VOGONS


First post, by starbond6

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I have an old Dell XPS P100 machine that ideally is for use with Windows 95, and thus has no USB ports. Usually when I set up a new PC (like win 98+) I put all the games/isos/drivers on a usb drive and copy them to the computer.
With this machine, is my only option just burning CDs with the data on them and copying them to the HD?

background info on the pc in question: http://www.computer-specifications.com/specif … 100C-Specs.html

Reply 3 of 17, by Cuttoon

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Usually, network is the way to go. I guess the 3com PCI cards are abundant and easy to handle. Having a 100 Mbps will make a difference, but not too much in practical use. You can connect two machines peer to peer over a crosslink cable, no access to a switch or router needed, if your newer rig is wifi only.
(not that 100mbps switches cost money, but it's a clean solution.)

If too much of a pain to set up, consider a live CD with some tiny linux that will access both network and HDD - but probably no fun without cd boot option 😉

On initial setup, just hook up the HDD to the other machine via USB bridge or PCI controller - bound to be the fastest option.

Those converters, the more elegant ones come with an expansion slot bracket, so the cf or sd card can be exchanged from the back. Somewhat more convenient might be one of those HDD swap frames that will look clean in a 5.25 bay but allow you to extract the card from the front. None of those are hot swappable in a legacy system, afaik.

I like jumpers.

Reply 4 of 17, by paradigital

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On machines where I don’t have the option of USB, I tend to have IDE to CF or TF adapters for the boot volume, so simply power off, remove the card and write to it from my main (modern) PC.

I also have a couple of PCs that have internal IDE ZIP 250 drives that I use to transfer files with a USB ZIP drive on my main PC.

FTP is my backup goto option, to a local network FTP server (don’t really want those retro machines getting to the interwebs).

Finally I also use a couple of GoTeks on a few simpler DOS machines.

Reply 5 of 17, by starbond6

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Thanks for the answers. I do have a patch cable somewhere in my closet so network might be the way to go.
I actually have a CF>IDE converter but on two separate occasions I installed an OS on it, had everything going good then suddenly the card was corrupted and I had to format the whole thing. My partition program showed the card as being full, but no folders were shown at all. This happened twice and now I've gone back to using HDDs for the computer. But I can see the value in being able to take the card to my main PC and transfer the files back and forth. But I wonder if the constant card in and out (power off of course) mightve caused something to get corrupted over time.
Maybe I'll get smart and install the OS and create a CF image so if the card get corrupted again I can just reimage the whole thing.. 😀

Reply 6 of 17, by paradigital

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You could always use the CF card as D:\ instead.

I tend to see problems using non-industrial CF cards. Industrial ones (like those used in Cisco routers) are designed to run the underlying OS and therefore have better resistance to read/write cycles than the consumer grade junk.

Reply 9 of 17, by RandomStranger

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1. Yes, network is good if it's already set up and it's not the NIC driver you need.
2. Put the HDD of the XPS in another PC and copy over whatever you need (mobil rack recommended for convenience).
3. Laplink cable (especially useful for laptops where #2 is not straightforward)

sreq.png retrogamer-s.png

Reply 10 of 17, by keenmaster486

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I have also used the serial port with a null modem cable in the past, but it's slow.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 11 of 17, by Jo22

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^File transfer over serial Null Modem in DOS?

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 12 of 17, by Zeerex

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My vote is networking always. If you already have a NIC in there, the easiest way to transfer files is simply sharing the C: drive or some subfolder and you can access the share from OSX and Linux natively, and can be enabled in Windows 10 via turn on windows features (SMB 1.0) - then drop files to it.

Alternatively you can always just buy a PCI USB card, can be had found on eBay shipped for 10 bucks often.

Reply 13 of 17, by dormcat

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Zeerex wrote on 2022-05-02, 20:24:

Alternatively you can always just buy a PCI USB card, can be had found on eBay shipped for 10 bucks often.

Got the exact same MB as the OP but with a different CPU: a Dell XPS P120c. I've tried two USB expansion cards on it: one with OPTi FireLink 82C861 chip, the other with VIA VT6212L chip.

After installing the driver and inserting the card, OPTi gave me no message whatsoever. Win98SE didn't pick up the card as if I've never inserted it. OTOH the VIA card gave me no POST but continuous warning beeps, forcing me shutting the power down. 🙄 In the end I chose to stick with CF-IDE.

Reply 14 of 17, by Sphere478

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starbond6 wrote on 2022-05-02, 15:18:

I have an old Dell XPS P100 machine that ideally is for use with Windows 95, and thus has no USB ports. Usually when I set up a new PC (like win 98+) I put all the games/isos/drivers on a usb drive and copy them to the computer.
With this machine, is my only option just burning CDs with the data on them and copying them to the HD?

background info on the pc in question: http://www.computer-specifications.com/specif … 100C-Specs.html

Rewritable cd is pretty handy. If the drive can read them.

Sphere's PCB projects.
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Reply 16 of 17, by imi

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I just do CF cards, is the quickest and least complicated for me, no need to set up a network or shares, and it's quicker too when copying to a CF card with ~35MB/s
just gotta keep them accessible on the systems.

Reply 17 of 17, by Tetrium

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starbond6 wrote on 2022-05-02, 15:18:

I have an old Dell XPS P100 machine that ideally is for use with Windows 95, and thus has no USB ports. Usually when I set up a new PC (like win 98+) I put all the games/isos/drivers on a usb drive and copy them to the computer.
With this machine, is my only option just burning CDs with the data on them and copying them to the HD?

background info on the pc in question: http://www.computer-specifications.com/specif … 100C-Specs.html

No. There is tons of options available. Using a network seems to be the most popular way on this forum to transfer files to retro rigs, and rightfully so.
Obviously you'd need to have at least 2 PCs running at the same time and at least some networking knowledge which shouldn't be too hard.

Then there's also sneakernet and its various iterations 😋
It's usually slower and you'd probably need more specific parts up front, but the advantages are that you can use it similarly to how you use your USB drives, except using different types of media. Advantage would be that methodically speaking it's something you're probably already used to doing.

CF cards are one for example that could be used in such a way, but there's also things like using ZIP drives if you fancy something like that.
CDRW is another option, though I prefer transferring my harddrive over this method as personally I find burning CDRs somewhat tedious.

Personally I like the method of using storage media as I don't typically network my rigs (except when it's for online gaming sessions for which we require vastly more recent rigs) as I can copy all of my standard stuff once, then use this storage media over and over again. At some point I noticed I was eventually using the same programs and tools anyway, so standardizing this was just easier for me.

And there's the good ol' standard floppy disk which for my personal tastes is ehh...a real retro experience but not the most optimal way to transfer data these days 🤣

Personally I tend to slave a drive to another rig and just copy all required files then and there, in a single go (unless I forgot something...which I usually do xD).

I'd say use whatever method you find the most fun to use and best fits your personal requirements 🙂

In short, my favorite ways for these older rigs are USB ZIP, USB stick or slave a HDD + copy data over.
I'll use floppy disks if I need to put something really simple quick onto a rig that doesn't have USB, but virtually all my rigs have USB (not using my 486 anymore since I couldn't be bothered to fix the weird mouse issues it has).

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My retro rigs (old topic)
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