Read Old DOS Hard Drive Under WIndows XP

By gary.blenis ·
We a have a client with, believe it or not, a circa 1993 NOTESTAR 925 MS DOS machine. As the usual story goes, the floppy drive is broken (no other drives on the machine), the charger is inop and the battery is dead. Prior to learning that the unit had a broken charger and dead battery, our plan was to use DOS laplink 5 via the serial port to get the files off. Now that is not possible due to the dead battery and no way to charge it.

So our next thought was to remove the drive (a Toshiba 80MB MK2024FC - IDE / AT )with DOS and all the system files on it. Then, put the drive into an enclosure for an IDE device with a USB interface and attempt to read the drive under Windows or Linux. We think the NOTESTAR was running version 6 or so of DOS and that the drive is most likely FAT16 (not sure 100%).

Will this work hardware and software wise and what are some other thoughts as to how to get the data off?

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Should work

by t_w_dragon In reply to Read Old DOS Hard Drive U ...

Don't see why not. Almost any IDE drive with a FAT system are readable as slaves to copy the data from.

Either hook it up into the system as a slave and read it or as you stated a USB conversion.

Personally, I use this equipment by vantec to avoid needing an enclosure.


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Shouldn't be an issue here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Read Old DOS Hard Drive U ...

Those old DOS Drives where small and easy to work with so all that should be required is to fit the drive to a USB Enclosure and read it directly from the computer that it's plugged into.

Any version of Windows should read the Drive with the possible exception of Vista. I'm not sure just how well that works reading DOS Partitions as I've never tried to do anything like that in the past.

If worst comes to worst you should be easily able to read the drive and Copy the Data off it to something of your choice though depending on the Software being used you may be unable to actually read the individual Files.

Back when DOS was king M$ was a Bit Player so some of the Applications being used on this computer may no longer be supported by modern Software. Things like Word Perfect WP Files shouldn't be an issue but I'm not sure how things like Lotus 123, Borland DBase goes with current generation Programs.

OF course if you are running the Current version of this Software it will not be an issue as Word Perfect is fully backward compatible but the now dead applications like Lotus 123 may be a different story. I'm not sure because it's not something that I've ever attempted to do.

I hope that is of some help to you.


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USB withW98

by ozi Eagle In reply to Shouldn't be an issue her ...

Be aware that win98 does not support USB. You will need to load drivers that come with the enclosure, though my experience is that this seldom works.


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Yep 98 was a Pig when attempting to use USB Devices

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to USB withW98

But if you use 98 SE it's marginally better.

A Mac from that time shouldn't be an issue though as they developed the USB Interface.

I've never had a problem with 98 SE though and on every occasion when I've needed to connect a USB External HDD to a 98 Se box it's worked though I have needed to install the USB Driver that came with the Device or a Generic USB Driver.

98 was far more marginal though. 95 falls into the same category as 98 which uses the same driver as 98. But the Base OS didn't support USB Natively so they can be a problem.


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