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online backup for win98se

Posted on 2014-04-14
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I have an accounting program that will only run on win98se. I need an online backup. All the backup programs I've searched will not work in win98.

I understand that I should move to a newer version of windows but we can not afford a newer operating system since the current one has many proprietary modifications.

Does anyone know of a product that will allow me to back this computer online?
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Question by:jjamato
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by:Tony Giangreco
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Dave Baldwin earned 125 total points
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I wouldn't do it 'online' but if you have a spare hard drive of the same size, the older versions of XXCOPY can do the job.  I've been using it for many years to create bootable backups.  http://www.xxcopy.com/xcpyofaq.htm  Look for  XXCOPY v.2.96.8. on that page.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 125 total points
ID: 40000450
Or consider backing up locally and then simply copying the backup to a cloud location like Dropbox.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 125 total points
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Virtualize it.  Then backup the VM.
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by:jjamato
ID: 40000568
globaldatavault will not work in win98 according to their system requirements

tried VM but networking won't work. Program is early version of Open Systems Accounting
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by:garycase
garycase earned 125 total points
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Agree with the suggestion for XXCopy -- it works very well for copying your data (or even your entire drive).

If you've installed USB support for Win98, you could use an external USB drive to do the backups to;  then periodically attach that drive to a more modern computer and copy the backups to that ... and have THAT computer backed up to an online service.

HOWEVER ... I'd try the following, as it's a much better solution:

(a)  On a newer machine, install the free VMware Player.
(b)  Create a Windows 98SE virtual machine and install your accounting program.   Confirm that it works okay (don't worry about networking)
(c)  Create a folder on your host ("real") computer called "Shared with 98"
(d)  Enable Shared Folders in the VMware settings for your virtual machine -- and point to that folder ... setting it to "Always Enabled"
(d)  Now you can backup your data from '98 to the shared folder; and you can subscribe to any could-based backup server (e.g. Carbonite) on the "real" computer and be sure you mark the shared folder in the list of folders to backup.
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by:web_tracker
ID: 40000680
If you are concerned about keeping your backup onsite, in case of a disaster, as many users suggested use xxcopy to an external drive and then place the drive offsite such as in a security box at a bank. I would do the backup at least bi-weekly.
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by:rindi
ID: 40001011
As mentioned above, backup locally. Don't even consider connecting the PC to the LAN or the internet. W98 is so old and has been unsupported for such a long time, that it is at extremely high risks when connected. There probably is no good AV utility available that still runs on W98 and gets updates either.

It is very likely that your accounting software will run on newer OS's, maybe you just need to use DosBox (if it is a DOS program), or something else to get it running under Windows 7. It is also very likely that it'll run under "Wine" without any adaptions if your OS is some Linux Distro.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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You don''t mention what virtualization platform you tried.  There are many - Virtual PC, hyper-V, Virtual Box, VMWare - see http://www.compiledthoughts.com/2008/06/networking-windows-98-virtual-machine.html
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by:jjamato
ID: 40003827
This accounting program is multiuser so it must work on a mapped drive to other desktops. Also it will not run unless the auto.exe and config.sys files have entries made.

It must be backed up daily so running back and forth from the win98 to a win;7 machine with a flash drive is not feasible.

is there a local backup program that will run on win98 and allow me to backup to a mapped network drive (to a win7 machine) from which I can use any program to backup the win7?
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by:rindi
ID: 40003960
Autoexec.bat and config.sys files aren't show stoppers to get old software running on newer OS's like Windows 7, or as I mentioned earlier, often DosBOX can be used too.

I'm almost 100% sure you can get that software running without the need for windows 98 if you take some time to look into it. Maybe we could even help if we had more details on that software.
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by:garycase
ID: 40005430
"... I'm almost 100% sure you can get that software running without the need for windows 98 if you take some time to look into it. "  ==>  I don't agree with this; but I DO agree that it's VERY likely you can get the software running in a Virtual Machine that's running Windows 98SE.   You can configure that virtual machine exactly like a "real" one -- autoexec.bat; config.sys; etc.

Have you tried using a VMware system as I suggested earlier [Either VMware Player (free) or VMware Workstation] ??

Clearly if you get it running on a VM, backup becomes trivial, as you can simply backup to a shared folder on the host; and let the more modern host system backup the shared folder using any of the various cloud-backup utilities.
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 40005444
For all my old software that still makes me money, I keep spare old machines to run it.  I have several machines that run Windows 3.1 and 98se.  Those versions of Windows / DOS are easy to clone to another hard disk and machine.  Done it quite a few times now.
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by:garycase
ID: 40005465
Agree keeping a bunch of old machines is a simple way to support older software -- but it doesn't help with the need here to do cloud-based backups.
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 40005473
As I mentioned above, I use XXCOPY and an old copy of Norton Ghost to do my backups to spare hard drives.  They would be image backups and you can pop them in a spare machine and be back up running in a few minutes.  I can't see how you would do that "from the cloud" on Win98se.  I believe I still have every hard drive I have ever used since 1991.  Several boxes of them.  And I need some more...
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by:garycase
ID: 40005488
A packrat after my own heart :-)    I only recently discarded a box full of ancient hard drives (including some old 8" units)     And I still had an old CP/M machine until about 5 years or so ago.

I think the key issue here is they want off-site backups ... preferably online for simplicity's sake.    A bunch of spare drives doesn't do that for them.
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by:jjamato
ID: 40005545
Thanks for all the suggestions. The reason image backups won't work is because we backup at least once a day if not after every batch of data. May be over kill but I like to sleep at night.

Today I did a google for supporters of my software. After many tries I found one that says he's gotten my old version to run in win7, only problem he found was  multi user mode would not let other desktops open the program.  He's going to work on it tomorrow.

If he has success I'll  award points to multiple solutions because some of the ideas would probably work. as GaryCase said "I think the key issue here is they want off-site backups ... preferably online for simplicity's sake.    A bunch of spare drives doesn't do that for them".
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by:web_tracker
ID: 40005658
The problem also arises when you try to install windows 7 on a very old system that only runs windows 98, you cant install windows 7 on a windows 98 computer, most likely a PII or maybe even slower.....  If you go to a higher operating system you will have to upgrade the equipment as well. Oh the headaches of ancient technology.
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by:garycase
ID: 40005797
One more time:  Have you tried to install the accounting program in a Windows 98SE Virtual Machine running under VMware??    I have yet to find ANY program that won't work in that mode unless it uses an old parallel port security dongle ... and even those will work in some cases.

If you get that working okay, this whole issue becomes moot -- as you'll then be able to run the program on ANY modern computer ... and easily move it between systems as needed by simply installing VMWare Player.
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by:rindi
ID: 40005994
The problem with running any ancient OS as a VM is that it stays insecure, particularly if the VM needs LAN connectivity. Running Physical boxes or VM's of such OS's should only be for demonstration or Museum purposes, but never for productivity within a normal LAN, and they definitely should never be exposed to the internet. If someone still uses them for some productive reason, it should certainly be a standalone PC without a Network card, or a VM where networking is off.
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by:garycase
ID: 40006053
It's actually somewhat surprising how many small businesses are still using Win98SE based PC's for some older applications.   I don't see any issue with these, even on small local networks, as long as the network isn't connected to the internet.    If you run them in a VM, you can set the VMware adapter to have only local access ... and save anything you want the host to save online to the a shared folder on the host.    There's then zero exposure to the internet from the '98 system.
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by:jjamato
ID: 40011800
installing VMware as suggested. Will advise
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by:jjamato
ID: 40016252
VMware Player runs the program but I can't print. The program has special code to print to a laser printer on plain paper. Normally the program will only print on dot matrix. The default win 98 printer prints randomly.

Still searching for a backup program that will let me backup to the internet.
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by:rindi
ID: 40016264
As I mentioned before, I'm pretty certain that the program can be run without W98 inside Windows 7. Very likely it is a DOS program and not a Windows program, and using DosBox can very likely help.

Also, most of those ancient programs printed to LPT ports, so you may need to map an LPT port to your printer. Besides that, the printer of course needs to support emulation your program uses (maybe proprinter or an Epson LQ mode). Not many modern printers still support those.

But without having more details or even a sample of the program there isn't much we can do.
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by:garycase
ID: 40016743
"... VMware Player runs the program but I can't print. "  ==>  Okay -- that's good progress.

Now all you need to do is get it to print, and you can freely run this program on ANY system that can server as a VMware host ... this will completely free you (or more precisely your user) from any hardware dependency -- and will make online backup trivial, as you can simply store the data in a shared folder that the host can backup.

I've used this utility to print from many ancient programs and have yet to find one that won't work with it:  http://www.printfil.com/english.htm
It runs fine within a virtual machine => in fact, that's the only way I've used it, as I've used it to virtualize older applications for several folks who also needed those old apps to print.
It's not free; but you can download a demo to confirm it works for your application before you need to buy a license.
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by:jjamato
ID: 40024852
sorry, nothing worked. Rewriting program.

Thanks for the replies.
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by:rindi
ID: 40024873
Why do you need to "rewrite" the program? Isn't there anything already available you could use?

Accounting is something common, and there should be plenty of software available, even free and OpenSource tools. Check the link below under the Financial section:

http://portableapps.com/apps/office
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by:jjamato
ID: 40024977
the program is a $3K accounting program with multiple modifications to suit our company. To duplicate the mods in a newer program would exceed out budget at this time. Currently there are over 10 years of necessary data which would be very difficult to move.

As time permits, I'm messing with quickbooks to see if the current version already has many of the features I had added to my present one.

This started out very simple, all I needed was an offsite backup which has completely gotten out of hand, both time and expense.
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by:garycase
ID: 40025001
If your physical PC has a USB port (preferably USB2), you could do the following to resolve your off-site backup requirement:

(a)  When you want to backup, boot to an Image for DOS CD, and create an image of your Win98 system on an external USB drive.   An alternative to this which would not require booting to a CD is to install Boot-It BM on the system; then you simply reboot, go to Maintenance Mode (a single mouse-click); and click on Disk Imaging.

(b)  When the image is complete, shut down; unplug the USB drive; then reboot.

(c)  Attach the drive you just imaged to a more modern PC, and do one of the following:

     (1)  Simply backup the image file (whether this is practical depends on its size -- for Windows 98 it may very well be fine)
    (2)  Run TBIView and extract the files you actually need to backup to a folder; then backup that folder.

This SOUNDS complex ... but it's not -- especially if you use Boot-It BM.    Actual steps involved if you use BM are (1) Reboot; (2) 2 mouseclicks to get to the backup utility;  (3) a few mouseclicks to initiate the backup;  (4) removing the drive and plugging it in the other PC;  (5) copying what you need backed up to a folder on that PC that you have set for an automatic cloud backup.

The utilities I mentioned are available here:  http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/products.htm
There are free demos available for all of them.
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