Your favorite obsolete computer program/utility.

The “What was your first computer?” thread got me to thinking about the old programs that I used to love to use. My favorite was a utility called Xtree. As you can tell from the screenshot, it looked very much like Windows Explorer but it predated Windows by several years. I thought that Og himself had written it.

I always enjoyed using DOS Shell.

mata hari searchbot i could tell it what to search, and wander off for the night, get back in the morning and I would have a listing of thousands of websites to rummage through. This was more or less when you had to search through several [or more] search functions. You could tell it to search specific search sites specifically, and to avoid others. This is before Google took over as the only search function one needs.

Mine is definitely XyWrite, a DOS word processor program. It was extremely compact, blazingly fast and had some neat features that, 15 years on, still look advanced.

In terms of speed, it’s quite notable that a program that ran on hardware perhaps 5% as capable as that of today could demonstrate subjective speed at least 4 times that of MS Word. In terms of time to load and be ready, it was probably 30 times as fast as MS Word.

Appleworks was a nice little integrated program. For that matter, integrated program in general (as opposed to software suites).

I was also very fond of XTree. My favorite little bit was that ctrl-u was untag. To undelete a file you used ctrl-o. The o was for OOPS!

Sidekick 2.0, how I miss you.

The one I appreciated the most was QEMM a memory loading optimizer for DOS and WIN 3.11 operating system. Running this figured out the best loading parameters for resident memory programs and often would allow you to run a program that couldn’t get enough memory to run. You didn’t have to worry about the different ways to use memory like extended or high memory management and commands like Devicehigh or not.

I also like DR. DOS.

I used some hacked/extended/illegal version of DevPac (I think it was - some googling doesn’t clarify) for the Amiga to do pretty much all my programming (in assembly) for a couple of years (except for a few tools I wrote in AmigaBasic).

The editor was amazingly cool. Quick as lightning, and you could switch between editing and compiling/testing with a single press of the ESC key.

As for current programs, you’d think by that introduction I’d be an avid fan of VIM, but no. Vi/VIM are pretty good, but the single program I can see going with me for the next 10 years would be Emacs.

IEBPTPCH . It was a generic copy utility on OS/360 designed mostly for duplicating parts of decks of cards or doing simple dump to print operations. Back in the 70s I moved a lot of cards with that thing. Wiki has a real stroll down memory lane here

For all I know, z/OS still has that utility for backwards compatiblity.

Bank Street Writer was my favorite word processor for years. I hated WP and DOSWord so much that I brought my 11 year old Apple IIe with me to college so I could use Bank Street Writer instead.

But my favorite? I owe my career to teaching myself programming using Hypercard.

I always enjoyed playing Nibbles in DOS…:slight_smile:

Asyst, the Forth-based language aimed at data acquisition, analysis, and graphing. Its last update might have been about 20 years ago. Until a year ago I still had a system at work using it, and the program I wrote had not crashed in about 5 years of uptime. The product that replaced it most recently crashed earlier this week.

The worksheet AsEasyAS which was the equal of 1-2-3 and Excel and had graphic functionality equivalent to current versions on a CGA screen.

The DOS utility Pathminder.

That’s all a very long time ago …

Kedit, the Windows version of the old mainframe Xedit. I’ve never found anything remotely as good for columnar and block operations.

Had this since my 486 and made my first page with it.


It still works in XP…dunno bout Vista or Win 7

No updates :rolleyes:

Back from my old modem days, I used to use a program called MS-Kermit for dialing out. It was that program that taught me all about how to use modem commands.

Another great program that I used quite a bit was PKZip and PKUnzip, a set of MS-Dos command line zip file utilities.

PCTools was a great set of disk utilities from way back in the day. It had a disk defragmenter, and a file system analyzer, repair and information tool.

Me, too. But I mostly used it to multitask DOS programs without taking the time to run Windows. I also remember other programs that would open a DOS shell while leaving the other program running. I did that a lot.

Another I remember is Trumpet Winsock. I had to use it because my ISP was actually a (freely provided from school) Unix shell. But they had some program you could run to simulate a SLIP account. It was the first time I had to learn how to script.

Still, I’d say my favorite program was Qbasic. I even had it installed on my Win98 machine. I wish someone had figured out a way to extend its functionality into Windows programs. If it had, I’d probably be a program fiend today, instead of just now learning Javascript.


FONTastic: for creating and editing bitmap fonts and installing them into your OS (Macintosh System freaking FOUR; obsolete in System SIX)

SFVol: for creating new folders in the process of saving your file, before Apple added it in natively in System 7

OnCue, Apollo, and OtherMenu: (3 different products, same basic idea); ways of directly launching a program when you were in another. Under System 6 without MultiFinder it meant not having to exit to the Finder and then double-click the next app; even with MultiFinder it made a great launcher: out of your way until you need it, hierarchical as you order it.

DOS Mounter: for PC formatted floppies; SO much better than Apple File Exchange, it treated DOS floppies just like they were Mac floppies! You could copy files directly off of or onto them and so on!

DeskZap: see invisible files & folders, see and change the file type or creator, edit the low-level flags that control how the file is treated in the OS. System 4-6 era but still useful under MacOS 9.

Carpetbag: cheapie alternative to Jugger or Suitcase, let you load new fonts and disk accessories and FKeys dynamically, closing them down when you no longer need them. Hmm, I wonder how many of you folks know what an FKey is?

MacroMaker: the original System 6 Apple-supplied Macro recorder and playback engine.


PopupFolder (System 7) and its imitator FinderPop (MacOS 8, 9): click on a folder or hard disk and get a hierarchical menu of its contents. Drag a file onto a disk or folder and follow the hierarchical menu to deposit it into exactly the deeply buried folder that you want. WAY WAY better than spring-loaded folders.

GetMoreInfo (System 7) and Snitch (MacOS 8/9) for expanding the Get Info window to include additional items like file type and file creator codes.

FlashIt: System 6 thru MacOS 9 screenshot maker.

Stuffit Expander and DropStuff: the Mac utility for file compression and decompression for years & years
longevity winner: “Remember?”, the calendar and appointment minder that started off as a pre-System 6 Disk Accessory and is still being developed under MacOS X.

My favorite was one of the xtree alternatives. Drawing a complete blank as to what it’s called right now though.

PC Tools

and Speeddisk was the first utility I bought rather than “borrowing” from a friend.