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Getting 20yo disk to work in modern computer

Discussion in 'DOS/Other' started by leachim, Jan 21, 2011.

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  1. leachim

    leachim Thread Starter

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    I have a dilema where a client wants a 20 year old disk with a dos program to work in a modern computer,

    They have an old accounts package that works with dos on a 300 mb disk. They have decided to keep the dos program going on a new system with sata drive. There are no installation disks.

    What I have done is cloned the old FAT drive with Acronis and restored it to a sata drive, but it won't boot like it did in the old computer - just a blinking curser.

    Is there something in the bios I need to change ?
     
  2. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    Try VirtualPC or VirtualBox.
     
  3. leachim

    leachim Thread Starter

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    Thanks - how does it work - I have a new barebones pc with SATA drive and without an os

    Just want the dos program to run when you switch on the computer, like it did on the old system which was about 15-20 years old.

    Does Virtualbox need a windows OS to be on there first ?

    Just want to keep it simple !
     
  4. leachim

    leachim Thread Starter

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    Just seen on the old computer, that if you type W on the dos screen of the dos accounts program - Wins 3.11 comes up

    Dont know if this info is of any use ?!
     
  5. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    I don't see any way to get the computer to boot to DOS on a new system with a SATA drive, so I'd give up on that.

    You need to install an operating system first and then install a virtualization program. Then you install DOS or Windows 3.11 as a virtual guest system.
     
  6. PedroHin

    PedroHin

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    The way I have done this in the past is to get a snapshot of the entire drive using Ghost or Acronis -- either one you use, you want to have the Physical CD or an ISO of that application's rescue CD.

    Build your virtual PC, add a hard drive.

    Boot the Virutal PC environment from the rescue CD (shared CD or ISO), and perform a restore. The Windows 3.xx will have trouble running in the virtual PC unless you want to play with video drivers and such, but the MS-Dos stuff will live forever.

    The nice part of this is that the backups will be drop-dead easy as all you have to do is copy the virtual HDD file. In your case, I don't see that being over a 200-300MB file
     
  7. leachim

    leachim Thread Starter

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    I did use Acronis to produce an image of the old disk - then transfered this image to a sata drive and put this in the new computer - it didn't boot (like it did in the 20 yo computer) - just a flashing curser.

    Not sure what you mean about a virtual pc....
     
  8. PedroHin

    PedroHin

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    Virtual PC, is a program that runs an entire other computer under the operating system you already have running.

    As a brief overview. Imagine being in Windows, and clicking on an icon on your desktop and watching another PC start up in it's own program window.

    There are a few free 'Virtual PC' type applications which allow you to run an entire PC environment under another PC environment. Microsoft has one free for download and use on WIndows XP and WIndows Vista -- it's called 'MS Virtual PC 2007' . Oracle has one called 'Virutalbox'. If you are running WIndows 7 Pro or Ultimate, you can download and get XP mode running, underwhich you can run any environment you want.

    On various PCs, I am running MS-Dos, WIndows 3.11, Windows 98, Linux. -- -All under Windows XP and WIndows 7 Ultimate. I also have it set up for a few customers who have MS-Dos applications that they are not prepared to abandon.

    If you're not familiar with the concept, ...and I am not familiar with your skill level, it might be a steep hill to climb, but once it's set up, and known where things are, it's easy to maintain.
     
  9. leachim

    leachim Thread Starter

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    Seems like good advice !

    There may be one snag - the dos program uses a parellel printer - the new pc doesnt have a parellel output....

    Even if I bought a pci to parellel (or is it serial????) card, I am still not sure if it would work

    Any ideas
     
  10. PedroHin

    PedroHin

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    If you put a PCI parallel printer port card in the new PC, virtual PCs have the option of sharing the physical port with the 'guest' operating system.

    Is the customer still able to use the application on the old PC? I ask because some times it takes some time/money and how much are people willing to spend to get it working.
     
  11. leachim

    leachim Thread Starter

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    Yes, the application still runs on the old pc

    I also have a USB to Parellel adapter, but I bet it won't work because the old application won't recognise USB ?!
     
  12. PedroHin

    PedroHin

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    As long as the host operating system sees the USB to Parallel adapter as the the device named LPT1, then any calls to LPT1 from the guest operating system should be forwarded to there.

    Notice I said 'should' and not 'will'. I tend to use non-absolute terms when I am working with something like this until completion.

    Is there any way you can work this out on your own computer to make sure it works before rolling it out on the customer's PC?
     
  13. leachim

    leachim Thread Starter

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    The customer wanted a new PC to increase the longevity of this particular accounts application

    So I bought a brand new one which is being experimented on with the help of this board.

    If it doesn't work, I am left worse off ! Oh, and I will send you a bill for the opened packet of the new USB to Parellel cable adapter if you are wrong !
     
  14. PedroHin

    PedroHin

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    You should try to set the whole thing going on a spare PC you have. You can then copy the VHD (Microsoft's file extension for Virtual Hard Drive) and Virutal PC config file to the production computer.

    If you need to then update files on the VHD, there is a nice freebie called Gizmo drive which will mount the VHD and let you copy whatever files you want to it while the Virtual PC is not running.

    If you do PC-based tech support a lot, migrating legacy stuff to a virtual PC is a marketable skill worth having.

    I have used this type of setup a few times. One is a locksmith who has a keycode program that would work on nothing later than Windows ME. Another was a cemetery who kept track of their ummm 'clients' on a MS-Dos 5 based database. Another is a company who still uses PeachTree for MS-DOS. Theirs is a bit more modern as we have windows 98 runing under Virtual PC, but they can still share printers and files as if the PCs were still the old metal boxes.
     
  15. leachim

    leachim Thread Starter

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    I am not familiar with MS Virtual PC, but I have installed XP on the new machine and downloaded Virtual PC and installed.

    But I have no idea how to transfer the files from the old system to the Virtual PC so that the old system can run

    I am missing a piece of the jigsaw





     
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