Finding A Retro Writing Machine


New Member
Mar 20, 2020
David's videos have fascinated me for years now. And once I discovered George RR Martin writes his novels on a DOS laptop, I thought about how I could reflect this. As a writer I have been seeking out the most ideal, distraction free, writing process and workstation.

My experience in IT and fascination with retro computing is what led me here.

I wanted to find a Windows 98 machine, that could easily be modded for say any potential upgrades like a CF card. And something that potentially had enough parts going around to potentially repair in worst case scenarios.

Admittedly I settled on a Sager 2200T machine with a processor that was "rare" according to the seller on Ebay. It came to about $80, and only powers on when plugged in. Not a huge issue as I really would only want to use it in a desktop-like scenario. (I am open to suggestions in hardware to build a decently sized desktop machine if that may be better)

The spacebar is also not fully functional, as it will sometimes not receive input from the key. Also not a huge issue as I found an older style keyboard that types better. And is typical whenever I use a laptop in a "non-mobile" situation. Hopefully that last sentence makes sense to most of you.

I managed to upgrade the software to Windows 98 Second Edition, but it doesn't want to let me go any newer than that. As apparently I need certain drivers to go any further.

The laptop itself runs great, but any information on it seems to be completely non-existent. And there are zero guides to disassembly or repair anywhere reliable. So for any hard drive replacement to compact flash would be completely blind.

Before going forward, I wanted to reach out to the community to see if there are more experienced eyes out there better suited for this than myself. I started this journey in hopes of finding a distraction free means of writing that wasn't a typewriter, and that could easily be transferred over to any new hardware. Like my current machine. And could run older versions of programs like Word or Final Draft and see how well one could integrate that into a modern writing workflow.