|OverThehill it is against Forum Rules to Double Post, and it is not an MS-DOS issue par-se, as the Poster has Windows XP/Vista machines, so no more relevant than NT Batch Programming in the MS-DOS Forum|
Windows 95/98 are MS-DOS based and allow Direct Port Access, Windows XP (NT5.1) & Vista (NT6.0) do not allow direct port access, therefore you need Null Modem Cable software which is for both MS-DOS and Windows XP.
Laplink may be a solution but expensive, an alternative is FastLynx which is both MS-DOS and Windows XP compatible:
Though how you are going to install files into Laptop without a Floppy is difficult..
THOUGH if you had another MS-DOS 6 PC/Laptop you could use Interlink/Interserver: