View Full Version : Anyone else into collecting vintage PC manuals?

May 9th, 2017, 04:27 PM
Back in the 80s, I owned a set of those nice IBM manuals with hardcover binders and hard boxes that the binders fit into. At some point along the way from then to now, my set of manuals was lost. I've managed to re-acquire many of them from eBay, including

* GW Basic
* DOS 3.30
* DOS 3.30 technical reference
* IBM PC/XT technical reference (it even has schematics!)

Some of them managed to come with original diskettes, some not. Still haven't taken the time to wire up a 5.25" floppy drive to see whether any of the diskettes are still readable after all these years.

The difference between what we used to get back then and what we get now is incredible. I think my latest computer came with a folded up piece of poster-size paper, mostly written in the languages of icons icons and emojis.

I'm curious whether others have been bitten by the bug of feeling the need to collect old manuals, or whether my hobby has gone off the rails into a new form of weirdness.

Dave Farquhar
May 9th, 2017, 04:35 PM
I don't think it's weird. The manuals are rarer than the computers, and as you say, they couldn't be much more different from what we get now.

May 9th, 2017, 04:57 PM
I keep bookshelves of printed documentation. Not only does it look quite impressive but I've had instances where having the physical pages available were easier than tracking down a PDF.

May 9th, 2017, 05:03 PM
I keep bookshelves of them, IBM PC, PC XT, PC RT, DOS, AIX etc etc etc
Even if I don't read them, they complete the sets and look great on the wall!

I don't have any tech ref's, but did just get an HMS for the IBM PC, and also the "Display Station Emulation Adapter - Installation and Problem Determination Guide" - so if anyone is having trouble hooking their PC to a System/34 let me know :)

May 9th, 2017, 06:15 PM
I would love to have the books to go along with my ibm 5150 but I just can't afford them. It seriously sucks being poor.

I wouldn't even have the machine except that it was given to me free.

May 9th, 2017, 08:13 PM
I would love to have the books to go along with my ibm 5150 but I just can't afford them. It seriously sucks being poor.

I wouldn't even have the machine except that it was given to me free.

I know the feeling! But... I got my XT Tech Ref for $12 and my DOS 1.1 Manual with disk for $1 on ebay! This was about 4 years ago but there's still hope... especially when people use generic terms in their ad title ;)

So just keep eBaying! It'll pay off sooner or later!

I also got a spare 5150 64-256k motherboard for $9 because it was called an "XT??? motherboard" - and it works!


May 9th, 2017, 08:40 PM
I too have an extensive library. Not much IBM stuff though. Complete OS/2 manuals, and a couple large programming references that I'll never use again but sure used the heck out of them 30 years ago.

The rest is Amiga, Commodore, Apple, TRS-80 (I don't even have one), UNIX, Sun, CP/M, etc etc

May 12th, 2017, 03:45 AM
I collect manuals for the computers I collect. Plus programming manuals. The original manuals are fun because they reveal what the new user learned once he started exploring. And the programming manuals is because I intend to develop on every computer I own in both basic and assembly.

May 30th, 2017, 03:48 PM
I've got a full set of PC6300 boxed manuals as well as some Intel PL/M and C-51 assembly books. Also have loads of books for FORTRAN, Turbo C, Quick C, Turbo Pascal, etc. As others have said, I don't refer to them often, but they do fill up the shelves.

June 4th, 2017, 07:49 AM
One of the best things I did years ago was buy IBM software and hardware box sets when I could get them cheap. I got most of the 5150,5160,5162 & 5170 sets from operating manuals to HMS to the tech reference manuals. 10-12 years ago $5 to $10 per book was common. Today they are all can be read online or pdf's downloaded but it nice to have the real book, software and testing null plugs that were included with them. I even have an original V1.0 dos box but no original floppy disk. I did get a backup copy of the disk with the book.


June 4th, 2017, 08:19 AM
I do like hardcopy when I'm hacking on something. I have hardcopy for most of my S-100 stuff, and for things like Altair and IMSAI front panels, I've even had the schematics enlarged at the local print shop. Nothing like being able to mark up a huge schematic as you go through the trouble board!

June 6th, 2017, 11:05 PM
IBM / Microsoft softvare / manuals collector here :cool: