So, as it has been prone to doing, my tired 486 locked up hard during an online session. After a cold boot (the usual cure), windows failed to load...couldn't find the registry. I looked for new or recently modified files on the root, etc. (and found some. User.dat and user.da0 were among these).
Scandisk says the FAT is corrupt...that's what I don't get. If the FAT is bad, how am I even getting DOS?
I used MSD to see what was running TSR, and (just poking around), noticed one with a greek name, so I used DEBUG to look at it. Among the readable text was a reference to FAT12. Now I've heard of FAT16 and FAT32, but I never heard of FAT12. Is there such a thing, or have I found a possible source of my problem?
I'm finally going to be able to justify the expense of a new system, but the old box has some stuff I need to try to recover (although I am not optimistic about my chances).