We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Flash drive storage for old computer.

Pat Brown
Pat Brown asked
on
149 Views
Last Modified: 2017-04-30
I have an old 386 SX MS DOS computer that solely runs one program.  The computer has one 5.25 IDE floppy drive  that does not work and one 3.5 IDE floppy that is on it's last legs.  I would like to back up all my files that I have programed over the years on to a USB flash drive. Can I do this some how through the serial port on the back of the computer or is there an IDE to UBS adapter that I can plug in where I take out the 5.25 or 3.5 floppy drives?  Any help will be appreciated.
Comment
Watch Question

RaminTechnical Advisor
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
one Idea is to detach the Hard Disk and connect it to another computer and copy what you want. if it has an IDE connector you can buy an IDE to SATA connector ( very cheap ) and connect it to SATA port on another PC. most recent computers use SATA port.

also u can buy an IDE to USB connector to transfer your data to USB. but check if there is more than one IDE connector on Mainboard.
other drives ( floppy) don't use IDE connector.

other option is obtain an IDE CD/DVD drive and connect it to IDE connector and Burn your data into it. but check if you have Two IDE connector on Mainboard.

other option is PCI to USB adapter.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
IDE 5.25 and 3.5 drives?  I suspect not.

IDC is the proper connector for floppy drives.  If this is a 386 SX board then quite possibly it has a IDE socket on the mother board in which  you can plug in an IDE to SATA connector that Ramin describes.

You don't state if this computer has a hard disk drive.  Can you tell us if this does?

Or is your purpose just to copy a whole lot of floppy disks across to another computer?  If this is the case then a USB 3.5" floppy disk drive might just be what you want.

Something like this https://www.amazon.com/NEWSTYLE-3-5-External-Floppy-Drive/dp/B00KX8EMOO  (I'm not endorsing or recommending this drive, just giving an example of one).
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
I better clarify my previous post.

The USB floppy drive I suggested was for backing up 3.5" floppy disks onto a modern computer.

And, yes, you can use some USB devices on DOS.  There is a limited range of drivers available for this purpose but not all drivers/devices work.  I have been down this path.  But there should be no need to go that way for this purpose.
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
imo - the floppy drive cable does not fit these adapters
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
You would get the usb floppy, as drbrunton suggested, for transferring floppy disks.  I didn't need to redo a link for that.  My suggestion was for an IDE hard drive.  386 laptops did have hard drives back then.  They were small, maybe around 100 MB, but they did exist.
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
that's what the asker still needs to tell us - there were many with only floppies too

Author

Commented:
Yes, sorry I did not mention, the 386 does have a hard drive.  My data is on the HD and I would just like to put everything on a flash drive for simplicity instead of old unreliable 3.5 floppies.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Put the hard drive in a compatible carrier on a more advanced computer and copy the data to a USB drive. I have done this lots of times
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
I expect that you won't be keeping the drive around too long, since you've said that "it's on its last legs", so I suggest getting the cheaper, and more versatile, adapter that I've listed.  You can use for other IDE and SATA drives instead of an enclosed, IDE only, carrier that costs more.  Plug that into a USB port on a newer computer and plug in a USB drive.  Then, copy the files.  It should be enough.  You might also look into Roadkil's unstoppable copier, if the old drive is starting to fail and produce errors.
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Pat Brown - please return and give us some info so we can help
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Use  carrier to retrieve data from the drive.

Gain unlimited access to on-demand training courses with an Experts Exchange subscription.

Get Access
Why Experts Exchange?

Experts Exchange always has the answer, or at the least points me in the correct direction! It is like having another employee that is extremely experienced.

Jim Murphy
Programmer at Smart IT Solutions

When asked, what has been your best career decision?

Deciding to stick with EE.

Mohamed Asif
Technical Department Head

Being involved with EE helped me to grow personally and professionally.

Carl Webster
CTP, Sr Infrastructure Consultant
Empower Your Career
Did You Know?

We've partnered with two important charities to provide clean water and computer science education to those who need it most. READ MORE

Ask ANY Question

Connect with Certified Experts to gain insight and support on specific technology challenges including:

  • Troubleshooting
  • Research
  • Professional Opinions