Saturday, April 30, 2011

Writing a book is fun, and not easy when one has memory problems related to Korsakoffs Disease

To those of you who are waiting for Sexton Sand, I apologize. I'll have it out soon. This time I mean it! I have built myself a computer and it's pleased with me. By that I mean it hasn't crashed since I put in this new hard drive and updated my drivers.
   Now I find myself in a little bit of a difficult position. It's no secret that I have Korsakoffs Disease--which involves some painful neuropathy I manage with vitamin supplements, and some holes in the memory that plague me in small ways. I don't say that as a complaint. It's a fact, and usually no big deal. I manage it.
  Writing a novel is a long process. It's a long work, even if it's a short novel (and mine aren't short.) Remembering basic facts is important. I haven't run into it yet, but I've read and heard from other authors that readers will call them on errors in the story. I try to avoid errors in the story. For the reader, the book will be (lord, hear my prayer) one seamless piece...that starts at the beginning, middles in the middle, and ends at the end. In the case of Sexton Sand, it won't end...but will become the start of the 5th book in the series.
  I've been mostly away from writing Sexton Sand while building myself a computer, a task I can now say with a bit of pride is done.
    So... I have but one more little thing to do before I write the ending of this book, polish the draft, and publish it. Note: I'm not putting a date out there. I've been pissing myself off with missed self-imposed deadlines.
   I started retyping the manuscript again. I'll make a few minor changes, I suppose, but the main purpose of retying it is to come as close as possible to finishing the draft as a seamless work.
   I owe my readers that much. See the links at the bottom of this blog to order your copies of the first three in the series: Sexton, Sexton Sand, and, Storm Clouds Over Sexton.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding excitement--I'm trying to understand it.

I mean no sarcasm in this post at all. I'm trying to understand the American fascination with weddings of the royal family of England. I was in high school when Princess Di and, um, that one guy, got married. (I apologize--I really can't remember his name right now.) It was a big deal, even in America. Lots of people watched it, lots of commentary and specials.
   The same thing is happening now. I'm not following much of it. In fact, I'm not following any of it if I can help it, but because I turn on a television every once in a while, I can't help but see it.
   I think the couple are a nice man and a nice woman who are about to get married. I think that's great. I'll even apply the word "awesome" to it, for that's what love is.
   Sociology was a big part of my major, so I'm watching this pre-wedding stuff with the interest of a social scientist and a desire to make some semblance of sense out of it. I'm not afraid to admit I will probably never understand the whole "who is making the dress?" and "Who has been invited" bits of the puzzle.
  I'm particularly interested in the American fascination with the royal family (some call them "The Royals"). Didn't we fight a revolution in order to get out from under the thumb of a king (who, if you read many histories, doesn't sound like that bad of a guy when one looks in the rearview mirror)?
   Looking for a conclusion or two? You won't get them here. All I have is some speculation regarding the Question of American Interest in Royal Weddings. So here goes:
  • We do not, nor will we ever, have a Royal Family. We have Presidents. Sometimes their kids get married, and it's a big deal. Our collective interest in those is not nearly as big as it is in the royal stuff. I think it's because we're too familiar with our Presidents and their families for us to cloak them in mystique. We see them on the campaign trail, sweating, giving speeches in the rain, squeezing flesh, etc. They are--whether we like them or not--people.
  • The Royal Family is different from our American "first family" (a term I kind of like, but for reasons I don't understand) in that they are born into the family or marry into it. They're born with the weight of the monarchy on their shoulders, as well as all the glitz and glamor. I think it's a weight, frankly, because I'd be willing to bet their hands are tied more than they are free. I don't think this couple could have run off to Vermont for a wedding without risking severe retribution from Her Majesty or a cabbie from London.
  • We'll have great seats at the wedding and will see a show unlike anything we can put on here outside of Hollywood. Big church, lots of people, real jewels...shiny stuff. Lots and lots of shiny stuff. And small reminders that England was a Kingdom long before the letter "J" appeared in the English alphabet... Actually, that family is older than the current alphabet. How's that for history?
  • And one final stab at yet another reason we Americans like royal weddings: We don't have to second guess anything. Liking him or her or the Queen isn't political for us. We can, if we choose, just sit back and watch the show without fear of having to defend ourselves to someone from a different political party.
 Now that I've put all that out there, I'll confess this much: I probably won't watch the wedding for longer than 15 minutes, if that. I'd like to see her walk up the aisle just so I can catch a glimpse in digital television, of the church and the jewels, and the bright shiny stuff. Then I'll flip to something else and watch that. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I haven't been quiet, you just couldn't hear me cuss!

My 1998 Compaq Presario finally gave up the ghost. Dead, man. Kicked da bucket. Sure, please, laugh! After I flamed out my 2002 eMachine (in 2010, long after that beast should have been exiled to the dump), I didn't have the cash to go out and buy a new machine. Could have come up with the cash, but my eyes fell on the old machine gathering dust in my wife's den. That little phrase that has gotten men all over the world in buckets o' trouble for many a generation came whispering into my head.
    You can fix it, Dave. It just needs some new hardware and a software update or two and you're good to go.
   That voice, as is so often the case in the heads of men...was full of shit. I knew it. My wife knew it. One out of two of our cats knew it.
   We also knew that I had heard the voice and that I was compelled to obey.
   So I popped the lid off the old Compaq and wandered down to the local computer shop--the kind with a few shelves of new hardware like hard drives, and power supplies, and other miscellanea that is foreign to the Best Buy crowd.
   The Voice told me to buy some used RAM (otherwise known as "memory" to smarter people than me). So I bought some RAM. Went home and stuffed it in the old case and told myself I was smart. Then I bought a new hard drive. The old one held 1 Gigabyte. Hey (laugh again if you're of a mind to) One Gigabyte was HUGE in 1998. The new drive (purchased used) was 40 gigabytes. Wow! What a dude! (That was THE VOICE AGAIN.)
   I'll spare you the drive for drivers, the wrenching pounding of the internet for drivers that would make my salvaged DVD drive from the eMachine from Hell work on the Compaq From Yesteryear.
   I got it working. I did! I was proud of my old machine. I was running a version of Windows 1998 never dreamed of by those (now) old guys who created that vintage version of Windows.
   I have to say it was a success. I wrote 6 books on that old Compaq. Designed 12 book covers (paperback and dust-jacketed hardcover) on that old Windows 98 Compaq. It took a long time to do that on that old machine.
   Well... Sorry to say, the lifespan of that old Compaq was reached. It's gravestone (I'll bury the case with honor in the backyard some dark night) will say:
Here lies Old Compaq,
May he Rest in Pieces

And now to the next adventure--one I'm proud to say (finally) is a success. It was a lunatic's mission, guided by THE VOICE.
   Again deciding not to use credit to buy a new machine, I went about building a new computer. Bear in mind a couple of points about me:
  • My verbal skills are quite high and my mechanical skills are quite low. Screwdrivers are almost beyond my skill. Believe it. I'm not kidding.
  • I have no formal computer training. Well...there was a class I took in 1981 that involved saving data on a tape recorder, but I think that doesn't count anymore. And I got computers merit badge in 1978...
  • I was willing, and it's a good thing, to take my time and buy the hardware one piece at a time, used, from guys in polo shirts buttoned all the way to the top.
I bit off almost more than I could chew. Bought an empty case. Bought a motherboard. Put the motherboard in the case, loaded it with used RAM, took the motherboard back because it didn't work, put in another motherboard, put in the old hard drive...and discovered it was dead. Bought a used hard drive. Fought with the used hard drive for 5 agonizing days before I figured out it was dead. Exchanged the new used hard drive (80 Gigabytes, $15) and put it in. Then installed an old version of XP (with a missing product key) and finally got it to work. Now I have 30 days...soon to be 29, to find the product key before I have to start all over again with the software. I'm not worried. I have, as they say, a plan. you know why I've been quiet. And now you know I'm back.
Soon I will finish Sexton Sand. I promise.  Unless I miss my will be within 29 days.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oh you clever sumdebitch...I can't get you, but I'll win

I want to get back to writing. Believe me (or better yet...doubt me and buy one of my books from, I'm a better writer than I am a computer technician. I'm no slouch when it comes to computers, but sometimes even the best of us get a chunk of our Fruit o' The Looms bitten off by a virus.
   I mentioned (several times, if memory serves) that my old Compaq running Windows 98 finally bit the dust. Unfortunately, when the motherboard finally gave up the ghost a month or so ago it took the hard drive out with it. I liked that hard drive. It was 130 gigs and worked well, even with my souped up Windows 98.
   My mom and stepfather sent me one of their old computers and I love it. It's runnning Windows 2000 Professional and I dutifully loaded Service Pack 4 on it, bringing it handily into the realm of "Running Everything I need And Then Some".
   The only hangup (literally in some cases. I use free dialup internet) was that I couldn't install antivirus. Everytime I started to get the files cooking, the antivirus shut down.
   Know what that means? ...Virus.
   The only problem I have in running old software is that updates are hard to come by. This includes fixes for viruses. They're out there, but you have to be able to root around the nether regions of the internet to find them. I'm no stranger to the netherworld of the etherworld.
   Then the light came on. One of those stunning moments of revelation where one is faced with the choice between getting really, major-league pissed off at the cretins who create viruses or slapping one's own forehead and proceeding to fix the problem. I chose, as always, the latter.
   You see, I figure it takes a special kind of moron (Yes, I'm proudly a special kind of moron) to use his jump drives to transfer files between an old laptop that hasn't had virus updates installed since 2006...and the new computer he just got. Took me until a couple of hours ago to figure out the reason I haven't been able to restore Windows 2000 Professional to the desktop is...I'm using infected media to do the job.
   The clever sumdebitch won't win. This laptop will spend the rest of the night downloading the megabytes of virus updates. Then I'll scan the system, make it clean, and go back to re-installing Windows 2000 Professional (I have the files I need to do it...on a currently infected jump drive) and get on with what I really want to do: write books.
   Ahhh... I feel better now. Knowing I have the solution to the problem always makes me feel better, even before I implement it.
       By the me a favor and entertain yourself: buy a David J. Steele book or 3, or 4 or 5.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Full speed ahead!

One theory I've read about the Titanic is that if the ship had not attempted to steer around the iceberg, it would not have sunk. It wouldn't have been pretty, but the tremendous rip along her outer hull would never have happened and most of the crew and passengers would have been rescued.
That's an allegory for where I am with Sexton Sand.
As I've mentioned before, I don't outline my books. I like to keep spontenaiety going by having only a vague idea of where the book will take me (and hopefully you) before it ends and the next one begins.
As a result, sometimes I find myself wondering what's going to happen next. That's where "Full Speed Ahead" comes in. "Full Speed Ahead" involves sitting at the keyboard under a phrase in bold print--in this case the phrase is Chapter Sixty-eight--and staring at the blank screen below it. I find there's only one answer, and it often involves judicous use of the delete key.
I start typing. If I like what I type, I keep it. If I don't like what I type, I delete it. Sometimes I delete a lot. Sometimes I don't delete at all.
And sometimes, as you'll see below... I post the thing on a blog while I clear my head.

So, here it is--tonight's production (so far) of Chapter Sixty-eight, Sexton Sand.

Nick parked in a corner of the gravel lot as far away from the beach and the latrines as he could. He left the keys in the ignition. The car was an old Ford Taurus with more miles on it than anyone who worked on it thought it should have and he kept it only for winter days when he didn’t want to drive his newer car. If it was stolen, it would be someone else’s problem.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Another excerpt from Sexton Sand (Sexton Chronicles, vol. 4)

Raj, as King Rajahd'een of Crescens, struggles to fight the possession... 

Chapter Sixty-seven

 Raj was trapped in darkness stronger and sweeter than dream. From immeasurable moment to immeasurable moment, he could feel the grip of the demon tighten and loosen, loosen and tighten around his consciousness. It did not pulse with any sort of regularity, nor did it ebb and flow. He could find no way past it.
   Where am I?
   The question floated around him in all layers as if the words were objects rather than a conveyance of ideas. He wondered where his spirit was trapped. Was it trapped in his head, his brain, his mind, or did it lie restless in a spirit cage between paradise and the pit? Glimpses stronger than blackness—allowed or required by the demon, he could not be sure—showed him he was physically with Tom and John and Andy. He wanted desperately to ask their help in this...but could not break through.
   Where are they taking me? He wondered. The demon gave no answer. Silence. Surrounded by silence as thick as the darkness that held him. There was no sense of the physical. Is this death? Was death naught but the cessation of the physical, leaving the mind to fold in on itself until finally fatigued beyond all sanity it swirled in useless circles like sand caught in the dry wind of the desert?
   He roared with his mind, half expecting to hear hollow echo, but of course there was none. How could there be an echo in a void where there was nothing from which to bounce sound? Indeed, how could there be sound in a void?
   Fringes of panic tickled him like invisible fingers. He squelched the feeling. Centered himself. Paused...
   Something did not make sense. Did not add up as his American friends might say. The link. It was possible for the demon to kill him, but if it had...
   If I am dead, my body is dead as well. If my body is dead, the demon would have nothing to possess. The silver cord remains. I am connected to my body. This is a false darkness. This touchless blackness is a curtain rather than a wall or a void. I am capable of movement. I must be capable of movement. How? What must I do?
   He decided to begin with his extremities: fingers and toes. The concentration was easy, but sensation was difficult. It was as if he was trying to move someone else’s arm by the power of his imagination. Time was meaningless in his present state. He had no frame of reference for it to know whether it passed or whether he was outside its reach.
   Finally he felt something. As if he was sliding his fingers into a glove—as he had done only in Sexton—he slipped his imagined fingers into his real fingers. Moved the index finger on his right hand. Raise it. Lowered it. Again.
   Andy was only half awake as the light of dawn started to turn to the long planes of sunrise slanting in through the crack under the door when he saw Rajahd’een’s finger move. He cocked his head to the side, staring. The guy didn’t move his hand, arm, or head. Just raised the one finger and let it fall. He glanced at John and saw he was asleep. A glance at Tom and he was pretty sure Tom was asleep too. Moved his gaze back to Rajahd’een. The hand was still again, resting on his leg. I probably imagined that, he thought. He hoped he did. John didn’t seem to mind punching Raj in the jaw to knock his body out, but it wasn’t on Andy’s list in his head entitled: Things I’d Like To Do Today. Possessed by a demon or not, Andy didn’t like the idea of punching a good guy. On the other hand, the demon who was the king of the country—the country that took him prisoner, thank you very much—was not completely out of the question.
   He looked back down at Rajahd'een's hand. The index finger was in the air again. His eyes widened. He leaned forward without getting up. What’re you doing, Raj? He wondered without knowing for sure whether he was asking himself or the guy with his finger in the air. And so much for not wanting to punch anyone.
His right hand was clenched in a fist. I’ll pop ya good before I let you hurt us. He raised his left hand to push himself off the floor. Crouching on his haunches, he started to get ready to move. Another movement—caught from the corner of his eye—made him stop. Tom held up his hand. Andy looked at him and saw him shake his head. “What?” he whispered.
   “Let’s watch him for a minute,” Tom whispered. “This isn’t like the last time he woke up.” He grinned. “...But stay ready.”
   STOP THIS IMMEDIATELY! The demon roared through the void fully awake and in firm control once again. With a spasm of the soul more than the mind, all sensation left Raj and swept him away from touch...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Now I'm back in the chair, writing Sexton Sand

If you read books about writing (a bad habit I gave up quite a while ago), you're bound to come across chapters about how hard it is to produce because of the distractions of life. It's true, I suppose.
   Belay that. Distractions are an excuse. I know it, and so do most (I'd wager) of the people who claim they can't find time to write. Having said that, I'll say it's been too long since I last wrote new material. Ralph the Muse wasn't happy about that, and given some of the heat I've gotten from friends who are waiting for my next book, Ralph isn't the only one not happy.
  Well, I am happy to report that I'm now back in the chair. A fresh chapter of Sexton Sand is now finished. It came easily once I put my ass in the chair and set my fingers into motion.
   Sure, I've had a couple of sizable distractions like:
  • blowing up my antiquated computer
  • constructing a new computer from used parts
  • learning, after completely building a system...that my hard drive was a casualty of the light-smoke-odor show that was the demise of my vintage 1998 Compaq Presario
  • A little thing called "Income Tax Returns"
  • and, certainly not least, illegible handwriting...
But now friends, neighbors, fellow writers, and most importantly...readers, I'm pleased to say I'm ready to re-instate my discipline. I'm back to following Steele's Law which is:
1,500 words a day minimum new material per day 
No excuses. No vacation. No time off for bad behavior.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Article about Sexton Chronicles from Vassar Pioneer Times, March 30, 2011

Vassar Resident Pens Fantasy World Novels--by Megan Decker, Vassar Pioneer Times
VASSAR--After several years of typing manuscripts, David Steele began publishing volumes in the "Sexton Chronicles" last year.
   Steele, originally from Kalamazoo, began writing his first Sexton manuscript as a student at Eureka College in Illinois.
   "My fraternity brothers got used to the sound of my typewriter at all hours of the day and night," Steele said. "It was a cheap electric typewriter and for some reason I still don't understand, the 'g' stopped working. It became a great exercise--writing without a 'g'.
   "The first novel sat ignored for more than 20 years," Steele went on to say. "When I looked at it after that time, I decided it should stay buried. The idea for the series remained, however, and I wrote Sexton a couple of years ago."
   During his college years, Steele became inspired to write his manuscripts after meeting with authors Terry Brooks, Stephen R. Donaldson, and Clive Cussler.
   "Inspiration came by accident," Steele said. "The stories I wrote at the time were set in a world called Sexton, but I had a habit of including images and thoughts for the characters that had a distinctly American tint. Clive (Cussler) pointed that out several times, usually by drawing a thick black line through the text I had just written. Finally, in exasperation, I created characters who came from America to the world of Sexton. I liked the freedom it allowed me as a writer and Clive enjoyed the storyline.
   "All three of those authors told me I could write. I'm very grateful for their encouragement," Steele added.
   Although Steele's inspiration for the Sexton Chronicles came much later in life, his passion for writing began as a young boy, he said.
    "I've always been interested in writing," Steele said. "I wrote my first short story in third grade and I've been writing ever since.
   "I like to write for the same reason I like to read: to see what happens next. I like to go for a ride and I don't enjoy it if I know every twist and turn of the road."
   Steele was first introduced to the Vassar community when he worked as an executive for the Boy Scouts. He swerved the local area from 1988-1991.
   "I loved Vassar from the first time I saw it," Steele said. "The people I met were great; I like the look and feel of the town and the proximity to Saginaw and Flint."
   Steele's wife Tanya is originally from Vassar and currently teaches at the high school. The two met while serving as camp staff. The Steeles lived in Chicago, Wisconsin and Ohio before moving back to Vassar in 2005. It was at that time that Steele decided to focus on his writing career.
   "I got ill in 2005 and decided to leave the Boy Scouts to pursue a writing career. It seemed only fair and natural to move back to Tanya's hometown," Steele said. "I'm glad we did. I love it here."
   Steele describes the Sexton Chronicles as fantasies. The novels feature three Americans in a world of swords and sorcery. 
   "My favorite feedback comes from people who don't read fantasy," Steele said. "They like the novels because they can identify easily with the American characters.
   "I enjoy writing about American characters in a medieval world. One of them invents fried chicken, donuts, and gunpowder, for example. Their perspective is very different from the perspectives of the other characters, which works both for and against them."
   Steele published five novels in 2010: Sexton, Sexton Spice, Storm Clouds Over Sexton, Green Goblin, which is a true story of Steele's illness and recovery from Wernicke's Disease, and Just for Fun: A Little Sexton and Some Other Stuff.
   The novels may be purchased from several online retailers including, Barnes and Noble's website at, or (and the author prefers this) in paperback or hardcover from The costs are approximately $20 for the paperback and hard-cover editions, and range from $2.99 to $6.99 for Kindle, Nook, and other electronic editions.
   "I published Sexton, the first in the series in July 2010," Steele said. "Self-publishing wasn't an easy decision, but I decided I had waited long enough. The economy has hit traditional publishing hard.
   "I decided not to wait for the economy to improve before doing something with my books. My wife, a great source of encouragement and always my biggest fan, strongly suggested I do something with my work. I had a stack nearly two feet high and completed drafts of three novels. It was time."
  Steele hopes to finish writing the fourth novel in the Sexton Chronicles series, Sexton Sand, in coming weeks. He also has plans to launch a second series about an American wizard named Nick Galizzi. This series will also tie in closely with the Sexton Chronicles, he said.
   To learn more about Steele's latest works, individuals may visit his online blog at

The wrong, but effective, way to learn computer repair

I'm a language guy. I've always been a language guy. Test scores and aptitude tests never vary when it comes to my language ability--highest marks every time.

Those same aptitude tests agree on one more thing as well, and it's funny because it's true: mathematically (I call it math-e-magic), and mechanically, I am in the wording of most of those tests: "IMPAIRED." I'm the wrong guy to ask to put the chain back on the bicycle, the wrong guy to ask for help changing your tire, and unless you have tape rolling for America's Funniest Home Videos...I'm the wrong guy to put in a new light fixture.

Having said that truth and saying it with a grin on my face of the bashed unabashed, I can say... I've been building a computer. Not by choice, really, but I'm having fun with it. I have experience with putting computers together because I've blown several of them up over the years.

Computers aren't like other machines. They work more like language, at least in this writer's opinion. There isn't much mechanical about a computer. Very few moving parts. There are connectors that go from one thing to another thing and if they're not hooked up, the computer doesn't spit, sputter, putter or hiss (usually.) And if it does spit, sputter, putter, or hiss, one only needs to yank the plug out and pick one's eyebrows off the ceiling.

I worked for a long time for the Boy Scouts of America, back in the day when if you didn't get a technician to donate his or her time, you were the computer guy if you weren't afraid to take the lid off the box and tinker a bit. The first computer I bought had a grounded plug (they all do) but my apartment had only 2-wire outlets. Undaunted and cocky as hell, I lopped the offending 3-prong plug off and used Scotch tape to tape the wires together on the extension cord I cut off so I could plug the computer into the wall.

I don't recommend that to my friends. It's neither safe nor pretty.

Over the years I've had to replace hard drives and install memory chips, take out floppy drives and put in new floppy drives. Never knowing exactly what I was doing...just getting stubborn about it and not giving up until the damn thing did what it was supposed to do.

So, when my old Compaq (purchased in 1999) running a super-tricked out version of Windows 98 died three weeks ago, I bought a new case. Took the old mother board (the thing in the box into which all the other stuff plugs) and fired the machine up. Got nowhere. Got a used mother board and hooked it up. Got nowhere. Took the whole kit and kaboodle (a highly technical term) back to the computer repair shop and the owner stuck another used mother board in there and got it to Safe mode.

Long story short, I got all my hardware into the machine...but couldn't get past safe mode. The reason was simple and easily denied. I did not want to believe I blew the hard drive up. I did blow it up, as I came to realize eventually. Dead. The data wasn't lost. I didn't fall of f the potato truck yesterday, ya know. Safe mode allowed me to copy all my books, book covers, drafts, ideas, etc. onto a jump drive. Therefore, I still have all the important stuff.

My folks have sent me a computer they're no longer using. I'll be able to get that one running and use that hard drive in the case with the motherboard I just bought (I'll find a way) and reload all the stuff I saved to the Sacred Jump Drive I have named "Ralph" in honor of the muse who helped me create it.

And then, my friends, I'll be able to finish Sexton Sand.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Computer chewing foil.

I haven't posted here for a while, but I thought I'd let you know I still have a pulse and am chomping at the bit to finish Sexton Sand. I'm desperate enough that I actually used my fountain pen and scratched out a new chapter last night on...what do you call that stuff? Oh. Yes. ...Paper. The deal is that I'm not going to buy a new computer until I can pay cash for it. My wife and I are following the advice of that finance guru dude (one of us willingly, the other dragged kicking and screaming. Yes, I can type while kicking and screaming.) What I've been able to do one kicking, screaming step at a time is replace parts of the computer and do my own work on the computer. Unfortunately, one thing has led to another thing and here's what I've had to do: 1. Went to buy a new power supply...and discovered it was cheaper to buy a new case with power supply than to buy just the power supply. 2. Transferred the hardware to the new case 3. Discovered the motherboard was bad on the old computer (a Compaq from 1998) 4. Replaced the motherboard with a newer, but used motherboard with a Pentium 4 processor. 5. Needed to reinstall Windows, but don't have a copy of Windows because it always came with the computer. Restore CD's don't work when you add 100% new hardware. 6. Played around with different, free operating systems: ReactOS and Ubuntu...only to discover that you need to be in Windows to install them. 7. Last night I found that I am still in possession of the original hard drive from ye olde Compaq...and will now boot the old hard drive in the old machine, copy all the files to the new hard drive, remove the old 1 gig hard drive and commence adding all the bells and whistles I painstakingly downloaded and installed--like drivers for flash drives, DVD Drive, etc. 8. Enjoy the new machine. In case you're wondering...sure I would love to waltz into an electronics store and purchase a new computer. I'll do it someday soon. You know what will make that happen? You can help, easily and enjoyably... a book or two. Just click on the books on this page and your computer will take you to where you can do that.