve had one computer enter Valhalla via Viking funeral, and that was due to an overheated battery (um… probably caused after I droped the thing). After that debacle I swore never to trust my computers, or my sense of balance, to keep my data safe and decided to keep heaps of backups at every opportunity.

      It’s true that sometimes it is a bit of a release to start over, but I fear if I lose my clients’ data, I’ll need to enter witness protection.

  2. Ha! Wow, I do love finding bits like this. I recently went through and tried to consolidate all my old backups from Zip disks and old CDs (still have a pile of floppies to go through). I found all manner of interesting prehistoric internet stuff. I also deleted a huge amount of old application backups – I’d loved to have kept them, but when am I going to need [insert obscure Win9x era utility] again ? :-P

    That said I did recently create VM images of Win95 and Win98 just to remind myself how things used to look and feel…

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