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How to boot a hard drive with win95 installed on a newer pc

Posted on 2014-03-12
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Last Modified: 2014-03-26
We currently have a very old HP desktop that was running windows 95.  Recently the computer stopped working.  We are not able to locate a replacement or find parts to get it back up and running.  The software that was running on this box runs the heating and cooling system for one of our buildings.

This software will only run on win95 and we do not have any install disks or files.  The company that originally installed the software is not able to support it any longer, as it is over 12 years old.

Is there anyway that i could use the hard drive from the non working box in a newer box to run windows 95.  Maybe as a virtual machine on a win7 box?

I am able to use an external hard drive case to access the contents of the hard drive from the windows 95 box.

any help would be greatly appreciated.

thank you,
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Question by:aksealife
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by:Schuyler Dorsey
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You could TRY using VMWare. Create a new VM and do a raw device mapping so it maps the entire drive as the virtual drive. For this to work, the drive would have to be in the USB enclosure.

It MIGHT but I have for sure never tried an OS that old!
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by:aksealife
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I like the VM idea.  What if i used the free version of Oracle VM.  Could i clone the old hard drive to a new partition on a newer machine and then use that partition to run the VM?
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by:Lee W, MVP
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Does the company that made the software still exist?  If so, the company that uses this needs to take some responsibility and buy an upgrade to the software and stop using software that's nearly 20 years old.  And if no upgrade exists, one person should be assigned to get this working now, but everyone else should be looking into how to upgrade the system to use something at least created this millennium.

First, DUPLICATE THAT HARD DRIVE.

Now, take the duplicate hard drive and create a virtual hard drive out of it - slave it in a system with XP or later and VHD it using disk2vhd and then create a VMDK of it as well if you want to try to get it working on VMWare.  (VMWare MIGHt be able to access it in a VHD - I'm not very familiar with VMWare).

Try it in VirtualBox, VirtualPC, Hyper-V, VMWare, and any other VM platform you can find to get it working.  But IF you can get it working, consider it a TEMPORARY measure!  The VM may not work if it has to control things through a special controller that cannot translate through the hypervisor.

Scour ebay for the parts to replace it.
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by:aksealife
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Lee,

I should also add that the company that created the software does exist.  The issue is our company, a small non-profit, inherited this building and system and it has not been upgraded along the way.  We do have plans in place to upgrade the system and we are just looking for a temp solution to get us through.

I will try your suggestions and report back.
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garycase earned 250 total points
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There are two potential issues with running the system in a virtual machine:

(1)  Simply getting it to run.   This is the simplest part, as it will almost certainly work in a VMware virtual machine if mounted as a VHD ... and how to do that has been adequately discussed above.

(2)  Controlling the heating/cooling system.   What is the interface between the old computer and the environmental system?    If it's via a customized add-in board, then you likely can't use that board in a new system.   If it's via a parallel port control interface (common in the 90's), then you'll need to use it in a system with a parallel port and use a hypervisor that supports direct access to the parallel port from a VM.

Another alternative is to simply buy the same system that stopped working.    Check e-bay for the specific make/model ... or post it here and we can perhaps find another PC with the same chipset that your disk would likely work fine it.    Then you could simply boot the native Windows 95 OS and would almost certainly have the appropriate slots for any add-in card(s) that may be necessary for the environmental controls.
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by:Frosty555
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I'm leaning in the direction of Garycase for buying a used PC off of eBay with similar specs.

You can install Windows 95 onto a VM, but can you MOVE an already installed copy of Windows 95 onto virtualized hardware and still expect it to boot? It's worth a shot since it's fairly easy to do without buying anything, but really I think it is unlikely that it will work.

Any chance you can get your hands on Windows 98 SE and install it onto another old computer, copy the executable files off of the old hard disk and try and run them?
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by:aksealife
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We have tried to look on ebay for the parts, but every seller i found would not ship to us in Alaska.

I am going to keep looking for a source for parts.  What we really need is a power supply that will fit in an HP Pavilion 3100 D5291A.

In the mean time i am going to try the suggestions above to see if i can get it to run on VM.
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by:web_tracker
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IT would be almost impossible to find windows 95 drivers for anything now adays. I remember the win 95 drivers were extremely hard to play nicely with windows, that's why I was happy the windows 98 came out to resolve the driver mess of the windows 95 days.


Good luck, you will need it, I think you will be spending more time and money to stick with the old system instead of upgrading and spending money and time to get it to work.
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by:garycase
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If you're certain the issue is the power supply ...

I have no idea if the power supply in this listing is good ... but from the details it seems likely it is ("Powers Up and No Further Testing as performed ...").

You could ask a Lower-48-based friend to buy it and then mail you just the power supply from it.   A USPS large flat-rate box is < $20 to mail; and I assume a power supply would fit in it with no problem.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-PAVILION-3100-D5291A/171267074660?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222005%26algo%3DSIC.PROD%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140107083349%26meid%3D5447052691816364205%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D20140107083349%26rk%3D0%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D121288916426#shpCntId
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by:aksealife
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thank you Garycase.  I had previously tried to purchase that exact item, but the seller canceled my purchase due to shipping to AK.

I was able to get them to agree to ship to me.  I will update once the replacement desktop arrives.
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by:Frosty555
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Also if it is just the power supply, you could (as a temporary measure) get a regular ATX power supply and connect it. Even if the HP had a custom form factor power supply, the motherboard  like is pretty standard, and the actual molex connectors that plug into the motherboard, hard drive etc. probably are the same. You could get away with a regular power supply just hanging off the side, "Quasimodo" style.

Or transplant the motherboard into a new chassis if the form factor will fit.
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by:garycase
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The problem with standard ATX units is they don't provide some of the voltages that early PC supplies required.   Pre-ATX motherboards had some pretty special power connections that used what today would be considered very non-standard voltages.    Most of those are now automatically regulated on the motherboard itself from a standard 5v or 12v input; but that wasn't always the case.
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by:_
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hmmmm... I could be wrong, but the only specs I can find, say it's a
- P166 MHz
- 66MHz FSB

that thing is so old, it might have an AT PSU in it.     : D

http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/hp-pavilion-3100-p/4507-3118_7-30052061.html
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by:garycase
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I think it's likely that's the case.   I don't recall the exact pinout of the AT connection; but believe it had moderate current demands on both -12v and -5v outputs, in addition to the more normal +5 and +12v outputs.    Note that a -5v output is no longer part of the ATX specification, and is not likely to be available on a modern unit ... which is why I noted it's not necessarily possible to just rewire a new PSU.
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by:_
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The AT had the 12 pin straight mobo connector, with the double psu plugs.
It also had a 110v On/Off button, instead of the atx "contact" On/Off button.

http://pinouts.ru/Power/MotherboardPower_pinout.shtml
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by:Frosty555
Frosty555 earned 250 total points
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I found HP's website with the specifications for that system:
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?cc=us&lc=en&dlc=en&docname=bph04057

Indeed it does seem old enough that it probably does have an AT power supply, and it looks like it is a custom form factor. But, perhaps he can just get an older AT power supply off of eBay and hang that off the system "Quasimodo" style.

e.g.:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Older-AT-Power-Supply-PS2682L-Pulled-From-a-Working-DeskTop-Computer-/261432024700?pt=PCA_UPS&hash=item3cde901e7c&_uhb=1#shpCntId
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by:aksealife
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We were able to purchase the exact model of pc we needed off of ebay and use parts from that system to get ours up and running again.  Thank you all for you help and ideas on ways to resolve this issue.

We will also be working to upgrade to a newer system that was built in this century. :)
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