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A > AMSTRAD  > PCW 8256 / 8512


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Amstrad  PCW 8256 / 8512 videogame system. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Tuesday 14th February 2023
Geoff Barnard (England)

I''ve now got a second PCW, managed to get a 8512 with the higher capacity floppy drive. Just needed the rubber bands replacing. Still much activity on the forum (CPCWiki), people using the Gotek virtual drive for PCW games, general programming for CP/M and whatever. Large amounts of software available as virtual disk images

Thursday 19th January 2023
Geoff Barnard (UK)

Hello back to Keith Saunders! Please tell me more. I''m still busy around computing, various forums, esp re vintage computers

Thursday 19th January 2023
Geoff Barnard (UK)

Hello back to Keith Saunders! Please tell me more. I''m still busy around computing, various forums, esp re vintage computers

Thursday 19th January 2023
Geoff Barnard (UK)

Hello back to Keith Saunders! Please tell me more. I''m still busy around computing, various forums, esp re vintage computers

Thursday 19th January 2023
Geoff Barnard (UK)

Hello back to Keith Saunders! Please tell me more. I''m still busy around computing, various forums, esp re vintage computers

Sunday 2nd October 2022
Jon (UK)

There is a project to build your own PCW WiFi Modem here:

Wednesday 24th August 2022
Keith Saunders (Stockton-on-Tees, England)

I''d like to just say hello to Geoff Barnard who gave me enough interest in computers to allow me to make a life out of it.

Monday 2nd May 2022
Geoff Barnard (Guisborough, England)

Jerri - I''d be interested to know more about your game project. I still have my PCW, it is still working, I still use it. As do many others. It is still a perfectly viable CP/M computer. Still much interest in such retro machines. Geoff, England

Monday 14th February 2022
Jerri Kohl (United States)

To those who are interested in selling their PCW/Joyce, I am interested. I wish to port a series of RPGs (Role Playing Games) that I am developing to this platform.

Monday 14th February 2022
Jerri Kohl (United States)

To those who are interested in selling their PCW/Joyce, I am interested. I wish to port a series of RPGs (Role Playing Games) that I am developing to this platform.

Saturday 31st July 2021
Katy (UK)

Hi We are in London I have in the cellar an Amstrad 8512 with monitor, printer, user guide and a number of games and floppy discs Also a BBC micro Would anyone be interested in these? thanks Katy

Tuesday 25th February 2020
Andy O''Connell (United Kingdom)

I''m trying to sell my father''s old PCW8512, with printer and several disks. It still works, I understand. Any tips on where to sell such a thing?

Tuesday 17th December 2019
Geoff Barnard (Guisborough England)

My 8256, bought 1985, is still working fine, although the disk drive needed repair some years ago. I still use it, as a useful CP/M machine, and in conjunction with active forum for vintage computers. My machine now sports 3.5", 5.25" and virtual 8Mb HDs. Hopefully will keep going for a few years yet. Certainly NOT for sale, NO WAY!

Tuesday 16th January 2018
Robin smith (Honey Brook, Pa. USA)

Have an original Amstrad 8256 in box, never used or taken
Out of box . Also have many many extra discs , ribbons
For sale .

Tuesday 16th January 2018
Robin smith (Honey Brook, Pa. USA)

Have an original Amstrad 8256 in box, never used or taken
Out of box . Also have many many extra discs , ribbons
For sale .

Tuesday 16th January 2018
Robin smith (Honey Brook, Pa. USA)

Have an original Amstrad 8256 in box, never used or taken
Out of box . Also have many many extra discs , ribbons
For sale .

Tuesday 16th January 2018
Robin smith (Honey Brook, Pa. USA)

Have an original Amstrad 8256 in box, never used or taken
Out of box . Also have many many extra discs , ribbons
For sale .

Sunday 17th December 2017
camincha benvenutto (Pacifica CA USA)

Thanks 4 giving me this opportunity 2 offer my AMSTRAD 8256 LocoScript 3 Family $ its printer, keyboard, manuals. brand new tapes just 4 Ur picking it all up. Have not used it in over 10 yrs. Printer was not in gd shape.

Friday 22nd September 2017

Hi, I am Francis. I have a collection of Amstrad 8512 disks which I would like to convert to PC floppies. Can anyone help? Preferably by someone in The Netherlands. Many thanks.

Monday 19th June 2017
Jeff Joseph (USA)

If anyone is still interested in letting go a PCW please email Must be willing to ship to USA. Please give description (RAM, drives, $ disks included, software, condition) and how much you want. Thanks.

Wednesday 29th March 2017
edward (London UK)

I have an Amstrad PCW 8526 Personal computer Have everything it has almost never been used if anyone is interested ?
Have printer discs etc etc

Friday 30th December 2016
Robin  (Honey Brook, Pa. U.S.A)

I have a 1985 Amstrad PCW 8256 new in box , never
Used. Lots of extra discs and printer ribbon .

For sale , serious inquiries only.

Tuesday 20th December 2016
Brian Mindt (ND/USA)

I have a PCW 8256 for sale. we bought it new and almost never used it. maybe 5 hours of time on it. have a few discs with it. email ironstallioncycles at hotmail. com or call 701-845-5196

Sunday 15th November 2015
Dan (Texas, USA)

I am a British computer collector living in Texas. I am trying to hunt down an Amstrad PCW expansion pack that gives the PCW a serial/parallel capability. Would love to hear from someone that is willing to sell one of these.

Thursday 26th February 2015
Phil Sketchley (uk)


Saturday 13rd September 2014
Wim (The Netherlands)

I have a Schneider Joyce Computer, complete.
Seems to be working but the drive belt of the top drive needs to be repaired. See
Lots of disks, software, manuals (most in Dutch).
Someone interested?

Saturday 17th May 2014
Cumbrianet  (United Kingdom)

HI, is there anyone here would willing to help (online) with Pcw 8512 rebuild/repair

Sunday 1st September 2013
Stephen Tweed (UK, England)

I have about twenty CF2 discs. One is a Locoscript 2 disc. Free to a good home if you pay the P$P

Wednesday 7th August 2013
lester (western australia)

I have a amstrad 8512 in good working order with all parts, computer key board printer 3 inch disc programs printer tapes book every thing for sale
regards lester

Monday 18th February 2013
Manu (Belgium) (Ostend/Belgium)

Update: In time of my last posting, i have back my original PCW 8256 the person that had it, all those years died :( , only needed to repair the drive belt, and working like new. - Now i have my original Schneider PCW Joyce 8256, a spanish Amstrad PCW 8256, Schneider PCW Joyce 8512, Amstrad PCW 8512 (upgraded 8256 and upgrade 3,5 inch drive), another Amstrad 8256 for daily use, and one Amstrad 8256 for spare parts. and before i forget also Amstrad PCW 9512 with Daisy Wheel Printer, and 7 Matrix Printers.

In 2 years time, i expanded my collection PCW Software boxed, from Desktop Publishers, a lot of Games, and many other tools, also extra hardware like, Memory upgrades to 1,5 MB ! for a PCW, and Mouse and handheld scanner... Books..

To Andy it was not all horrible, as kid it was hard to find in belgium PCW software and hardware, and its nice to see all these things working today days.

The PCW made me start my Retro Computer Collection, now i have around 67 Computers, 12 connected for direct use. Apple, Amstrad, Schneider, Commodore, Epson, Sharp,..

From all my computers, even today the PCW is my favorite.

Tuesday 10th April 2012
Andy (England)

Some interesting comments on the old 8256, most of them fond memories... I used to go to typing classes at our school back in the day, our school had hundreds of these things. We also had one new from Dixons - £499 all in I believe, our Grandad bought it for us thinking it was a PC - must have been totally swindled by the sales guy! Ooops! Me and my brother wanted a PC so much! The 3" disks were impossible to buy new, and to top it all off it just could not do what a PC could, even a PC that was 10 years older than it. It didn''t even have standard I/O ports. I remember having Microdesign 2 and painfully trying to use it to do something simple and it being impossible to implement. That was all the software we had, but one of my friends let me borrow Thomahawk which was slow, rubbish, and kept locking up. CP/M was a bit of an oddity too - most people were using DOS, or even early versions of Windows by the time this hit the market! Taking a step back for a moment, it was a wordprocessor first and foremost - the printer quality was good, but I''d rather chop my hands off than type on that poor quality keyboard for any length of time - it was horrible! Locoscript was impossible to use, not intuitive in the least bit. All-in-all I must agree with Dave, it was indeed a glorified Typewriter!

Thursday 23rd February 2012
Robert Fleeman (UK)

I am mourning my Amstrad *512 and cannot write my memoirs. Julia, or anyone, have you still got one in working order for sale?

Tuesday 12th July 2011
julia  (united Kingdom)

i have an amstrad pcw8512 for sale complete with printer and instruction manual if anyone knows anyone who would like it, all in good working order of course

Saturday 18th June 2011
manu (belgium)

Hi, a few weeks ago i, found on eBay a fully working Amstrad PCW 8256(repaired the drive belt), and another one i got free of a friend, Schneider PCW 8512, both working perfectly, and now i can run again my 23 year old software i made on my original Schneider PCW 8256, :)
Question to Andrew, can you give me the PCW 8512 dongle information, i want to find one.. to all software, drive belt''s.. i am intrested: contact me on: - and feel free ask questions about the PCW $-) thanks

Tuesday 15th March 2011

Emulator portable

Tuesday 30th November 2010
Andrew (UK)

I regularly help a lady who swears by the Amstrad and Locoscript pro and who interact with others in her business/charity via email and the internet.
As a result I myself do a lot of swearing, inwardly to myself of course..
These computers are interesting as a stroll down memory lane ,but please please dear lady get a modern computer with word and office so I don'' t have to struggle with incompatible printers and converting documents to preper ones that everyone else can actually access and read.!! Please don''t promote these old machines and programs as being "better" than modern ones they aren''t!!! If that is all you had of course they were wonderful, in their day.....!!

Wednesday 24th November 2010

Where can you get drive bands for these beasts?

Tuesday 5th October 2010
Zoltan G-Wagner (Sweden)

I got two computer systems
Amstrad PCW 8512 System – with disks $-))
both in good condition.
I want to sell them.
zolle at

Friday 24th September 2010
Blakkar (UK)

Re Herwig (Belgium)''s comments. I have a dongle that enables me to connect my PCW512 to my PC, and also a PC version of Locoscript that enables me to open the files on the PC. The texts can then be converted and imported into MS Word, so there should be no need for Herwig to retype all his old documents.

Wednesday 22nd September 2010
Herwig (Belgium)

I still have several PCW256, upgraded tp 512 internally.
Several... it''s not a joke. 2 in running condition, 2 for parts. Allthough I don''t use them anymore, except a few times in a year I need to access some old files. I did chance rubber belts several times, and I have a bag full of these driving belts. I also cleaned all belt drive parts from grease/dust at that occasion. It had been routine $)
I used them intensively, often with no switch off for weeks continuously. The total amount of hours these machines have been running are just uncountable.
I had many professional programs written in Mallard Basic, the most used was a building heat loss calulation program, based on the Britisch Standard on heat loss $ insulation of buildings.
I did all my (technical) textprocessing, on PCW (from 1985 onwards to 2006...) , painfully experiencing afterwards how excessive much hours of typing and editing have been accumulated $ stored on these 3" disks... I still use PDF versions of Locoscript files, that don''t need editing for reuse.
In a way, a few defects that damaged discs lead to loss of some part of my old data.
I am not considering the PCW''s a museum pieces yet. Probably, I''ll need them at least 5-6 years more, until I''ve got time to retype most of my old library... $)

Sunday 12th September 2010

Just bought a *broken* PCW off ebay a couple weeks ago. My Mom used to use it in the late 80''s-early 90''s when my Dad was stationed in the UK. Their computer broke long ago and they disposed of it. I thought it would be cool to try to access her old data (she wrote children''s stories). Sure enough all I had to do was replace the old band drive band with a regular old rubber band and it accesses all her old files perfectly. I''m really shocked in how great a shape the data is still in after all these years.

Thursday 9th September 2010
Robert Milne (UK)

Some time in the mid-80''s I wrote a Mallard Basic programme for the Amstrad PCW range$ it was called "FELIX", the Filename and Extension Lister and IndeXer. It read the names and locations of every file on all your floppies, storing the results in Drve M, a virtual disc drive prior to transferring the catalogue to a floppy. Then, when you couldn''t remember where a file was, you simply asked FELIX. The software was favourably reviewed in both dedicated magazines at the time, but sales were abysmal to non-existent.... I doubt if anyone remembers it.

Tuesday 31st August 2010
Sandy (Hometown, USA)
Geek Me Up

I have the 2 original diskettes and the manuals from the 8526/8512 in excellent condition. The diskettes were never used except to make copies of them and they were carefully stored in a clean dry place. Make me an offer through my website link above if interested. Thanks!

Tuesday 31st August 2010
Sandy (Hometown, USA)
Geek Me Up

I owned 2 of the Amstrad PCW 8256 machines. The first was purchased in 1986 for $500 USD at sears. The second for $400 sometime after when they began closing them out. I ran my business using Locoscript and even designed custom templates to look more professional. The issue with these machines mainly was that the belt that operated the disc drive would stretch over time and the drive would not be able to read the discs without errors. when the belt went on the older one, I began using the newer one. I ordered 2 replacement belts because my understanding was that they deteriorated with time as well as usage and that it would not be long before it happened to the newer machine. Replacing the belt was the first computer repair I ever performed. I recall that it was tricky because if you turned something the wrong way or held it upside down, a pin would fall out and the machine would become a doorstop. I worked from hand-written directions supplied with the belts that turned out to be pretty good (thanks to a USA guru named Harvey?).

Eventually I handed down both machines (one at a time) to my Dad. The newer machine''s belt finally gave out a second time earlier this year (2010). I told my dad that it is not worth fixing anymore and that he would have to move to a modern PC. He is not happy! Once he commits to make the move, I''ll look into getting his discs converted, but I told him that it may no longer be possible.

Monday 14th June 2010
Webmaster (France)


3.5'''' disks were the usual ones.
Amstrad systems used the weird 3'''' size disks.

Monday 14th June 2010

I use to use an 8256 and, IIRC, it was an unusual three-and-a-half inch floppy disk.

But I stand to be corrected.

Saturday 24th April 2010
Erik (Australia)

My grandparents owned, and still do, an Amstrad PCW 8256. They bought the system for my mum''s brother who was at university at the time so he could write his assignments etc. The floppy disks were strange. They were sort of like the 3.5" diskettes going out of fashion today, but they were half an inch shorter and the opening for the magnetic coated plastic inside looked like a 5.25" disk opening. The only differences that I could recall was that the PCW 8256 had 1 disk drive (it was single sided: you had to boot LocoScript, eject the disk, flip it, re$ it, and then press F1)and 256 KB of RAM, whereas the PCW 8512 had 512KB RAM and 2 disk drives. Don''t know if the PCW 8512 had double sided disk drives or not. The printer was a dot matrix system, which was pretty cool (for the 80s), and you could set it to tractor feed or friction feed (which is what a lot of electric typewriters used). It had no games, but if you were skilled enough you could make a Dots and Dashes game with a LocoScript file and then print out the result.
You could use the Amstrad PCW as a CP/M system, which I thought was neat, but I never tried it myself.

Friday 3rd July 2009
Alex Taylor

Dave (UK): so you''ve got a typewriter that will do spreadsheets, DTP and relational databases?

Wednesday 11th March 2009
Roger (UK)

After 20 years use the drive belt disintergrated. I replaced it only to disrupt the wright-protect mech.

Does anybody want my 8256 for free with discs, books and manuals? Though I would like some help deleting the files from the discs.

Wednesday 27th August 2008
Silas Denyer

My Mother wrote several books on her basic, unexpanded PCW8256. The biggest drawback was that you could only save a document to disk which was AT MOST half the disk size, as the new version was saved first before deleting the old version.

Thus it was very easy to write a long document only to be told it was too big to save!

On the plus side, the PCW also shipped with dBase to run over CP/M, so you could run a "real" business on it.

Tuesday 12th August 2008
Dave (UK)

Glorified typewriter. Period.

Sunday 12th August 2007
Madcrow (USA)

I got a used PCW from someone and while it boots, I can't seem to actually use LocoSript. I can't figure out how to select a menu item! (The logical choice of Return doesn't do squat)

Any help here?

Thursday 7th June 2007
Welsh Dog (Sydney)
Opinion Australia

The Amstrad pcw8256 was for it's time *the* best machine on the market and a total knock-out for value.

I bought one as soon as they were available and I honestly believe that without I would never have passed my first degree!

The machine was a little underpowered as a computer maybe, but as a Wordprocessor it was far and away the best out there. Locoscript was way ahead both of its time and the rest of the market.

When you bag it remember that at that time it cost £4k for an IBM (I still have a catalogue!) and £450 for the PCW... competition?? I think not.

Friday 29th December 2006
Alex Taylor (UK)

Andrew J's negative comments here are wrong for so many reasons. Why berate a computer that simply doesn't meet your needs? Most of the arguments presented seem to be comparing apples to oranges.

The £100 XT computer might have been much cheaper than the PCW. However the XT would have cost £3000 or so when new. Comparing new and second-hand computer prices is meaningless.

If the supplied BASIC didn't do the job, get another programming language! The PCW's just another CP/M computer, so there's Turbo Pascal, Hisoft C, and a whole load of other BASICs out there.

"Worst piece of electronics hardware"? In what way? I have loads of them, and other that the cheap 3" drives, they still work fine. To me that would seem to indicate a reasonably good piece of hardware (except the drives, of course).

Spell checkers were available, including LocoSpell for LocoScript itself, and the spell checkers from other word processors such as Protext. You may have had to pay extra for LocoSpell, but don't forget that with most computers of the time, you would have had to have paid loads of extra money just for the word processor itself - which may not have included a spell checker.

The ZX Spectrum 48K had colour and sound, but stored programs and data on audio tapes, only had a 32-column screen, had no in-built connection for a printer, and a poor keyboard. I like the Spectrum for many reasons, it was my first computer, but it's not a word processor or business computer.

Trying to compare new and second-hand computers by price is strange and futile. Trying to compare computers that aim at different market sectors is also odd, because they'll have a completely different mix of features and price points.

One of the PCW's minus points is of course the 3" disks. However it's worth bearing in mind that 3.5" drives can be fitted to older PCWs, and Amstrad themselves switched formats by the eary 90s.

The PCW was very good at what it did, and offered a lot for the price. In the mid-80s, it eliminated the typical hassle of buying a computer, software and a printer and then trying to get them to work properly together. It did it at a low price by using the out-going and unfashionable but well-proven 8-bit CP/M technology, in a market sector that didn't care about that kind of thing, only wanting something to do its job with a minimum of fuss.

Sunday 26th February 2006
Andrew J (UK)

This 'computer' if it so can be called, has got to be one of the worst pieces of electronics hardware ever made. So it was meant to be a dedicated word processor, it didn't even have a spell check or thesaurus facility. It used those silly 3" disks that were difficult to find, nothing else used them, and they couldn't store much information at all. What else could you do with it, nothing. Mallard BASIC was pants, no functionality at all. What could you do if you had no disks? Nothing! No built in program/BASIC in the ROM here, oh no!! Most other computers of the day allowed you to do something productive as soon as the machine was turned on. The point is, I dumped my crappy PCW 8256 as fast as I could, and bought a 2nd hand IBM PC XT for £100, about £400 cheaper than that PCW. With my IBM I could word process in style with Display Write 4, including spell checking! Also, I could program and compile my own utilities and programs. I could find other software titles for my IBM, and I still use it today from time to time. It had a hard drive and a decent sized capacity floppy drive. DTP on the PCW? Micro design 2 was primitive and difficult to use. I spent hours trying to do something productive and trying to learn something on this heap of junk. Needless to say, I learnt a lot more on my IBM XT than I ever could have from that PCW. Also, CP/M was crumby, although popular at the time of 8bit micro's 16bits was the way forward, IBM was using an 80286 at the time Amstrad was stuck with a Z80!! I remember picking up a ZX Spectrum 48k for £5 a couple years after I owned the PCW, and thinking that it was infinitely better - instantly on and useable, program away, store on something that is readily available and cheap, colour and graphics!! ZX was miles better! Anyway, the PCW, shouldn't be called a 'computer' at all, at best it was a crumby word processor, nay, a text processor! I shudder every time I think about it. Can't wait to dump it on Alan Sugars lawn and drive off! What was he thinking? Where is he now and what is IBM doing? Point proven.

Wednesday 15th February 2006
Neil MacGregor (Huntly Aberdeenshire Scotland)

I have 1No. Amstrad 8512 still working and three pcw printers plus locoscript books and 30 3inch disks available cost of postage delivery only.

Sunday 12th February 2006
Maida  (Barcelona)

I own an Amstrad PCW 8256 which is still working, what I would need is ink for the printer or if someone is interested in having it I would welcome offers.!!!
Kind regards to all the collectors

Sunday 24th April 2005
Jaume de la Vega Cercos (spain)

My father got one 8256 from 1987 to 2002, and all those years worked ok, only the drive belt problem in the year 1995 replaced by one almost identical (a bit short) from an old stereo, considering the fragile substitute the machine worked fine until 2002 when an accident moving the table broked the screen...

I still remember making some nice homeworks with the locoscript (made the schoolwork with a computer in 1993 was astonishing). I also learned to play chess with a game in the amstrad (also cached the taste for programming with mallard basic)...

Also remember because the printer tape shortage (old times but older computer) Forces us for a time to use charcoal paper instead of ink...

Saturday 9th April 2005
Teresa Griffith (Charlton, South East London)

Hi guys

I've enjoyed reading these messages. My son learnt to program on an 8256 and it was directly responsible for me obtaining two secretarial jobs back in the 80s. Because it was an unusual machine if an office used it you were streets ahead of the IBM girlies whom incidently I envied madly. Anyway here I am now in the world of Windows and IBM so if anyone wants my old 8256 please do let me know.

Many thanks


Wednesday 2nd March 2005
Perry Spiller (New Zealand)

I had an 8256, then 8512. I added a "daughter" board called something like Cirtech. The details of which are sketchy in my memory. But it expanded the RAM exponentially (for that era) and I recall it boosted the Hz to 8. I also bought a 1200/75 modem. I had to reverse the dialing sequences, because UK 999 = NZ 111. I even ran an HP Laserjet printer from ye olde PCW. I still have everything, in boxes - somewhere! I've yet to see a modern pop-up database to beat Locofile. And I'm still looking.

Monday 21st February 2005
Keith (UK)

The Amstrad PCW8256/8512 also had an external extra RAM, the Locomotive Power Pack (LPP512). Which is what I'm looking for at the moment as I've just jiggered mine, leaving many of my documents inaccessible.

Thursday 3rd February 2005
Andy (NW England)

I remember buying one of these for use at home when I first started college. Our college had a room full of them, for us to type up our work on. We all used Locoscript 1 and some of us even had Locomail as well! We also used a basic DTP program, but i can't remember what it was called. I also remember purchasing an external 3 1/5" disc drive because the discs were cheaper, and the most amazing graphics program of the time 'MicroDesign 2' (these cost me about £150 together). I also remember buying over the years, a centronics interface so that I could use a 'real' dot matrix or bubblejet printer, Locosript 2, with 'mail, 'spell and 'file - and some time after that, Locoscript 3 !!! (now that could handle colour printing !)
We must have used it for about 8-9 years before it finally died on us altogether, and we had to buy something else. I only threw it away about 5 years ago when I moved house (I must have been sentimental about the old thing).

Tuesday 21st September 2004
Mike King (spain)

Amazing what you can come across browsing around. I used PCW8512's for years.
I remember when Amstrad launched the PCW8256 as a "PC for less than the price of an electric typwriter" - £199.
The Amstrad Ad showed a PCW on a desk with a bin full of busted up computer parts beside it with the caption "it's all over now, baby blue!"
As a word processor it was as good as any around at the time but we had to switch off and run the cpm operating system to do anything else.
Around '87 or '88 we may have well had the first European email system.
Telecom Gold had a secure mailbox system based in London and via a 300 baud modem and the telephone line we comunicated, between the UK and Spain, at the speed of around 1 char/second.
In the end we decided that it would never catch on and bought at fax machine instead.


Saturday 31st July 2004
Tim Casswell (Llandovery)

My father is suffering the early stages of Alzheimers and his Amstrad 8256 is also showing similar symptoms. It doesn't seem to boot up and I have no experience of it. Can anyone give any ideas for how we might get it to work. Or how we might be able to transfer his addrss list onto PC or MAc compatible formats. Or just printing out the data? Thanks repies to please.

Saturday 12th June 2004
Ketlan Ossowski ( )

I had a succession of 8512's over about ten years and the extras that became available made it into an extremely useful machine - in particular, a wonderful DTP programme that along with a hand scanner from the same company (I think, Creative Technology) gave a major boost to productivity.
People used to tell me how crap it was compared to the average PC (probably 2086 at that time) but still asked me to produce their leaflets and posters for them.
This and the addition of a half-decent bubblejet made the 8512 a great little machine - and a lot more reliable than most of those on the market today.

Friday 9th April 2004
Keith Patterson (U.K.)

I still have this computer for sentimental purposes. I bought it in 1986 at Sears while I was in college. Believe it or not, I feel that it was way ahead of its time. I had some games for it too like Adventure (maze of twisty passages all different). The only reason I stopped using it (@1992) was because I could no longer find the printer ribbons for it.

Wednesday 3rd September 2003
Corinne (Delaware (USA))

I am in possesion of two Amstrad PCW8256 computers. My father purchased one from Sears years ago to write a book of his life story. He then purchased a used one to utilize for a needed printer part. Unfortunately the book was never completed as Alzheimer's has taken his ability to operate a computer as well as recall his life memories. I am not very familiar with this computers capabilities but in reading some postings it seems that users truely enjoyed it. I believe one of the systems I have is in working order and wonder if anyone close to my location would be in need of it.

Thursday 24th July 2003
Paul (London)

Hello, I am new to this forum, so please forgive me.

I used to own a PCW8512 a few years back, but the thing broke down and got chucked away. After a rose-tinted spectacle moment i bought a PCW8256 off Ebay, so I could use some of my old software and files.
The most dissapointing thing is that my version of Batman, by Ocean, does not seem to work. It worked the first time i put it on, but now it jut fails. i turn the pcw on, put the disk in, and all I get is a flashing screen and a sort of grinding sound which repeats a few times before stopping and emitting a beep.
I was wondering if you knew what the problem was, and whether you know where I might be able to get a replacement, or copy of a disk.

Sorry to have bothered you with such a long query.



Friday 21st February 2003
Marek Twardowski (Gdynia, Poland)


Congratulations on very interesting site!

Back in December 1987 I have purchased the Amstrad PCW8256 for USD 400. .
The machine was incredible! I used it until late 1996, when I changed into Pentium 133 IMB clone, with much regret. However, the LocoScript was so slow, that when it wound a text 30 pages long you could indeed make yourself a coffe, drink it, clean the dishes, etc. On the other hand it had several functions which I miss until today - like the KEEP function.
Later on I had some trouble with the floppy (the rubber drive band went slack), so I had to purchase a similar band for a tape recorder, cut it in necessary length and fasten the ends with some Superglue. However it was just a stopgap measure and had to be repeated every two months, so finally I settled for a 1.2 MB 5.25" floppy drive, downgraded to 720 kB, fitted externally, in support of the 3" drive. All my archives were stored on 5.25" floppies.
My friend purchased his PCW8256 half a year earlier, for GBP 400 (quite a difference, isn't it!). He had similar problems, but he was better off so went straight to 3,5" floppy.
At that time the cost of ribbon for the dot matrix printer was prohibitive (here in Poland of course - comparable to our monthly wage !!). Therefore I used to remove the ribbon casette, take a carbon copy paper, put it over the paper and print. The needles hit the carbon paper and the result was excellent.
Later I got the DBase2 and could use my PCW for other applications as well.
Transferring data between PCW and IBM Pcs was another story. It became important for me in early 1990. I have found a program to do it, however it could be done only via a 5,25" disc. On my PCW I could prepare text files in DOS (for IBM XT computer), but I could not import them. Therefore I had to go to my other friend (living in another city!) and he could transfer those files to CPM files on his Amstrad CPC256 computer.
Those were the days!

Best regards,
Marek Twardowski
Gdynia, Poland

Wednesday 3rd April 2002
Doug Eyre (USA (Hewitt, TX))

I was in the USAF at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom when the
Amstrad came out and they sold them in our base exchange. The nearby
town of Thetford had a computer store that sold me a kit to upgrade to
an 8512.

I loved the machine and when I was ready to leave the USAF for
retirement, a short notice job opportunity arose,

I had three hours to write a resume and a cover letter. I wrote and
printed that one resume and cover letter on the PCW. As a result of the
letter and resume, I have been employed in my present firm since October
of 1988. If that machine had never done another thing for me, it helped
me get my job!

I had the opportunity to visit the US on temporary duty and went to a
Sears store in Richardson, TX. While in the store I saw a PCW for sale.
I asked the salesman if he had any additional software for the machine.
He looked at me like I was from outer space and made it very clear that
the machine was strictly a word processor. He walked off with his nose
stuck in the air.

I immediately yanked out the word processing disc, flipped it over to
the side that had the Mallard Basic on it and quite quickly wrote a four
line basic program that printed and scrolled across the screen, "I AM A
COMPUTER, NOT JUST A WORD PROCESSOR!" and started it running. I called
the salesman back and pointed at the machine and made the comment, "It
knows more about what it can do than you do!" and I walked off. I don't
know if the salesman ever was able to figure out how to turn the machine
back into a word processor again!

There were countless programs available for the machine. Obviously any
graphics were strictly limited to black and green but for general use in
that day, the machine was exceptionally advanced and reasonably priced.
I used the machine extensively for church management while I was in
England in a mission work for the Church of God out of Cleveland, TN. I
used spreadsheets for my checkbook management and the machine even ran
dBase II. It played King's Quest as well.

As another aside, the printer used a ribbon that could be bought from
Radio Shack for one of their printers. The printer did a very good job
considering that it was a dot matrix.

I sold the machine to a contractor who just wanted a simple word
processor in 1995. It was a good machine and worth every penny of the
original $399 that I paid for it.

Tuesday 12th February 2002
John Palmer (Dorset, England)
Wirksworth Parish Records

I used my "Joyce" in 1985 to write a program in Mallard Basic simulating a "runaway" condition (like Chernobyl) in the reactors of Britain's nuclear submarines. And it worked too (but for completion of program I sometimes had to leave Joyce running for 48 hours!) This historic Joyce is now for sale or giveaway to someone who will love and respect her.

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