In the beginning... there was the Apple. My first ever computer was an Apple II+, with a floppy disk and controller. I can't remember if I bought it with 48k or a full 64k bytes of memory. No monitor, used a small portable TV as a monitor. Bought it at an electronics store in Chicago. Brand new, it was about $2,000! Why not a PC? This was a few years before IBM introduce it.
Upgrades: At some point, I replaced it with an Apple IIe. Another major purchase as an external 5mb hard drive. Another great upgrade was a PC Transporter card. This card featured an NEC V20 processor which was faster than the Intel 8086 in an IBM XT system. Along with a PC floppy drive, this turned my Apple into a turbo IBM clone!
My first 'mod' was adding a switch to my floppy drive to override the write protect tab on the diskette. Not sure where I found the instructions for the mod, it might have been in an issue of InCider magazine. The LED was also replaced, so that in the 'normal' switch position the LED would blink green. In the other switch position, write protect became disabled, and the LED would flash red as a warning.
Time for a bigger and better Apple!
My next system I 'inherited' from my 'little' brother! An Apple GS with hard drive and monitor. I upgraded it with a Zip Chip which replaced the CPU. I still have the system and monitor boxed and hiding somewhere in my house, along with my IIe!
Now for a true PC compatible.
My first true PC was a scratch built 486-DX33 system. I was working at the time at IBM using their OS/2 operating system. I don't remember what system board I used, but it was Baby-AT form factor in a mini tower case. With an Adaptec 1542 SCSI controller I could use up to 6 hard drives/CD drives. At some point I upgraded the processor to an AMD 486DX4-100.
At first I ran IBM-PC DOS (as opposed to MS-DOS) along with OS/2. With OS/2 you could set up your hard drive to boot different operating systems. The boot loader would let you chose which primary partition to boot from. The first partition was formatted with FAT for booting DOS, and the second was formatted with HPFS and booted OS/2. When booting from a primary partition, other primary partitions were not visible. To share data, I created an extended partition, and formatted it as FAT so both operating systems could access the data. Either system would boot from their C: drive, and the extended FAT partition would be seen as D:. Another drive I formatted as HPFS for exclusive use by OS/2.
When I added a CD drive, it was frustrating to have DOS see the CD as E:, and OS/2 saw this as drive F:. But this could be changed in both operating systems, so I set the CD as drive letter R: (as in CD-Reader)! Later when I added a CD burner, I configured it as drive W: (as in CD-Writer). Now it didn't matter how many partitions or drives I added, the CD letters stayed the same.
Later I started using Windows NT. I set up the third primary partition as NTFS to boot NT-4. DOS again could not see the NTFS partition, and neither did OS/2. But there was a patch that you could do to allow NT to access OS/2's HPFS file system. So NT could see the FAT partition as D, and the HPFS partition as E:, just like OS/2.
When Windows 2000 came out, you were no longer restricted to booting from a primary partition on the first hard drive. Now you could boot Win2k from any drive, any partition! Well, BIOS was still booting a primary partition from the first hard drive, but now the Windows loader can select your operating system. Kinda convoluted, but system booted I could choose: DOS, OS/2 or NT-4. And if I selected NT, I could pick Windows 2000 or NT.
At some point I upgraded the system board to a Pentium compatible AMD system.
Before there was a Stimpy.
When I got my Tiger Direct system, I first installed Windows 2000 on it. Later I added Windows XP as a multi boot option. At the time, I had a job where my work computer was a Dell Latitude D600 laptop. Soon I was using the laptop at home as well as work. It was a lot more convenient to use instead of the desktop. When my job was nearing its end, I realized I couldn't give up the convenience of a laptop. So I got myself a Dell D800 with a larger wide screen. This became my 'Laptidude'! (Not as exciting of a name as Stimpy, but I called my earlier Pentium system: 'sPlentium'.)
Stimpy actually started because of my next job. I was teaching CompTIA A+/Net+ certification classes, and Stimpy evolved as a lab project of mine. Kind of a showcase of technology and upgrades. I frequently used Laptidude in class to highlight laptop features and options.
Although Laptidude started with XP, I later added Windows 7 and now Windows 10. I also replaced the screen with the highest available resolution. There were limitations with the with the D600/D800, so I started shopping for a D830 upgrade. I wanted to stay with the D series Latitude so I could continue using my dock, at the time I didn't want to upgrade to the newer E series. Whereas the D800/D820 had a max 2GB/4GB memory, the D800 has a Core 2 Duo and can use up to 8GB memory. Over time I purchased several incomplete systems to piece together my main laptop. One non-working system came with 8GB DDR2 memory at a bargain price! Running with a 2.6 GHz processor and 1920x1200 WUXGA display. XP Pro is the 32bit version, and Windows 7/Windows 10 are 64bit editions.
It may be time to start shopping for a wide screen Latitude E series replacement/upgrade!