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The IBM Personal Computer BASIC interpreter was introduced with the first IBM PC in 1981. This dialect was derived from Microsoft BASIC and also written by Microsoft (Bill Gates, Greg Whitten).

It consists of three upward compatible versions: Cassette, Disk and Advanced. For IBM PCjr also a Cartridge BASIC variant existed.

Cassette BASIC

The core is implemented in 32K ROM of IBM PC. It can be used with any amount of RAM and without booting to DOS. It's limited to save files only to cassettes.


This version has to be loaded by a DOS program (BASIC.COM) and requires 32K RAM. It offers serial communications port support.


It also has to be loaded by a DOS program (BASICA.COM) but requires at least 48K RAM for more advanced functionality.

In March of 1982 a compatible compiler IBM Personal Computer BASIC Compiler (BASCOM) became available.


  • 1981: C1.00 - in early IBM PC with 16k-64k planar
  • 1982: C1.10 - in later IBM PC, PC XT, PC AT and PS/2
  • 1984: C1.20 - only in PCjr
Disk & Advanced
  • 1981: 1.00
  • 1982: 1.05 - fixes to reported problems
  • 1982: 1.10
  • 1987: 3.31
  • 1988: 3.40

Last version of BASIC/BASICA was shipped included with IBM DOS 5.02 product in 1992. So it is still a part of OS/2 2.x MVDM but only usable in original form on machines with appropriate ROM e.g. IBM PS/2.

  • 1982: 1.00 - P/N: 6024003
  • 1985: 2.00 - same codebase with Microsoft QuickBasic 1.0, P/N: 6024216 (5.25"), 6280078 (3.5")


  • IBM PC Hardware Reference Library BASIC - 2nd Edition (May 1982)
  • N. Graham: Programming the IBM Personal Computer: Basic - ITP 1983, ISBN 0-03-063667-1
  • Schneider: Handbook of BASIC for the IBM Personal Computer - Prentice Hall 1984, ISBN 0-89303-506-8
  • Lien: The IBM Basic Handbook - Compusoft 1986, ISBN 0-932760-38-4
  • Goldstein: Advanced Basic for the IBM PC and Compatibles Tips and Techniques - Brady 1987, ISBN 0-13-010307-1


  • 285-224 (1985-06-18) IBM Personal Computer BASIC Compiler 2.0
  • - alternate version that also runs on clone machines