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Help transferring files from 1998 PC running Windows 98
Old 06-24-2015, 06:15 AM   #1
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Help transferring files from 1998 PC running Windows 98

I have a 1998 Dell T500 with Windows 98, that contains many valuable files (photos, docs, and old Quicken files) that I would like to extract. It still boots up, but it hasn't been connected to the Internet for at least 10 years...probably wouldn't work with my router, and would likely explode on contact with today's browsers.

When I bought a new PC (in 2008) I tried plugging a thumb drive into the old machine's USB port, but it didn't recognize the driver. Also, I had some Zip drives, that I'd bought for Y2K, which work on the old machine...but wouldn't work on the 2008 PC. So at that point, I put the old machine on a shelf and forgot about it.

I'm cleaning house, and would like to get rid of this 1998 PC, but it's still got those great files on it.

I've asked for advice the Dell forum and other "geeky" forums and gotten vague responses e.g. "buy an external hard drive that fits both computers." I don't know how to search to buy a drive or cable that connects W98 to a modern OS - it's not exactly an advertised feature :-)

So I come to my smart yet plain-spoken pals on the ER Forum: Do you have any notion how I can retrieve my old files?

Thanks,

Amethyst
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:32 AM   #2
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If it were me, I would consider buying a USB 2.0 to SATA + IDE (2.5 / 3.5 / 5.25") Cable Adapter such as this: Amazon.com: USB 2.0 to SATA + IDE (2.5 / 3.5 / 5.25") Cable Adapter: Computers & Accessories for about $10.

I would then remove the old hard drive from the old computer and use the adapter cable to temporarily connect the old hard drive to the new computer.

With a bit of luck, you should be able to easily view the files on your new computer.

The trickiest part may be connecting the hard drive to the adapter cable if you have not done that before, but I am sure the ER board can assist.

The strategy in use here is that you are not relying on the old computer (hardware or software) to do anything. It is all done with the new PC and the new adapter cable.

Once I purchased one of these cables I have had much better results with reading drives on different computers.

I would recommend against buying an external USB box to place the old hard drive into (in lieu of the cable). I have had much more mixed results with the external boxes before I came across the adapter cable.

-gauss
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:40 AM   #3
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Does it have a CD drive? You could burn the files onto CDs and read the CDs into your current PC.
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:47 AM   #4
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I'm not sure by reading your post if you have tried connecting to the Internet or you assume that it would not work. Actually I see no reason that it wouldn't .

You would need to connect the Ethernet port at the back of your computer to your router. Then I would assume that Internet Explorer is loaded on ur 1998 PC. Then start the browser and use gmail to email the pics to yourself.


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Old 06-24-2015, 06:49 AM   #5
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+1 to what gauss said. I recently had to do that to copy disks from an old PC which would no longer boot.

But my old PC had a Western Digital Enhanced IDE (EIDE) interface which is incompatible with a lot of these hard drive docking stations. I'm not sure if my drive would be compatible with the cable that gauss mentions, but I did find this one that worked fine: Amazon.com: StarTech.com USB to SATA IDE Hard Drive Docking Station for 2.5in or 3.5in Hard Drive / HDD Dock: Electronics
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgonig View Post
I'm not sure by reading your post if you have tried connecting to the Internet or you assume that it would not work. Actually I see no reason that it wouldn't .

You would need to connect the Ethernet port at the back of your computer to your router. Then I would assume that Internet Explorer is loaded on ur 1998 PC. Then start the browser and use gmail to email the pics to yourself.


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If you decide to try going this route, I would consider downloading a version of Firefox that works with W98 such as those available here available here or available here.

This would be much more likely to play well with gmail compared to the IE version on your W98 machine.

-gauss
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:12 AM   #7
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I knew you folks would come up with specifics! Please keep the ideas coming.

I don't have a CD burner for the old machine, unfortunately. I should have purchased one at the time, but I was extremely ignorant about computers back then. Now I'm only moderately ignorant, LOL.

Any tips for removing the hard drive without accidentally harming it?

Amethyst
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I knew you folks would come up with specifics! Please keep the ideas coming.

I don't have a CD burner for the old machine, unfortunately. I should have purchased one at the time, but I was extremely ignorant about computers back then. Now I'm only moderately ignorant, LOL.

Any tips for removing the hard drive without accidentally harming it?

Amethyst
Let the service documentation be your guide.

I believe that for your PC it is available on this page under manuals. If this is the incorrect model, you should be able to type in your service code printed on the Dell somewhere to find the appropriate page..


Specific suggestions:

Try to ensure that you don't work on it in a very low humidity environment where you would get static shocks walking across the floor.

Carefully wiggle the electrical connectors back and forth on the drive until they come loose.

Most of the electrical connectors only go in one way. Most of the time they will be mechanically keyed to only fit in the proper way although it may be subtle on some connectors (ie the long skinnny 2 row rectangular IDE connector) Look carefully to ensure that you don't try to insert them backwards and damage a pin.

-gauss
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:33 AM   #9
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I would try hooking the old PC up to my router and transfer the files through Dropbox or some other online file storage route. If you didn't do anything else it seems like the odds of being compromised are minimal. If that didn't work, I would pull the HD and try plugging it into my enclosure (per what Gauss described).
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:34 AM   #10
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Many people still use windows 98, I still have a PC with Win98 as well as ones with OS/2, DOS/Win3.1 and other OSs.

I still use floppies on the old PCs, Win98 did not come with mass storage drivers for USB but you can download one and install it, then the USB flash drive will work ( or an external USB HD ) I use them on windows 98 without issues.

Windows 98 USB Mass Storage Device Drivers

The IDE/SATA conversion cable are also very useful, work well. I use those a lot when working with older PCs.

HD typically has 4 screws holding in the chassis, very easy to remove. Dell has manuals online. If this is the correct T500 ( XPS ), http://downloads.dell.com/Manuals/al...nual_en-us.pdf

Old machines are also becoming collectible and maybe worth some $$$, especially if it is a complete system.
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:08 AM   #11
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I did not know that. It has the original bulky monitor, but I replaced the mouse/keyboard along the way. I tend to wear the letters off the keys and then I get n amd m nixed up, and have to remember Woody Allen's pronunciation guide to the QUERTY keyboard...

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Many people still use windows 98...Old machines are also becoming collectible and maybe worth some $$$, especially if it is a complete system.
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How to download?
Old 06-24-2015, 09:47 AM   #12
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How to download?

OK, now I am wondering: If my old machine is having trouble accessing the Web via the ancient browser that's on it (I think it's Netscape!) how should I go about downloading a browser?

Thanks,

Amethyst

Quote:
Originally Posted by gauss View Post
If you decide to try going this route, I would consider downloading a version of Firefox that works with W98 such as those available here available here or available here.

This would be much more likely to play well with gmail compared to the IE version on your W98 machine.

-gauss
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Old 06-24-2015, 10:17 AM   #13
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My approach would be to find thumbdrive drivers for the old machine, or Zip disk drivers for the new machine: no spending required.
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Old 06-24-2015, 10:32 AM   #14
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get one of these Rosewill RX35-AT-IU BLK - Aluminum 3.5" Black IDE USB 2.0 External Enclosure - Newegg.com


take your hd out of the dell
put the hd into the enclosure
plug it in and you're good to go
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Old 06-24-2015, 11:44 AM   #15
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You may want to check your local library. Ours has PCs that still use 3.5" floppy disks and connect to the internet. See if you can bring your Zip drive and plug into the library PCs to do the transferring of data. If you have a 3.5" drive and disks, you could do it this way too. You're probably using parallel and serial ports for external connections, no USB. Good luck.
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Old 06-24-2015, 11:59 AM   #16
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OK, now I am wondering: If my old machine is having trouble accessing the Web via the ancient browser that's on it (I think it's Netscape!) how should I go about downloading a browser?

Thanks,

Amethyst
You can just download them from the link gauss provided. Here's one for opera

Old Version of Opera for Windows 98 Download - OldApps.com

You can connect to the internet fine ( browsers are not the internet ). The problem with older browsers is they will not understand the newer HTML programming and features. The last opera releas for W98 was in 2009 so it's not too old.

But again if you just want to transfer the files, install the USB mass storage driver on W98, then your flash drive will be recognized. You don't have to buy anything.
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:02 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by rbmrtn View Post
Many people still use windows 98, I still have a PC with Win98 as well as ones with OS/2, DOS/Win3.1 and other OSs.
Win98 would be in the "other" slice...
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Old 06-24-2015, 03:36 PM   #18
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I should mention that although I still have a few floppies and zip discs, the library computers only accept CD s. It was the first thing I tried.

I'm still unclear on how to connect the old machine to the Internet. It's not going to know what to do if I plug the router into it, is it? No doubt I am missing a key bit of computer knowledge, here.
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Old 06-24-2015, 03:45 PM   #19
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Well, I tried plugging in the router,but the connector does not fit.
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Old 06-24-2015, 03:53 PM   #20
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You know that you can take the machine to a computer store that would transfer the files for you.... for a fee of course...
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