VOGONS


First post, by EcoPeeko

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Okay here's what I've got so far, as I try to understand DOS networking. My PC is a Compaq Presario 433 and I'll be using Arachne web browser (unless you think there's a better browser). The Compaq has no CD drive, so sending files is important. If I get something wrong or you have a question, feel free to stop me.

1. The modem is built into the motherboard. I need a driver to use it. Not sure which driver yet. Possibly NE2000?

2. Once the modem works, I need to plug an ethernet cable into my WiFi router. The Compaq has two ports on the back, one with a picture of a phone and one with a picture of a generic ethernet port. They seem to take either RJ11 or RJ12 plugs. I assume I'll be using the one with the generic symbol instead of the phone. The router, being much newer, uses RJ45. If I'm not mistaken that means I'll have to buy an adapter or a new ethernet cable with RJ11 on one end and RJ45 on the other.

3. Once the Compaq with a working modem is physically connected to the router via a compatible ethernet cable, I need to configure the IP address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway, and Net Server to establish a successful network connection. I can use the command "ipconfig" on my other windows 10 PC to find the first 3 numbers and "nslookup" to find the 4th. Arachne web browser has a built-in setup tool that lets me input these numbers easily.

4. Once the modem is active, the Compaq is connected to the wi-fi router via ethernet cable, and the numbers are in, Arachne should just work, right? Web browsing will be limited but I'll mostly be using it for sending files anyway.

I think I've got a handle on it, but I want to be sure before I buy an ethernet cable/adapter. I've never done anything like this before. Am I understanding DOS networking correctly?

Reply 1 of 19, by Jorpho

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EcoPeeko wrote on 2020-04-17, 17:36:

1. The modem is built into the motherboard. I need a driver to use it. Not sure which driver yet. Possibly NE2000?

Modems and network cards are entirely different things.

I've read about people connecting two modems to their household land lines and transferring files that way using terminal programs (i.e. by using ZMODEM), but I never got that to work myself.

The Compaq has two ports on the back, one with a picture of a phone and one with a picture of a generic ethernet port.

I don't know what picture you're looking at, but modems often have two ports: one that you plug into your land line jack, and one that you plug your telephone into, so you don't need two land line jacks to keep using your phone.

The router, being much newer, uses RJ45. If I'm not mistaken that means I'll have to buy an adapter or a new ethernet cable with RJ11 on one end and RJ45 on the other.

I don't think any such cable or adapter exists. If I'm not mistaken, ethernet cables have fundamentally different electrical requirements from telephone cables.

Reply 2 of 19, by EcoPeeko

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Jorpho wrote on 2020-04-17, 17:52:
Modems and network cards are entirely different things. […]
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EcoPeeko wrote on 2020-04-17, 17:36:

1. The modem is built into the motherboard. I need a driver to use it. Not sure which driver yet. Possibly NE2000?

Modems and network cards are entirely different things.

I've read about people connecting two modems to their household land lines and transferring files that way using terminal programs (i.e. by using ZMODEM), but I never got that to work myself.

The Compaq has two ports on the back, one with a picture of a phone and one with a picture of a generic ethernet port.

I don't know what picture you're looking at, but modems often have two ports: one that you plug into your land line jack, and one that you plug your telephone into, so you don't need two land line jacks to keep using your phone.

The router, being much newer, uses RJ45. If I'm not mistaken that means I'll have to buy an adapter or a new ethernet cable with RJ11 on one end and RJ45 on the other.

I don't think any such cable or adapter exists. If I'm not mistaken, ethernet cables have fundamentally different electrical requirements from telephone cables.

Wow, you shot me down real quick. So... how do I connect this stupid thing to the net? I can't pay triple digits for an SCSI external CD-ROM drive, and I haven't had any luck getting PKZIP to work (which supposedly can split files into smaller floppy-sized chunks and reassemble them on the other end) so sending files is my only hope.

Reply 3 of 19, by hasnopants

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Well the way that I networked my DOS machine was I picked up a PCI network adapter and installed Win 3.11 for Workgroups with the TCP/IP stack. Now to get files onto it I can just enter windows 3.11 and then transfer files from my Win 10 machine to the DOS machine. I also run the machine off an SD card, so thats another method, however I was lazy and I dont want to reach behind the computer and get the card from the IDE to SD adapter everytime I need to transfer a file. 😁

So theres two methods for you.

Method 1 - buy a network adapter PCI or ISA depending on what you can support and then either install the DOS network stack (dont have any exp. there so I can help you unfortunately) or go the route of installing Win 3.11 plus the TCP/IP stack and then network from there. That will require setup, ect...not sure how much networking expertise you have but it wasnt super easy. No one thought that someone would want to network win 3.11 to win 10 hahaha.

Method 2 - buy an SD to IDE adapter, clone your IDE hard drive to an SD card and then hook it up and you should be gtg. Sometimes mobos are finicky on recognizing SD cards on the adapters as hard drives, so be aware you might have to cycle through a few SD cards till you find one that works well. I will say I personally have had the best luck with SD HC card, NOT XC. But that might just be my adapters. I run SD to IDE adapters in 3 machines now, all with different mobos, so you can usually make it work, it just takes effort!

Anyways, good luck man. Hope this helps.

Last edited by hasnopants on 2020-04-17, 18:17. Edited 1 time in total.

Current Systems:
DIP40|8088|640K|HERCULESGB102|PCSPKR
S7|P233MMX|128M|S3ViRGEDX/DM3D|SB16
S370|P600MMX|1G|SIS630/DM3DIIX2|SBLIVE!5.1
S775|P43.4|2G|6800GS|SBAUDIGY

Reply 5 of 19, by Jorpho

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EcoPeeko wrote on 2020-04-17, 17:59:

Wow, you shot me down real quick. So... how do I connect this stupid thing to the net?

That would require a network card.

I can't pay triple digits for an SCSI external CD-ROM drive

Is there something that has convinced you that your computer will not support an ordinary internal IDE CD-ROM drive? Either way, there are parallel port CD-ROM drives that do not require SCSI if you wanted to go that route.

and I haven't had any luck getting PKZIP to work (which supposedly can split files into smaller floppy-sized chunks and reassemble them on the other end)

Why not describe the problems you are having with PKZIP? People used that all the time back in the day. Alternatively, there are definitely tools that can split binary files without compression. (Reassembling split binary files can be done with an ordinary command like "copy /b part1.bin+part2.bin+part3.bin file.bin".)

so sending files is my only hope.

If your two computers are in proximity to one another, people used to connect them via "null modem" serial cables all the time.

Reply 6 of 19, by EcoPeeko

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Jorpho wrote on 2020-04-17, 18:11:
That would require a network card. […]
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EcoPeeko wrote on 2020-04-17, 17:59:

Wow, you shot me down real quick. So... how do I connect this stupid thing to the net?

That would require a network card.

I can't pay triple digits for an SCSI external CD-ROM drive

Is there something that has convinced you that your computer will not support an ordinary internal IDE CD-ROM drive? Either way, there are parallel port CD-ROM drives that do not require SCSI if you wanted to go that route.

and I haven't had any luck getting PKZIP to work (which supposedly can split files into smaller floppy-sized chunks and reassemble them on the other end)

Why not describe the problems you are having with PKZIP? People used that all the time back in the day. Alternatively, there are definitely tools that can split binary files without compression. (Reassembling split binary files can be done with an ordinary command like "copy /b part1.bin+part2.bin+part3.bin file.bin".)

so sending files is my only hope.

If your two computers are in proximity to one another, people used to connect them via "null modem" serial cables all the time.

I have an ordinary IDE CD-ROM drive laying around, but there's no space for one inside the pc case. It's a compact all-in-one thing. The only way to connect it would be externally via the rear parallel port. Is there a cable that could allow me to plug it in?

I have PKZIP for Windows 10 running in Windows 95 compatibility mode since someone told me it's for 32 bit windows only, and on the Compaq I have PKZIP 2.5, the last version released for MS-DOS. The Windows 10 version works fine and I even got it to split the files into pieces. It's the MS-DOS version I can't figure out. If it's able to reassemble the pieces, it doesn't say so anywhere. I tried simple things like unzipping and pkzipfixing the files but I got errors.

This is the first time I've ever heard the phrase "connect two pcs via null modem serial cable". Not one other person I've talked to either in person or online has mentioned it. I haven't the slightest clue what that is or how to set it up, and a few Google searches don't seem to turn up much. Would you mind explaining it briefly?

Reply 7 of 19, by EcoPeeko

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lolo799 wrote on 2020-04-17, 18:11:

Another option is using a compact flash adapter for the parallel port.

That sounds good, I have a 1GB compact flash card and a usb adapter to put files from my windows 10 pc on it, but where would I buy a parallel port compact flash adapter? I don't see any on amazon or ebay.

Reply 8 of 19, by Jorpho

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EcoPeeko wrote on 2020-04-17, 18:36:

I have an ordinary IDE CD-ROM drive laying around, but there's no space for one inside the pc case. It's a compact all-in-one thing. The only way to connect it would be externally via the rear parallel port. Is there a cable that could allow me to plug it in?

A parallel port CD-ROM is a rather unique and unusual piece of equipment. I don't think there's such a thing as an adapter into which you can just casually toss any old IDE CD-ROM drive. But then, I haven't really looked at them.

Parallel port Zip drives (which have absolutely nothing to do with Zip files) are another possibility, but those aren't very commonplace.

I have PKZIP for Windows 10

I could be mistaken, but I don't think there is anything to be gained from running the official PKZip for Windows. 7Zip and IZArc are popular archiving utilities these days.

running in Windows 95 compatibility mode since someone told me it's for 32 bit windows only

Most 32-bit programs run just fine without compatibility mode.

If it's able to reassemble the pieces, it doesn't say so anywhere. I tried simple things like unzipping and pkzipfixing the files but I got errors.

I see. PKUnzip is very picky about Zip files spanned over multiple disks; modern Zip programs are much more flexible.

Rather than messing with PKUnzip's obscure requirements, I suggest finding a Windows utility that can split arbitrary files; as I said above, no special utility is required to re-join a split file in DOS. I haven't had to look for such a utility for a long time but I'm sure there are many excellent free ones out there.

This is the first time I've ever heard the phrase "connect two pcs via null modem serial cable". Not one other person I've talked to either in person or online has mentioned it. I haven't the slightest clue what that is or how to set it up, and a few Google searches don't seem to turn up much.

You didn't find https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_modem#Cables_and_adapters ?

Null modem cables were a standard way of connecting two computers back in the day; even Doom supported multiplayer over a null modem cable.

[Edited]

Last edited by Jorpho on 2020-04-17, 19:23. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 19, by lolo799

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I can find plenty on ebay, look for "compact flash parallel".
I have 2 identical models from Datafab that I use with an old 486 laptop and an XT computer.
1GB cards don't work with my model though, only 512MB and lower.

PCMCIA Sound, Storage & Graphics

Reply 10 of 19, by EcoPeeko

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lolo799 wrote on 2020-04-17, 19:15:

I can find plenty on ebay, look for "compact flash parallel".
I have 2 identical models from Datafab that I use with an old 486 laptop and an XT computer.
1GB cards don't work with my model though, only 512MB and lower.

Oh I was searching parallel port instead of just parallel and it was cluttering up the results. Some listings have "compact flash" typed as "compactflash" too 🤣

I think one of these devices will be the easiest option for me (if it truly is plug and play). Having the ability to use a storage medium that isn't limited to 1.44 MB will solve literally all of my problems.

Reply 11 of 19, by Jorpho

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EcoPeeko wrote on 2020-04-17, 20:05:

I think one of these devices will be the easiest option for me (if it truly is plug and play).

Nothing that plugs into the parallel port will be completely plug and play and will inevitably require some kind of driver, which may or may not be easy to find. See for instance Parallel Port Compact Flash card reader for very old PCs .

Compact Flash to IDE adapters or SD to IDE adapters do not require drivers. (Compact Flash is in fact very similar to IDE.)

Reply 12 of 19, by lolo799

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Jorpho wrote on 2020-04-17, 20:23:

Nothing that plugs into the parallel port will be completely plug and play and will inevitably require some kind of driver, which may or may not be easy to find. See for instance Parallel Port Compact Flash card reader for very old PCs .

Compact Flash to IDE adapters or SD to IDE adapters do not require drivers. (Compact Flash is in fact very similar to IDE.)

Requiring a driver is the only negative thing, and you won't have to deal with faulty Zip drives (and needing a 2nd Zip drive with usb to transfer files from a recent computer), nor having to burn a CD every time you want to transfer files.

I have a parallel port enclosure for IDE drives with a KingByte chipset, it has drivers for Cdrom and hdd, it's handy when you really need to use a CD on an old laptop.

Someone i knew who had a Compaq Presario 425 or 433 had a Sound Blaster card with an external caddy Cdrom drive plugged into it.

If you really want to make it more complicated though, you could always get an ISA interface for PCMCIA cards, then you'd be able to use pcmcia Cdrom, network or compact flash cards at will, at the expense of more memory used.

PCMCIA Sound, Storage & Graphics

Reply 13 of 19, by hwh

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EcoPeeko wrote on 2020-04-17, 17:36:

2. Once the modem works, I need to plug an ethernet cable into my WiFi router. The Compaq has two ports on the back, one with a picture of a phone and one with a picture of a generic ethernet port. They seem to take either RJ11 or RJ12 plugs. I assume I'll be using the one with the generic symbol instead of the phone. The router, being much newer, uses RJ45. If I'm not mistaken that means I'll have to buy an adapter or a new ethernet cable with RJ11 on one end and RJ45 on the other.

They're all the same. Ethernet is ethernet.

So if what you have is a modem with a telephone and line connection, your system doesn't have an ethernet port.

Reply 14 of 19, by dionb

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How about some photos of your PC?

- rear external shot, with the available ports clearly in view
- internal top-down view of motherboards with the various chips visible

Might help figure out what you have & what your options are.

Onboard LAN would surprise me given the age of the system, but if you say 'generic ethernet symbol' it might just be there. If not... one option not already mentioned is a parallel Ethernet adapter such as the Xircom PE3. Not fast, but requires no more drivers than a regular ISA Ethernet card and far more elegant than swapping around media between systems (requiring reboots).

Reply 15 of 19, by chinny22

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Google of Presario 433 shows us what we are working with and external connectors, Onboard Modem with line out as the 2nd port.
http://eintr.net/systems/compaq/presario433/index.html

I'd say you have 3 realistic solutions, in order of my reconditions for convenience.

1) Network
You will need an ISA network card. Most will be 10mb, that's fine. People will swear by 3comm but as long as you stick with a brand name card that you can find drivers for you'll be fine.
Easiest most efficient and reliable for file transfers with a modern PC is mtcip.
https://www.brutman.com/mTCP/mTCP.html
IMHO the more fun way is to network whatever Windows you have installed but can be problematic with modern OS's
This Method takes the most effort to setup but once done it involves the least hassle.

2) IDE to CF or SD card.
Due to the case design you will have to open it up every time you want to swap it out but PC that age you'll be limited to 500MB or 8GB drive. enough as a recovery partition of sorts.

3) Null Modem cable.
Just uses serial port on the PC and maybe a USB to serial adapter on modern PC. but it's slow! Maybe not a bad idea to use pared up with option 2.

Anything else just isn't worth the hassle IMHO, I've a 486 with no CD drive and as long as you have a large hard drive and networked it doesn't matter.

Reply 16 of 19, by Oetker

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-04-20, 11:32:

2) IDE to CF or SD card.
Due to the case design you will have to open it up every time you want to swap it out but PC that age you'll be limited to 500MB or 8GB drive. enough as a recovery partition of sorts.

I think he could still use an adapter that has a rear bracket right?

Reply 17 of 19, by chinny22

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Problem is one 1 IDE header.
If OP want's to keep the original HDD then will need a long bit of cable between the Primary and Slave devices.
If replacing the HDD all together (and has slot free obviously) then no problem but I'm not sure if this is one of the Compaqs that has the BIOS installed on hidden a partition

Reply 18 of 19, by Jorpho

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-04-20, 11:32:

Just uses serial port on the PC and maybe a USB to serial adapter on modern PC. but it's slow!

Do USB-to-serial adapters work for that? I thought they had inadequate flow control, or something.

A parallel port transfer cable would be another option, possibly, but then modern computers don't tend to have parallel ports anymore either.

And for the sake of completeness there's also the possibility of using a floppy drive emulator like the GoTek, though that would still limit transferring files in 1.44 MB chunks.

Reply 19 of 19, by chinny22

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Jorpho wrote on 2020-04-20, 16:12:

Do USB-to-serial adapters work for that? I thought they had inadequate flow control, or something.

A parallel port transfer cable would be another option, possibly, but then modern computers don't tend to have parallel ports anymore either.

Not sure, maybe if you lower the baud rate?
I've transferred Cisco IOS files the console cable with a USB-serial adapter so as long as you stick with protocols such as XModem it should be ok?

and yeh figured if he doesn't have a serial port, not much chance of parallel either.

Jorpho wrote on 2020-04-20, 16:12:

And for the sake of completeness there's also the possibility of using a floppy drive emulator like the GoTek, though that would still limit transferring files in 1.44 MB chunks.

GoTek's are awesome and if that's your only way of getting files across the added reliability over actual disks is worth the price alone. but 1.44MB will leave you wanting something else sooner or later.