>     Does anyone on this list know how to install Windows from scratch?

Been there Emil. It's possible by your description, you need to reinstall.
But maybe not. . . .

>     My computer at home apparently lost its FAT allocation files (I guess)
>     All I can get right now is a C:/ prompt but when I type: win that
>     gives me a "bad command" message.

Have you changed anything recently? I suspect if you lost your FAT that DOS
wouldn't boot either (?). Why do you think you have lost it? Anyway it's
possible that simply you have lost/altered your PATH so that DOS doesn't
know where windows is hiding. At the C:/ prompt try typing: CD Windows
<enter> (this will bring you to the windows directory) now type WIN and see
if you can start windows.

>     What I know is that I am running a 4.0 version of DOS but I only have
>     diskettes for the 6.0 version in my desk drawers. Should I try to
>     upgrade the DOS first, then reformat the hard drive and then install
>     my Windows from a CD-ROM?

You should plan on upgrading DOS (lots of better things in 6.0). But when
you reformat your drive, it will erase all that is there including DOS! So
usually you wouldn't install it BEFORE a format. I believe if you have not
lost your fat, then you may not need to reformat the drive. If so, then
simply upgrade your DOS and then re-install Windows. If you lost your FAT
then a reformat might be necessary. To do this you must use the #1 install
disk of DOS 6.0 to boot. Be sure to back up this disk before trying. I
forget the syntax for reformatting. Do you have any literature? If not
installing 6.0 on your system temporarily might be useful. There is quite
an extensive on-line Help file with 6.0.  Install 6.0 on the hard drive and
then type <help format> at the c:/ prompt. Take notes. But if the install
is successful, then try installing Windows and see what happens before

>       The problem is also how do I specify my
>     drives? Should I first copy my autoexe.bat and system.ini on a floppy?
>     How do I make the boot disk?

You should try and backup these files right away- for many reasons (Try and
save any program files as well). As to specifying drives letters/numbers,
this takes place during the process of formatting/creating logical drives.

>     O! BTW. Never install the (in)famous Symantec's Norton Utilities on
>     your system.
>     They say that if you can get only two programs for your computer NU
>     should be one of them. That's a big lie!!! At work I got more freezes
>     in a couple of days since I installed NU than in my computer's entire
>     life, and at home I fried everything in only one day...

NU can be a godsend or a curse. But usually if it turns on you, it's
because your system has some very strange things kicking around. Perhaps it
didn't expect DOS 4.0. That version is many, many years old.

Good luck,


Frank Ippolito    [log in to unmask]
American Museum of Natural History

"Wherever you go..., there you are."
                                                -Buckaroo Banzai