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This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Amstrad  PCW 16 computer. 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


Saturday 26th May 2012
roger jowett (ulster)
sam koop20th buthdi

MSDOS 3.5" 1.44 MB double-density floppy disk.

hi density
double density was 720kb on the pc

Thursday 28th July 2011
Graham Holloway (Stevenage, UK)
GHS Computers

I still have my PCW-16, from Dixons, with the Citizen Dot Matrix printer. I used to love playing with the Rosanne O/S and loading CP/M which allowed me to play and make games on the machine, someone provided me the neccessary floppys from PCW Format magazine, not sure that still exists. Great little machine, as long as the screen holds out I''ll keep it.

Sunday 9th May 2010
Alan Birt (England)

May 2009. Further to my previous posting about the PCW16 some five years ago, may I report that I am STILL using my PCW16 for all my general correspondence. What a splendid machine it is and still giving faithful service. Since I purchased it for a pittance, it has also proved to be great value for money. May it long continue !

Wednesday 24th June 2009
Lee (UK)

Hi, the interpreter is finished and available! I am uploading it in the next few days. I found the author who was more than happy to release the code as Open Source! So check out my site soon for updates! I also have programs to download, manuals, articles and more there and coming soon!

Saturday 19th August 2006
MS (Dreamland)

As Alan Birt mentions, the PCW series still has a handful of faithful fans, thanks to its simplicity and sole focus on basic writing/office tasks. Sure, they're not remotely comparable feature-wise to modern PCs, but still orders of magnitude simpler to use if you just want to write a letter or report.

Anyhoo, some extra tidbits about the PcW 16:

The OS, Rosanne, is an astounding achievement; written solely in Z80 assembler, it incorporates a graphical WIMP environment with the usual menus, dialog boxes, etc. that are de rigeur on multi-GHz machines. Additionally, it's really nice to program for -- a good set of well-documented OS calls means you can knock up a graphical app in a few lines of Z80 asm. Someone started on a BASIC interpreter, but it never came to light. The only way to use another language (hosted) is to use the CP/M port.

PcW 16s have severe build-quality issues. I've had two fail on me, and from speaking to other '16ers', it's not uncommon for machines to stop working. Inside the machine, it's quite clear it was cheaply put together. A shame, because the keyboards were great!

Hardly any third-party programs exist for the '16. An accounting program was produced after launch, and there was the idea to utilise the machine's serial port (with modem) for rudimentary internet access, but that died out as the PCW line ended. By far the most significant 'external program' (in '16 parlance!) is John Elliott's CP/M emulator which, although not supporting graphics, is excellent for text-mode CP/M programs, thereby extending the '16's software capability dramatically.

Also of note is John's 'ANNE' emulator, based on his 'JOYCE' program, which emulates a PcW 16. It's currently in mid-development status but works pretty well.

The '16 is a fascinating little machine, but was perhaps doomed from the start -- computer shops are more interested in selling expensive and absurdly complicated machines to Auntie Ethel than a simple little word processor and spreadsheet. Same thing I see happening with the em@iler, which my parents use happily! Not much commission in flogging those devices :-)

If anyone's still using a '16, it'd be great to read about it on this site. Oh, and this is the first time I've visited this site for a couple of years -- kudos to everyone involved. It's retrostalgic tastic!

Monday 6th December 2004
Alan Birt (UK)

I am still using a PcW16 for all of my writing - my PC is used only for e-mail; websites and digital photography. I have several spare PcW16s, bought for next-to-nothing, which I am keeping as spares in case my first machine "blows up". [I also have one example of all the Amstrad PCWs, just for nostalgia] The PC word processing programs are too complicated for me, but I am a retired pensioner.

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