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Posted: 1/12/2006 7:11:57 AM EDT
In 1988 I did a control system for a customer using an IBM industrial computer running DOS6.2.

That computer crapped out a couple of months ago, but they managed to find a used chassis and simply moved the hard drive out of the old machine into the "new" one.

This is a critical machine. It runs a piece of equipment that MUST operate, or the entire plant is out of service.

They have NO backup. Neither do we. If the hard drive fails, it's all over.

What they want us to do is build a new system, copy the contents of the existing hard drive, and make a backup copy of the hard drive.

Seems simple, but the current machine is still DOS6.2. It doesn't support Windows at all. I don't want to be installing a new operating system on that eighteen year old hard drive.

The initial system was a 486, 16MHz, with 640K of RAM, EGA graphics, and a 40Mb HDD.

Try building a NEW one of those.

Any suggestions?
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:14:49 AM EDT
so basically you just need a current machine that can run dos applications, right?
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:15:21 AM EDT
Is there something special that you need the old system style for, or can you just use a newer system but keep runing 6.2?
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:15:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 7:16:20 AM EDT by cruze5]
go buy a used computer from a local computer repair store. I still have 98 computers in all the time for repair. they occasionally buy a new computer. and we fix the old and resell their for some $

I haven't checked this year. but we (as of last year) could still built a new computer with windows 98 on it. alot of the newer hardware will not have drivers, but it will still function in dos.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:16:46 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:19:10 AM EDT
Use an external USB drive enclosure and Norton Ghost to make a backup of the drive. (as long as it is at least an IDE drive, it should be compatable with an enclosure). Of course this would have to be done using a modern machine with norton ghost installed on it)
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:20:08 AM EDT
1) short term solution:

use ghost to make a copy of the hard drive

burn it to a cd and go get an older 486 from one of the many computer resellers out there

you can pick up a 486 for $50 at places like that.

2) long term solution:

rewrite the app to run in windows xp

Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:20:33 AM EDT
Check Ebay, you will be suprised.

I work a lot with older Motorola radios, and they must be programmed on a slow DOS only machine and I see nice units, some new, on Ebay from time to time.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:20:37 AM EDT
Build/buy a new machine. ANY new machine, it doesn't matter. Install VMWare. Run the DOS app in a virtual machine. Backups are a breeze, since the entire "hard drive" (as it were) is a single file that can be copied anywhere.

If it were my job and my responsibility, that's what I'd do. VMWare is a God send. Hell, I have an enterprise phone switch and call center running on my laptop right now.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:31:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 7:36:06 AM EDT by FALARAK]
Some of you guys are WAY too "new school"

Vmware? Expensive.

Ghost? HAH! Ghost is absolutely not required for DOS. Ghost/imaging is only needed for newer systems that Xcopy just wont do anymore. Xcopy is all you need to duplicate ANY DOS/Win3.1, and even early Windows 95 systems. I used to build hundreds of systems per day with this method.

I also used to maintain a set of systems for a machine shop. Same scenario as you. 386's, 486's, with DOS. Mostly DOS 5. Their CNC app only ran under DOS.... and was licensed/unlocked based on the hardware profile. If you changed ANYTHING, the app wouldnt run. But we could move the program and get them to unlock it based on a new computer (pay per incident). The real problem was - if our system died - we had to find an identical system - impossible.... and then had to call and wait for the cavalry.

First - find your hardware. I went out to an internet site that had tons of old Dell 486's for $10 each. Bought 10 of them, all identical... so we would have lots of spares.

Then, fdisk and format all the drives with dos - same exact version as they are running. If you dont have this, simply build a system diskette from their system by doing a format a:, sys a:, and copy fdisk and format to the floppy. Use this floppy to fdisk and format the drives of the new machines.

Get a backup of the old machine's drive. If you have no other way to do this, take ONE of the drives out of the new machines, and slave it. the new drive should be D:. Then simply boot the system clean (no running apps/tsr's) and run xcopy /s/e/v to copy all the contents of the current system drive to the new one.

Use the new drive as the master, and you can repeat this as many times as you want. You can have as many spares as you want. No need for anything complicated. This type of redundancy is cake.

We built out all 10 machines with the exact same information. When they have a problem with ANYTHING on that system (disk, power supply, motherboard, anything) they just unplug it, and go get another one from stock. Cost a whopping $100 bill.


Alternatively - if you want to copy this xcopy to a CD - and these machine have CDroms, you can make a bootable CD, or a boot/floppy combo - that can run a scripted format and xcopy and sys of the HDD, so if they ever screw it up, they can have an instand rebuild, and there your backup is on CDrom as well.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:33:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 7:33:40 AM EDT by _DR]
Put UNIX or LINUX on it.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:36:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By _DR:
Put UNIX or LINUX on it.



Yeah, that'll solve everything.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:41:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
Some of you guys are WAY too "new school"

Vmware? Expensive.

Ghost? HAH! Ghost is absolutely not required for DOS. Ghost/imaging is only needed for newer systems that Xcopy just wont do anymore. Xcopy is all you need to duplicate ANY DOS/Win3.1, and even early Windows 95 systems. I used to build hundreds of systems per day with this method.

I also used to maintain a set of systems for a machine shop. Same scenario as you. 386's, 486's, with DOS. Mostly DOS 5. Their CNC app only ran under DOS.... and was licensed/unlocked based on the hardware profile. If you changed ANYTHING, the app wouldnt run. But we could move the program and get them to unlock it based on a new computer (pay per incident). The real problem was - if our system died - we had to find an identical system - impossible.... and then had to call and wait for the cavalry.

First - find your hardware. I went out to an internet site that had tons of old Dell 486's for $10 each. Bought 10 of them, all identical... so we would have lots of spares.

Then, fdisk and format all the drives with dos - same exact version as they are running. If you dont have this, simply build a system diskette from their system by doing a format a:, sys a:, and copy fdisk and format to the floppy. Use this floppy to fdisk and format the drives of the new machines.

Get a backup of the old machine's drive. If you have no other way to do this, take ONE of the drives out of the new machines, and slave it. the new drive should be D:. Then simply boot the system clean (no running apps/tsr's) and run xcopy /s/e/v to copy all the contents of the current system drive to the new one.

Use the new drive as the master, and you can repeat this as many times as you want. You can have as many spares as you want. No need for anything complicated. This type of redundancy is cake.

We built out all 10 machines with the exact same information. When they have a problem with ANYTHING on that system (disk, power supply, motherboard, anything) they just unplug it, and go get another one from stock. Cost a whopping $100 bill.


Alternatively - if you want to copy this xcopy to a CD - and these machine have CDroms, you can make a bootable CD, or a boot/floppy combo - that can run a scripted format and xcopy and sys of the HDD, so if they ever screw it up, they can have an instand rebuild, and there your backup is on CDrom as well.



Yea... do this

guess it has been way too long..
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 8:09:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
Some of you guys are WAY too "new school"

Vmware? Expensive.

Ghost? HAH! Ghost is absolutely not required for DOS. Ghost/imaging is only needed for newer systems that Xcopy just wont do anymore. Xcopy is all you need to duplicate ANY DOS/Win3.1, and even early Windows 95 systems. I used to build hundreds of systems per day with this method.

I also used to maintain a set of systems for a machine shop. Same scenario as you. 386's, 486's, with DOS. Mostly DOS 5. Their CNC app only ran under DOS.... and was licensed/unlocked based on the hardware profile. If you changed ANYTHING, the app wouldnt run. But we could move the program and get them to unlock it based on a new computer (pay per incident). The real problem was - if our system died - we had to find an identical system - impossible.... and then had to call and wait for the cavalry.

First - find your hardware. I went out to an internet site that had tons of old Dell 486's for $10 each. Bought 10 of them, all identical... so we would have lots of spares.

Then, fdisk and format all the drives with dos - same exact version as they are running. If you dont have this, simply build a system diskette from their system by doing a format a:, sys a:, and copy fdisk and format to the floppy. Use this floppy to fdisk and format the drives of the new machines.

Get a backup of the old machine's drive. If you have no other way to do this, take ONE of the drives out of the new machines, and slave it. the new drive should be D:. Then simply boot the system clean (no running apps/tsr's) and run xcopy /s/e/v to copy all the contents of the current system drive to the new one.

Use the new drive as the master, and you can repeat this as many times as you want. You can have as many spares as you want. No need for anything complicated. This type of redundancy is cake.

We built out all 10 machines with the exact same information. When they have a problem with ANYTHING on that system (disk, power supply, motherboard, anything) they just unplug it, and go get another one from stock. Cost a whopping $100 bill.


Alternatively - if you want to copy this xcopy to a CD - and these machine have CDroms, you can make a bootable CD, or a boot/floppy combo - that can run a scripted format and xcopy and sys of the HDD, so if they ever screw it up, they can have an instand rebuild, and there your backup is on CDrom as well.



Damn, you beat me to it. I was going to say that.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:08:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
Some of you guys are WAY too "new school"

Vmware? Expensive.

Ghost? HAH! Ghost is absolutely not required for DOS. Ghost/imaging is only needed for newer systems that Xcopy just wont do anymore. Xcopy is all you need to duplicate ANY DOS/Win3.1, and even early Windows 95 systems. I used to build hundreds of systems per day with this method.

I also used to maintain a set of systems for a machine shop. Same scenario as you. 386's, 486's, with DOS. Mostly DOS 5. Their CNC app only ran under DOS.... and was licensed/unlocked based on the hardware profile. If you changed ANYTHING, the app wouldnt run. But we could move the program and get them to unlock it based on a new computer (pay per incident). The real problem was - if our system died - we had to find an identical system - impossible.... and then had to call and wait for the cavalry.

First - find your hardware. I went out to an internet site that had tons of old Dell 486's for $10 each. Bought 10 of them, all identical... so we would have lots of spares.

Then, fdisk and format all the drives with dos - same exact version as they are running. If you dont have this, simply build a system diskette from their system by doing a format a:, sys a:, and copy fdisk and format to the floppy. Use this floppy to fdisk and format the drives of the new machines.

Get a backup of the old machine's drive. If you have no other way to do this, take ONE of the drives out of the new machines, and slave it. the new drive should be D:. Then simply boot the system clean (no running apps/tsr's) and run xcopy /s/e/v to copy all the contents of the current system drive to the new one.

Use the new drive as the master, and you can repeat this as many times as you want. You can have as many spares as you want. No need for anything complicated. This type of redundancy is cake.

We built out all 10 machines with the exact same information. When they have a problem with ANYTHING on that system (disk, power supply, motherboard, anything) they just unplug it, and go get another one from stock. Cost a whopping $100 bill.


Alternatively - if you want to copy this xcopy to a CD - and these machine have CDroms, you can make a bootable CD, or a boot/floppy combo - that can run a scripted format and xcopy and sys of the HDD, so if they ever screw it up, they can have an instand rebuild, and there your backup is on CDrom as well.




Whew, I am glad I didn't have to type all that...Good info!


ByteTheBullet (-:
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 12:01:28 PM EDT
Thanks for the suggestions.

My one question: How do you get a DOS system to run a CD burner?
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 12:05:58 PM EDT
Track down the dos driver for it. There are quite a few out there since most of the ghost and pqdi type softwares run in dos so you are not accessing the hd.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 12:19:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KBaker:
Thanks for the suggestions.

My one question: How do you get a DOS system to run a CD burner?



You dont. You would need a DOS application that burns CD's. That is gonna be a stretch. Why do you need that?
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 12:21:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Andrewh:
Track down the dos driver for it. There are quite a few out there since most of the ghost and pqdi type softwares run in dos so you are not accessing the hd.



That will only let you use it (in conjunction with MSCDEX.EXE) as a drive letter/CDROM. If he wants to burn directly from DOS.... that is gonna be tough.... have to find ancient software and ancient burners.... and I dont see the point. Just move the drive to a different machine as a slave.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:08:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:

Originally Posted By KBaker:
Thanks for the suggestions.

My one question: How do you get a DOS system to run a CD burner?



You dont. You would need a DOS application that burns CD's. That is gonna be a stretch. Why do you need that?

Well the question came from this bit of advice:

Alternatively - if you want to copy this xcopy to a CD - and these machine have CDroms, you can make a bootable CD, or a boot/floppy combo - that can run a scripted format and xcopy and sys of the HDD, so if they ever screw it up, they can have an instand rebuild, and there your backup is on CDrom as well.
Seems like a good idea, but a CD drive on a DOS 6.X machine?
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 10:20:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 10:21:50 PM EDT by No-Worries]
Step 1 - Buy new $500 PC from Dell, Gateway or similar. Make sure it has serial ports if your application requires it. BUY new and reliable . There's no reason to put your client through this again if you don't have to. Make sure the motherboard supports IDE or EIDE drives and not only SATA drives.

Step 2 - If you have dos, fdisk and format the c: drive of the new PC when you get it. If not, create a DOS floppy boot disk on the original PC with the command SYS A: and copy fdisk and format to the diskette.

Step 3 - Put old hardrive in new PC, make it a slave drive (via jumpers) to the new PC's drive and copy the transfer all files to new PC with xcopy /s. Do a chkdsk /f and make sure the number of files on both disks are the same. Reboot.

Step 4 - look like a hero.

I can't believe a multi-million $ operation doesn't have a backup plan for the weakest link.
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 5:38:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By No-Worries:
Step 1 - Buy new $500 PC from Dell, Gateway or similar. Make sure it has serial ports if your application requires it. BUY new and reliable . There's no reason to put your client through this again if you don't have to. Make sure the motherboard supports IDE or EIDE drives and not only SATA drives.

Step 2 - If you have dos, fdisk and format the c: drive of the new PC when you get it. If not, create a DOS floppy boot disk on the original PC with the command SYS A: and copy fdisk and format to the diskette.

Step 3 - Put old hardrive in new PC, make it a slave drive (via jumpers) to the new PC's drive and copy the transfer all files to new PC with xcopy /s. Do a chkdsk /f and make sure the number of files on both disks are the same. Reboot.

Step 4 - look like a hero.

I can't believe a multi-million $ operation doesn't have a backup plan for the weakest link.



May need to rethink that plan. Many applications, when run under DOS, will not run on today's newer computers. Ours wont. Had to download hack TSR's to slow the clock cycle just to get them to kinda run. It was much better for us to find multiple $10 computers, than one $500 job that could just as easily die tomorrow.
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 5:39:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KBaker:

Originally Posted By FALARAK:

Originally Posted By KBaker:
Thanks for the suggestions.

My one question: How do you get a DOS system to run a CD burner?



You dont. You would need a DOS application that burns CD's. That is gonna be a stretch. Why do you need that?

Well the question came from this bit of advice:

Alternatively - if you want to copy this xcopy to a CD - and these machine have CDroms, you can make a bootable CD, or a boot/floppy combo - that can run a scripted format and xcopy and sys of the HDD, so if they ever screw it up, they can have an instand rebuild, and there your backup is on CDrom as well.
Seems like a good idea, but a CD drive on a DOS 6.X machine?



Well, once you have the "good image" on a drive, I meant you could move that drive and copy it anywhere.... like in a PC that already HAS a burner.
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 5:46:21 AM EDT
vmware, honestly, is the way to go. You will be freed from the crappy hardware.

or virtualpc - whatever.
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 6:12:36 AM EDT
And make damn sure you don't fold, spindle, mutilate, or staple those punch cards.

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