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Effective backup/restores for non-networked legacy Dos 6.22, WFW 3.11, and Windows 95 machines

Posted on 2007-11-20
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Due to vendor products requiring Dos 6.22, WFW 3.11,  Windows 95, and 98 we cannot upgrade these platforms unfortunately.

With that trying to find a cost and time effective way to backup/restore these non-networked DOS, Windows for Workgroups, and Windows 95 machines preferably to an external device.

I realize that today's USB drives will not work but is there any parallel or serial device that we could attach and get a complete backup?  We have nearly 70 machines like this so my thought was to have a dedicated laptop with a program like LapLink to copy each of the drives to a subdirectory on the laptop.  Then the laptop could be attached to the network and backed up or imaged.  We have standardized on Symantec System Recovery for our W2K and above workstations and servers.

After going through a lot of threads on just local backups to the hard drive there would be some users who may still be going through what we are doing
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Question by:JLTollefson
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Expert Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 20323950
Are these machines available during the night?  I realize there could be a large amount of overhead, but what's wrong with using some batch scripts to like xcopy the important directories to a central location preferably running a newer revision OS with it's own tape drive?
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by:Ben Hart
ID: 20323972
I apologize, I didn't notice the part about these machines not being networked.

Seems like either your idea of a laptop would be the only option..  or possibly an older parallel ZIP/Jaz drive..
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kode99 earned 500 total points
ID: 20330225
I'm still dealing with some old DOS based stuff also.  My problems were more with updating hardware and getting drivers etc.  Luckily it is nowhere near 70 systems.

How are these systems equipped?  CD drives? floppy only USB 1.1? network ports?  How big are the drives that need to be backed up?

If there are things like USB or network ports but no matching drivers you could probably boot systems up with a linux boot disk with the needed drivers and use linux tools to image the drives to an external device.

Something that I used with my old dos systems was a Compact Flash to IDE adapter.  This allowed me to mount a CF card as a drive.  It by-passes any driver issues as the system sees it as a regular drive.  I actually replaced the hard drives with CF cards,  so not so much a backup scenario but more of a cheap solid state drive.

Anyway you can get a external CF adapter to go in the back of a system.  This would allow you to either replace the drive with a easily swappable CF card or use it as a second disk to make backup copy to that can then be removed.

Here's the CF adapter,
http://www.logicsupply.com/products/fb_4617

A similar would be this external IDE bracket.  This would allow you to direct connect a IDE drive (power and data) for a really fast transfer.  The only issue with this is having small hard drives that can be recognized by the system's bios properly.  The CF cards are small enough that this is not an issue.

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2232

Now that I look at it you could use the IDE bracket in each system then buy a few IDE-CF adapters so you could do 5 or so systems at a time.

Laplink through a serial or parellel port works but is not particularly fast and you have a lot of systems to do.  I would imagine that you would also have to buy a license per system to use it.
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Author Closing Comment

by:JLTollefson
ID: 31410242
I didn't realize there was an IDE to CF adapter.  I think we are going to extend the IDE cable so that we can attach the CF adapter, reboot the machine, and script a backup.  Disconnect and move on to the next machine that has the IDE cable extended also.

Fairly cheap yet effective for legacy backup/restores.

Thanks!

Thanks!
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