How Xcopy 340MB hd and put in VM in XP ?

June 29, 2011 at 11:45:33
Specs: MS-DOS
A friend of mine has an old 386 with a proprietary accounting system from a company that is now defunct. She has kept her accounts on this computer for 12+ years and really, really doesn't want to change. When her old mb died, I was able to move it to another 386 she had on hand, but we'd like to find a way to copy the hard drive and move the system and program to a more modern system (and reduce the number of computers in her office). It may only be a matter of time before this hd goes south.

I figure I can xcopy the hd to a comparable hd, then use that to transfer into a virtual machine on XP--but I've never done anything like that before. I don't want to mess with the original hd and take a chance of losing her stuff, hence wanting to make a copy.

If there's some other way to accomplish the task, I'm open.

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June 29, 2011 at 13:10:58
You need to CLONE the drive so the MBR is carried over, several Windows Software are available to undertake this, like Easeus DiskCopy. Ensure you do not exceed 2GB FAT16 partition..

Put the new cloned hard drive in new PC and it should boot, if the drive is set to first boot device.

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June 29, 2011 at 13:37:28
I use Easeus all the time. It would be great if I can do that. I was thinking I might need to xcopy /s the original hd to a second hd first, then use the second hd to clone...I wouldn't need to do that if I had some certainty that hooking the original hd up to my computer via my IDE to USB adapter would not cause harm to the original hd. I don't know why I'm thinking it would, but ???

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June 29, 2011 at 15:06:13
Is the software DOS or Windows - 12 years = 1999? DOS can be just copied or XCOPY using any media. Try copying and installing in a newer computer.

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June 29, 2011 at 16:18:26
It's DOS software. (My friend actually has all the original 5.5" floppies, but God only knows if we'd ever get a good install from them--all 75+). That's why it's imperative that I manage to pull this off for her from the hd.

The 12 years is how long she's been using it. She bought the computer used from the railroad company here, with their software loaded. They were upgrading their system and going to different software. She loves this program because it's simple and doesn't have a fancy GUI to muck about.

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June 29, 2011 at 16:54:48
"My friend actually has all the original 5.5" floppies, but God only knows if we'd ever get a good install from them--all 75+"

If the floppies are 12 years old, then you can just about bet you won't.

Does the "old" and "new" machines have 3.5" floppies? If so, you may be able to PKZip the files across a set of a few floppies (assuming they compress well) and unzip them on the new machine. Guess it would depend on how much data you're talking about...

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

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June 29, 2011 at 22:37:08
Too much data for floppies, I'm afraid.

Here's what I'm wondering at this point: Is it safe to attach the hd to my computer via an IDE to USB adapter and create an image of the hd? I could use that image to load into my VM. Also, what would I use to create the image? I have Ghost 14.0 and Easeus. Ghost creates the image in DOS, so I'm thinking it might be more compatible--not sure how Easeus does theirs.

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June 30, 2011 at 00:51:01
Never too much data for floppies. Just time consuming. Less than 400 1.44 floppies.
I would make a first try making a system straight DOS using a smaller HD. What portion of the 340MB is programs and what is 12 years of old data?

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June 30, 2011 at 06:02:33

I didn't write it down, but it's probably not much, as it's all just numerical entries in an accounting program. I've got to get back over there today and see what's what in that regard.

She has a couple old computers lying around that probably have similar HDs. I may pull one of those out and see what I can do with it. I'm thinking of buying a "new" old drive to make a backup copy for her to stick away.

Her original mb died due to dust. I'm hopeful, since the second machine is clean, that I have more life in this one...but that original HD is running on borrowed time.

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June 30, 2011 at 11:11:40
I suggested cloning one hard drive to another, as Easeus DiskCopy can create a bootable CD, the hard drive is not booting. All DiskCopy does is make a Clone !

There is no reason, if the CLONING is successful, that the new drive would not be bootable.

Surely you have a PC which you can temp. attach two ide drives and a cd drive just for cloning purposes ?

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June 30, 2011 at 22:03:48
Oops, how'd that happen.

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June 30, 2011 at 22:06:14
What version of dos? Earlier versions couldn't work with 2 gig fat16 partitions.

I think, as already mentioned, you need to clone the drive. If you screw around and connect it to a USB adapter and try to image it to a VM, SOMETHING will go wrong. Then get an old P-I at goodwill or a garage and connect it there.

Be sure to get its drive type (if it's configured that way) from the 386's bios setup before you remove the drive.

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July 1, 2011 at 13:01:06
Thank you for all the suggestions.

I'm going to use Ghost to clone the hd and work from there...we'll see how it goes.

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July 2, 2011 at 01:08:12
Ghost should do what you require, but bear in mind dos may have size limitations if a large new hdd is used.

I would consider using a dos os only pentium or 486 pc.

Install the old disc as a slave and xcopy across the info you require.

Alternatively Laplink could be used if you do not want to move the old disc.

It might be possible to run the accounts system under windows, but maybe not, as sometimes they are just not forward compatible enough.

Review security arrangements (maybe to an external hdd) and test they work for writing *AND* reading afterwards.

I would attempt copying the old installation discs to 3.5" ones (maybe 2 sets), just in case they are needed in the future.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

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