I appreciated Ray's comments albeit not what I wanted to hear.

My CNC interests are simple I just want to control a couple of steppers I have installed on a small metal lathe. If I can get that going I will start to think more complicated thoughts - but not yet.

It is difficult to sort stuff when my own expertise is superficial. I have asked questions in the past and taken advice including to invest in TOPCNC which I now know was not good advice. There is no support.

But I have continued to try to get my head around Mach3 and after interruptions caused by "life" have been able to get stuck in again. I have learned enough from this forum to know that the more you spend on gear the more likely you are to get a good outcome. I now have another computer with a parallel port (the last one died) and a good board to have another go. I have the wizard operating in simulation but am yet to get the motors to turn.

The most helpful advice I have had in this journey was provided by Franco's videos illustrating what a CNC lathe can do. He has recently advised me to think about Acorn. So I did. I had never heard of it before. I was impressed by what I saw. At the moment I am 50/50. If I can get Mach 3 to run I will then have to make a decision about purchasing a licence so I can use the rest of the Wizard software or investing in Acorn.

Sometimes I think that people as old as me and as inexperience in CNC would be better off just purchasing some new slippers and learning to smoke a pipe to watch the sunset. Problem is that this stuff is like a drug and will not let go off me.