I have very old computer with DOS. I need to rescue some files, all application folder, copy it to Windows XP and try to run this application in an emulator like DOSBox.

My Windows XP installation has got the NTFS file system.

Do you think that this rescue attempt has any chance of success?

migrated from serverfault.com Jan 7 '11 at 0:07

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  • First, is the DOS box still functional, and, if so, can you figure out a media bridge (eg, 3.5" to CD-ROM) to a current box? (It would be good if you have a friend who has a 3.5" USB drive.) Installing the old hard disk on an existing box is unlikely to succeed, depending on the exact vintage/electrical interface. Likely the old drive is IDE or SCSI. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 27 '12 at 15:37

Something to try would be to yank the hard disk drive out of the DOS machine, and slave it to another Windows system, and browse for the files. You could also try booting a Linux live CD and copying to a flash drive.

  • 2
    you assume there's actually a USB port on this machine. Given that's it's running only DOS... I'd say that's unlikely :) – Michael Lowman Jan 6 '11 at 20:20
  • That's why it was a secondary suggestion. – Dan Jan 6 '11 at 20:27
  • Maybe he meant to do the steps in order: first place the drive in modern hardware and then boot with a Linux LiveCD – mfinni Jan 6 '11 at 20:34
  • I thonk You were first – user36307 Jan 6 '11 at 22:07
  • You assume that the old drive is compatible with modern boxes. Most likely it's IDE or SCSI. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 27 '12 at 15:38

Why not simply pull the drive out of the DOS machine and add it to the XP machine, from where you can do whatever you like with the files?

  • there wont be any problems with file system difference ? – user36307 Jan 6 '11 at 21:35
  • No problems. XP and even Vista and 7 are still FAT16 compatible. – TuxRug Jan 7 '11 at 1:23
  • No problem?? You think you can plug a 40-pin IDE drive into a modern motherboard? – Daniel R Hicks Jun 27 '12 at 15:42
  • @DanH, there are so many adapters available for this that it's a non-issue. Besides, if it's an XP machine the likelihood of it having an IDE connector is high. We are after all talking about a decade old OS. – John Gardeniers Jun 27 '12 at 23:00

If your files fit on a floppy, and it boots, you're OK. :)

Otherwise, you may want to grab a Linux rescue floppy (you might try looking at really old distribution releases) and a null modem cable. You can copy files over the serial link. On the Windows XP side, you'll use HyperTerminal attached to COM1 (it's under Accessories). Once you're logged in to the Linux-running old computer, you can run sz filename. You should see the file transfer to Windows.

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