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● Description
My very first computer was the Packard Bell Executive Multimedia in 1993, so imagine my excitement when I snapped on up on Ebay for £25. It needed some refurbishment and then I was able to relive the first day of PC ownership I ever had. Join me in this video as I show you that experience, and let me know your own!

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AI 2 – Vibe Mountain
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Canyon.mid – Windows 3.11

Tag: packard bell, executive, retro pc, 486 pc, dos gaming, multimedia, old computer, retro man cave

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39 Comments

  1. RMC - The Cave

    Thank you for watching, I hope you enjoyed the episode. What was your first IBM Compatible, and what was the first thing you ran on it? I'd love to hear your stories. Another CD I remember playing in those early days was Star Wars Rebel Assault, the FMV was pretty impressive for the time if not the gameplay! Neil – RMC

    Reply
  2. Sascha Hermann

    My first PC was made by… Commodore. A 386 SX 25 with 2 MB RAM, an 40 MB Harddrive and both 3.5“ and 5.25“ Floppy drives together with a 14“ CRT monitor. The most exciting time of discovering new tech I ever had were the first days with that PC.

    Reply
  3. Alan Canon

    I had a Packard Bell that was very similar to this one. I recall the floppy was up on its side, for some reason. I think I boosted it to an AMD 486DX/4-120, (clock tripled 40MHz) and maxed out the RAM. It had 4 MB soldered and 4 x 4 MB SIMMS which cost me around $160, for a total of 20 MB. It was my first Linux PC: I installed Slackware on it, laboriously downloaded via PPP connection to the local dial-up provider. The admin for said local provider came to my house and helped me get Linux going, even loaned me a 540 MB drive to do it with. That's service. I owned that PC until it fell apart and like the poster, built my own after that. But I got a hell of a lot of use out of that Packard Bell. It was cheap, expandable, and did what I asked it to do.

    Reply
  4. Kyle

    Wow this is a great video! This exact computer was our family's very first. I remember loving Packard Bell Navigator (as a 7 year old kid lol) and playing all those included games and software. I remember this computer coming with a ton of discs too, like an interactive encyclopedia, the air/space/sea thing and especially Megarace! I just went and skimmed another Youtuber's Megarace play through and wow does that take me back haha. I still remember the pure excitement I had when we got to upgrade the onboard 4MB of RAM to 12MB and install Windows 95! It's certainly geeky, but my Mom actually took me to Staples on launch day to get a copy haha. Wow how things have changed… and come way down in price lol.

    Reply
  5. Mike Racanelli

    Finally found my childhood Packard Bell after looking for 10 years (The midwest only 725DX) — Now I'm looking for this monitor. Anyone happen to know the model number? I had this monitor, but with the old logo right in the middle under the screen. It did have the 5 knobs though and not two.

    Reply
  6. FrontSideBus

    First IBM compatible PC I had was a Compaq Presario from around the same time which was replacing an Atari ST. The thing ran at a whopping 33mhz and had TabWorks running over the base windows 3.1 shell. Loved that PC, was the first taste of CD-ROM that I got and it came bundled with awesome programs like Microsoft Movies and Encarta. Had some fun playing games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Dark Forces, Rebel Assault and X-Wing on it…

    Reply
  7. Tech Made Easy

    I had a slightly newer one, the Packard Bell Executive Multimedia. It was wider and flatter than this one, with grey detailing on the base unit. The monitor also had speakers attached to the side.
    The navigator software was replaced by the Workspace and Kidspace interfaces.

    Reply
  8. eddiehimself

    This video prompted me to upload an ISO of a Compaq restore CD I've still got from our 1998 PC to Internet Archive should anyone want a restore CD for their Compaq Deskpro EP 6266, 6300, 6333, 6350, or 6400 lol

    Reply
  9. Sean

    This is my first PC as well. I think my grandma paid about $1,200 from Montgomery Wards. Once watching all the little videos from Encarta got old, it was solely a Wolf3D and DooM machine until the net blew up. Great video!

    Reply
  10. HuggieBear39

    Good times I bought mines in 1991 Packard Bell 486SX 25 MHZ. No sound card, no cdrom, 2400 baud modem and a whopping 2 megs of ram and 101 MB HD. I add 4 more megs of ram a sound blaster and a 14.4k modem oh and a cdrom drive. When 95 came out I even upgraded it from 3.11

    Oops I forgot I added a co-processor to it too.

    Reply
  11. LENOVOVO

    I owned a Packard Bell Legend Supreme 1605, I bought it as a bundle, meaning I got the computer, keyboard, mouse, monitor and printer. It all came in one box. I bought it at Sears. I think it cost me around $2,500 US Dollars. I really loved that computer, and believe it or not, I still wish that I had it today. I loved the computers back then more than those of today. Computers back then, in my opinion, had more style and character, today's computers is just the opposite, in my opinion, they are just boring. By the way dude, you should have included a picture of you back in 1993, I would have love to see how you looked back then. Anyways, thanks for posting the video, I enjoyed it and it brought back a lot of good memories for me. 🙂

    Reply
  12. johnmcl7

    I was a bit later with my first PC moving from an Amiga 500+ to a PC from a local computer shop which was a Cyrix PR133+, 8MB ram, 8x CD-rom drive, 850MB hard drive and Win95. The first thing I tried was a demo CD from a magazine and we were immediately hooked on the second level of a Command and Conquer demo spending many hours on it before buying the full game. Which didn't run, I don't know how we found the fix to add a command parameter given it was pre-internet then couldn't get the sound working after that but eventually got there and spent many happy hours on it. This video reminds me of a friend's Packard Bell PC which was a Pentium but clocked a good bit lower however they always claimed it was superior to the Cyrix. Other memories include having to shortly after upgrade to 16MB since the 8MB ram didn't seem enough, having to move Quake's vast 100MB install on and off the hard drive and using DOS to boot the excellent Tie-Fighter which wouldn't work straight from Windows.

    Reply
  13. Ricardo Garcia

    This brought me way back to my first PC. I had the 95 models of the Packard Bell, in a multimedia tower. It came shipped with Windows 95 and all the Navigator software on your video. This was the machine that gave me 3 years of fun learning computers and running many of the published software that you have shown. This video was a real blast of nostalgia for me. In my 3rd year of ownership, I braved opening up the case to attempt a CPU overclock and ram, modem, and hard drive upgrades. I had a lot of fun overclocking the CPU to get that extra bit of speed. I learned about operating systems by tearing the config files and windows software libraries down to create my own custom restore disc. I did not get Mist but for me the three pieces of software that made it worth it was Windows 95, Doom, and my favorite.. Journey Man Project Turbo. I played that game over and over again for those 3 years. It was some of the best years of my childhood and learning. This is where my love of computers and technology and learning really grew. I loved watching this video.

    Reply
  14. Eric P

    My first PC was a Mac and while it was a blast at first learning the machine, the woeful game selection for it left me jealous of Windows owners. though we finally did upgrade to a Windows( I think it was a gateway, though I really don't remember) around the turn of the century

    Reply
  15. CRG

    Hey RMC I'm looking a favor if possible.

    I'm currently trying to repair one of these with severe battery corrision. It's so bad in fact that several traces are mostly gone. Would there be any chance you could pull the motherboard out of your machine and take a high resolution photo of the area around the on-board dram (under the floppy drive). I've tried referring to your video where you showed the battery removal but I cant see everything.

    I'd appreciate your help as I'm really coming up short trying to find info on this board and I'd love to bring it back to life.

    Reply
  16. PeTTs0n88

    Oh God the memories – pretty much every single piece of software in the video hits home like crazy. My first was a Compaq 486, and the bundle seems nearly identical – it wasn't great, but I have so many fond memories of sitting in front of it playing Transport Tycoon, Dune 2, UFO: Enemy Unknown (as it was called here), Settlers 2 or just messing around learning the ins and outs of MS-DOS and Windows 3.11.

    Beautiful video, thank you for preserving a piece of history close to my (and surely many more with me) heart!

    Reply
  17. Tom Walter

    Are you sure you want to hear stories of my early PC adventures? Here's what I remember from the new epoch of my PC days – moving from Atari to PC opened up everything, including doing actual work on the machine like artwork, writing, programming, design work and eventually… the internet.

    My computing route was ZX Spectum > Atari ST and this exact PC.. I can't remember how long we had it. I was 11 when we bought it, I upgraded it a bit to 42MB memory then I built my own Pentium2 450Mhz computer from scratch with a 7GB SCSI HD, an internal 1GB Cartridge Jaz Drive (piece of garbage), a CD Writer and a varying array up Voodoo Updates, from 1 to 2 to SLI and a 3000.

    Although I obviously understand PCs, they are just so infinitely explorable.. at least with an Atari it was possible to probably see and do everything you could possibly do with it.

    My best friend growing up had spare rooms that they rented out for extra money, so I'd go see my childhood friend and there were always new strange people in his house.. however, one guy they had was a programmer so we learned a lot of cool stuff at a young age. That revolving door of additional adults had a big impact on our young brains. We got into great music and a lot of stuff that other kids would just not be aware of or interested in at their age..
    Nothing bad, mainly a lot of computing and music. We started programming and making websites when we were around 13-14. We didn't know what to do or have the confidence to see it through as a company, but we worked in photoshop (and were amazing at the time, also considering our ages. You just learn SO quickly when you're young its absurd the level we were at considering) we considered leaving school early and getting into either CGI and graphics, we wrote a webpage that could have been considered a precursor to social media (except it was based on sharing your experience of nights out, adding photos to your own profile page and sharing who your friends were rather than your entire life)

    I only ever got to see an Amiga in action once in my entire life.

    He showed us the dancing demo, it was on one disc, had a full rave soundtrack and was like a music video, cutouts of people dancing. I'm sure its well known, I'll try and find a link.

    Also, seeing a few screenshots in magazines, it seemed to me that the Amiga had like, just 10% better sound and graphics than the ST. Though everything seemed to port across very well. It considered moving across for a while, but it was too close to call and not to mention, I may have been swayed by the fact that I had a source at age 10 for a pirated copy of every single game ever made on the Atari, so it wasn't like I was short of entertainment on the Atari.

    Reply
  18. Tom Walter

    This is almost identical to my experience!!! I was 11 when I got this exact PC.

    Packard Bell AUDIOSTATION just flashed past on your video!! Holy crap. That was maybe the first PC application I ever opened ! I put a CD in and pressed play.. and heard music! My upgrade path through computers was always a huge leap.. you don't see those these days. I went from ZX Spectrum to Atari ST to PC (with a Megadrive inbetween) and the leaps in graphics and sound were just mindblowing. Then, after Windows 95, there just seemed to be a slow increase in graphical quality in 3D games. After Doom to Unreal Tournament / Quake series, I sort of lost interest in gaming. Lucas Arts should still be making point and click adventures, because I still love them, great story, feelign part of the the long slow narrative instead of action and fighting games. Sam n Max, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantic.. Monkey Island.. what a time to grow up.

    Do you remember, actually, this Packard Bell when purchased didn't boot into Windows. You had to exit to it from a GUI over the top that PB had made for first time PC users.
    It was highly metaphorical and extremely annoying.. to search click the giant magnifying glass on the shelf. To look at files, click on the filing cabinet (which opened File Manager anyway, so why they thought this was better than just using bloody Windows 3.11 (yes, the Executive came with 3.11 not 3.1 – I believe the additional 1 at the end signified it was an office machine if memory serves)

    … and was absolute shit. I don't think it had Windows on it (or it did.. but it was underneath) Packard Bell had their own weird (totally shit) graphical interface over the top of windows that looked like a living room with cupboards and drawers.. I had to turn that shit off and learn to use real Windows.

    This was my experience too, Day of the Tentacle blew my mind as one of my first games because of the talking and cut scenes.. incredible.

    And yes, I got this when I was 11 years old.. kids these days know nothing about editing the sysexec or autoexec.bat file trying to squeeze enough kilobytes to run a game with available conventional memory

    I STILL don't understand conventional and extended memory, because no matter how many stick of RAM you put in (I eventually upgraded to 42MB) it still needed those few KB of memory..

    My parents decided a few educational titles were in order… so I also had The Way Things Work from the Dorling Kindersley range, which was excellent.. so much polish and class in those titles. Castaway (which was GRUESOME.. an educational historical galleon game with people having their legs sawed off due to scurvy)..

    Reply
  19. Well that went badly

    I missed the whole Windows thing. I went from a Sinclair Spectrum – very rare in Australia – to an Apple IIe then the first Macintosh 128k. Didn’t go anywhere else. Didn’t get a HD at first with the Mac which led to much disk swapping. Even with two floppy it was a mess. Once I got my “huge” 40meg HD I was a much happier person. Next was a Plus then and SE that miracle of miracles had an internal HD. After that followed various desktop iterations but I kept my original 128k fro as long as possible as I loved its simplicity. It went missing during a separation never to be seen again.

    Reply
  20. Daniel Edwards

    Birthday present in my early teens, a Packard Bell SX 33Mhz and HP DeskJet 550c printer playing Monkey Island, family friend said that the 170mb hard drive was ridiculously big and I'd never manage to fill it up

    Reply
  21. Kenji S

    Man my friend diwn the street had one of these plus TFX and Megarace so all this brought back memories. I personally was always a PC user due to my parents and my first was a custom built 486DX4/100.

    Many many countless hours with the Star Wars games between both of us as well as TFX and I can't even remember everything

    Reply
  22. Jip Jackson

    My first "beige box" PC was a big ol' Compaq and it was when I put in the game "Magic Carpet" I remember hollerin down to have my roommate "GET YOUR ASS UP HERE!!" lOl

    Little did I know at that time I'd realize I didn't even like the game, but there were others.

    Also it came with the Corel Draw suite. Oh how I wish I would have gotten as deep into that package as I inteded to as it's still going strong and I might have actually gone into some freelance work instead of just wishing it.

    It's funny cuz in a way I was coming from an Amiga. An A2000 with a Video Toaster that I sold for a song after Commodore went under thinking I'll never get use out of it now (19 years old and well ya know-dumb). I had to take out a straight bank loan to buy that Compaq and it was always very…quirky and buggy and few years later it ended up with a problem not even a repair shop could figure out.

    Great vid thanks.

    Reply

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