how do you image very old dos machines

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by ehall, Dec 21, 2006.

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  1. ehall

    ehall Registered Member

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    My mom has a couple of very old DOS machines that she uses for some greek text programs (abandonware). I offered to suck the drives into VMware workstation on her current PC, and am planning to use TI to get the disk images to a place where I can restore them into the virtual machines.

    The only problem is that I'm not sure how I can take the images. One of the machines is a Toshiba T4850CT laptop, and the other is an IBM PS/2E e-machine. Neither of them have CD drives, USB, networking, ... there's basically nothing but PCMCIA slots on either of them.

    One option would be to pull out the hard drives and stick them into newer machines but I'm not real sure that will work--they may use weird EIDE drives or something.

    I've got a Linksys PCMCIA ethernet card and another Linksys PCMCIA wireless card here, which I assume TI will support (does it?) but that doesn't solve the problem of getting TI running in the first place (no CDROM, no USB, ...).

    Any ideas?
     
  2. werne

    werne Registered Member

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    Your best bet is to pull the drives out. IDE is IDE (i.e., the connectors should be standard, I said should be as you never know but it wouldn't hurt to take a quick peek to find out). However, you may have problems with the master/slave relationships of the hard drives due to their age (even if you get the jumpers right some drives will not work together period). If the jumper settings aren't on the hard drives you will probably have to go to their manufacturer's Web site to get them. Also try cable select if all else fails (remember you need the 80 pin cable plus you still have to know the jumper settings). Install Acronis TI on your master hard drive and then image the other older one to a partiton on the master drive or better yet to another hard drive either IDE or SATA. Another option is to get an IDE to USB converter cable and try to access the old drive through USB on your computer. If, I was wrong about the connectors being standard then your most likely solution is to ask for a special IDE cable from the manufacturer. If that doesn't work, then go to the Manufacturers Web site and see if they have the pin assignments for the connections. Many computer/electronic stores make custom cables if you have that info. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2006
  3. werne

    werne Registered Member

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    If you cannot find the manufacturer's Web site (or if the Web site doesn't have the jumper info for your drive) then you have the unenviable task of trying different jumper combinations and trying each one out. It shouldn't hurt anything, you just won't see one or both drives upon bootup.
     
  4. GroomLake

    GroomLake Registered Member

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    Does the old machines have access to the internet? If so back them up on a backup site then load them down to you machine. You could have a data recovery joint capture the data. What do you think?
     
  5. adol7

    adol7 Registered Member

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    Does the old laptop have a floppy drive? It looks like Acronis Media Builder allows a floppy drive as a bootable option. Unless laptop drives were different back then, most still use 2.5" drives versus the 3.5" desktop drives. So, to pull the drive out, you'd need a 2.5" to 3.5" IDE adapter.
     
  6. ehall

    ehall Registered Member

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    More info... I can't remove the drive in the PS/2E because the case has a lock (which is locked of course). I was able to pry the cover loose enough to see the drive and it appears to be a laptop drive.

    Both boxes have Win 3.1. One of them has MS-DOS 6.22 and the other has IBM PC-DOS 7.0.

    The diskette based TI rescue media needs 9 floppies for the network agent, and 12 floppies for the full workstation boot client. This might actually be viable if I can get a PCMCIA network card to work; does anybody know which are supported (if any)?

    The two systems have PCMCIA modems so I might be able to dial-up and do a backup to an Internet site.

    The best option at this point might be to find something like laplink and copy the filesystem over a parallel port link if possible.
     
  7. werne

    werne Registered Member

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    The problem with the floppies (as awkward as it will be with that many) is where are you going to put the .tib file that is generated? The hard drives may only have one partition (C Drive) and I wouldn't recommend that at all. Even if you have enough room to write a .tib file the mere writing of such a large file on these old systems could cause problems (like never boot again). Then, of course, you've got to get that file somewhere else (laplink would be acceptable then). Good luck with the dial-up; it will be so slow as to drive you nuts even if you could connect to an internet site. Other than a vulcan mind meld, the only way I can see getting the data off those machines in a reasonable amount of time is directly from the hard drives in another machine. If you are not going to use these machines anymore, then of course you could use a little elbow grease and cut/pound/etc the cases to get them opened, hopefully without causing enough vibration to cause damage to the hard drives.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2006
  8. ehall

    ehall Registered Member

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    If PCMCIA network cards are supported (media builder says PC Card support but there's no mention of what), I would write the image to a local network share

    I found ghost 2003 which has a single-floppy with parallel support, but it may not work with these old systems. I'll be giving that a try over the weekend. If that doesn't work I'll look into ripping the drives out and putting them into my D600 laptop.
     
  9. ehall

    ehall Registered Member

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    Just as followup, Staples has bi-directional parallel (laplink) cables for cheap and they seem to work for this stuff. I was able to Ghost the laptop over that link, and it's running as a VM now. I was not able to Ghost the PS/2-E box; the software complained that DPMI was not available, which I suspect is related to the fact that the system has less than 4MB of RAM.

    I'm going to assume that the Acronis boot image won't fit in less-than-4MB memory footprint either, and that I will have to go with something like DOS laplink for the PS/2 e-machine.

    ps--DOS from 6.x forward includes Microsoft's interlnk.exe which provides PC-to-PC transfers. Just had to make a boot floppy, boot the PS/2-E into "server" mode, and then boot another (modern) PC into client mode. Once the files were copied over I was able to reboot the modern PC into XP and move them to the VM.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2006
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