VOGONS


First post, by JK1984

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I’m looking for options on the easiest way to make back up of an entire hard drive from a 486 computer that I recently acquired. The hard drive has all the original software still installed, just like if you purchased it today 30 years later. I’d really like to preserve this.

The easiest way I can think of would be to use an IDE compact flash adapter (which I have no experience with) But unfortunately with the way the case is set up I cannot mount it with a pci bracket as planned. I only have one IDE channel and I wouldn’t be able to physically connect the adapter with the same IDE cable from the front of the case to the back of the case.

I could mount the compact flash adapter in the 5.25” bay under the cd rom drive. But I’m not thrilled with having the adapter mounted on the front of the case (externally), especially If I can’t find a close match with the case color. (Beige/light grey) If I tried to mount the adapter internally, I’m not sure if I’d have enough clearance to change flash cards. It’s a pretty tight squeeze in there.

The last option would be to buy an ISA IDE controller card and connect the compact flash adapter with that so I can use a PCI bracket mount. But I’m not sure if that would be ideal? Or if it would cause any conflicts considering I have my CD ROM drive connected to my sound card. Plus I’d be using up precious real-estate.

I have also tried connecting the hard drive as a slave to another system I have but the BIOS doesn’t recognize the drive at all.

In the end, running through all these options, I may have to settle with temporarily connecting the adapter to copy the files and then disconnecting it when done.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Reply 2 of 25, by JK1984

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verysaving wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:13:

What's the size of the hard drive?
Model?

I actually have two hard drives to back up for two different systems.. same issues as I described for both systems.

210 MB - Conner - CFS210A
85MB - Conner - CP30084E

Reply 4 of 25, by stamasd

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Network card, packet driver and backup to ftp server that you run on another computer.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 5 of 25, by andre_6

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When I got my 486 the seller asked if I could get the HDD data for him, I did the slave drive connect to another computer solution. The computer I used for it was a Pentium III with an Asus CUSL board. If you have access to another system from someone else with any kind of Pentium with USB you should be all set, it's one of the fastest and cheapest methods. Just bring a cable along

Reply 6 of 25, by JK1984

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verysaving wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:29:

I mean what's the size and model of the hard disk you need to backup

They both are in my previous reply..

210 MB - Conner - CFS210A (System 1) https://www.computerhope.com/hdd/hdd0018.htm
85MB - Conner - CP30084E (System 2) https://www.computerhope.com/hdd/hdd0047.htm

Reply 7 of 25, by JK1984

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andre_6 wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:34:

When I got my 486 the seller asked if I could get the HDD data for him, I did the slave drive connect to another computer solution. The computer I used for it was a Pentium III with an Asus CUSL board. If you have access to another system from someone else with any kind of Pentium with USB you should be all set, it's one of the fastest and cheapest methods. Just bring a cable along

I tried a Socket 7 Pentium system and my Socket 478 Pentium 4 system - both times the hard drive wasn't detected by the BIOS. I may give it another go at it tomorrow.

Reply 8 of 25, by andre_6

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JK1984 wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:39:
andre_6 wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:34:

When I got my 486 the seller asked if I could get the HDD data for him, I did the slave drive connect to another computer solution. The computer I used for it was a Pentium III with an Asus CUSL board. If you have access to another system from someone else with any kind of Pentium with USB you should be all set, it's one of the fastest and cheapest methods. Just bring a cable along

I tried a Socket 7 Pentium system and my Socket 478 Pentium 4 system - both times the hard drive wasn't detected by the BIOS. I may give it another go at it tomorrow.

May sound stupid but re-check the jumper settings and cable connections just to be sure it really didn't work with those PC's. Sometimes we have very compact setups or layouts that require us to be underneath tables or in uncomfortable spots or positions fiddling around with stuff for temporary tasks like this one, and it's very easy to miss something.

If it doesn't work I would ask someone else with vintage PCs. It's a quick and not that invasive task so nothing to worry about for either party

Reply 9 of 25, by JK1984

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andre_6 wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:50:
JK1984 wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:39:
andre_6 wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:34:

When I got my 486 the seller asked if I could get the HDD data for him, I did the slave drive connect to another computer solution. The computer I used for it was a Pentium III with an Asus CUSL board. If you have access to another system from someone else with any kind of Pentium with USB you should be all set, it's one of the fastest and cheapest methods. Just bring a cable along

I tried a Socket 7 Pentium system and my Socket 478 Pentium 4 system - both times the hard drive wasn't detected by the BIOS. I may give it another go at it tomorrow.

May sound stupid but re-check the jumper settings and cable connections just to be sure it really didn't work with those PC's. Sometimes we have very compact setups or layouts that require us to be underneath tables or in uncomfortable spots or positions fiddling around with stuff for temporary tasks like this one, and it's very easy to miss something.

If it doesn't work I would ask someone else with vintage PCs. It's a quick and not that invasive task so nothing to worry about for either party

It is possible I may have missed something. But I’ll double check again

Reply 10 of 25, by verysaving

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What's the other system you used to connect the disk?
Those old drives most likely don't support LBA so modern PC
don't recognize them.
I use and old pc (not so old indeed, it's a low end P4) to deal
with old HDs, but I connect them on the secondary channel to avoid
struggling with jumpers setting (some hd really likes to be alone ...).
I would suggest you to hook the drive to a secondary channel with
no other devices attached, then boot to plain DOS and, even if
BIOS don't recognizes it, run MHDD. (download from here :

https://hddguru.com/software/2005.10.02-MHDD/ )

If the drive is working fine, pressing F3 should detect it and
show its ID (MHDD works directly with IDE controller, and don't
cares about BIOS); at this point you could simply make an image
of the whole drive with the command TOF, but you need a FAT or
FAT32 partition to store the file, since you are under DOS.
I have a dedicate FAT32 formatted HD, with can boot into WIN98
real mode DOS, with plenty of room to image such small HDs, and
lot of tools to deal with them.

Edit:
I read you used a S7 and a P4 after I wrote this post.

Reply 11 of 25, by JK1984

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verysaving wrote on 2022-01-31, 02:13:
What's the other system you used to connect the disk? Those old drives most likely don't support LBA so modern PC don't recogni […]
Show full quote

What's the other system you used to connect the disk?
Those old drives most likely don't support LBA so modern PC
don't recognize them.
I use and old pc (not so old indeed, it's a low end P4) to deal
with old HDs, but I connect them on the secondary channel to avoid
struggling with jumpers setting (some hd really likes to be alone ...).
I would suggest you to hook the drive to a secondary channel with
no other devices attached, then boot to plain DOS and, even if
BIOS don't recognizes it, run MHDD. (download from here :

https://hddguru.com/software/2005.10.02-MHDD/ )

If the drive is working fine, pressing F3 should detect it and
show its ID (MHDD works directly with IDE controller, and don't
cares about BIOS); at this point you could simply make an image
of the whole drive with the command TOF, but you need a FAT or
FAT32 partition to store the file, since you are under DOS.
I have a dedicate FAT32 formatted HD, with can boot into WIN98
real mode DOS, with plenty of room to image such small HDs, and
lot of tools to deal with them.

Edit:
I read you used a S7 and a P4 after I wrote this post.

Thanks I’ll look into this. I’ll probably end up disconnecting my CD-ROM drive in my Socket 7 system (which has windows 98) and try the drives out on its own along with the software you linked. Seems very handy and useful to have.

Reply 12 of 25, by Pierre32

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stamasd wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:32:

Network card, packet driver and backup to ftp server that you run on another computer.

Absolutely this IMO. Chuck it on the LAN, run the mTCP FTP server, then grab everything from your modern rig with Filezilla.

Reply 13 of 25, by JK1984

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Pierre32 wrote on 2022-01-31, 02:29:
stamasd wrote on 2022-01-31, 01:32:

Network card, packet driver and backup to ftp server that you run on another computer.

Absolutely this IMO. Chuck it on the LAN, run the mTCP FTP server, then grab everything from your modern rig with Filezilla.

Unfortunately I dont have any ISA network cards

Reply 14 of 25, by dionb

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JK1984 wrote on 2022-01-31, 02:55:

[...]

Unfortunately I dont have any ISA network cards

A lot of PCI cards can also work under DOS - if your 486 has PCI slots, of course.

In any event I'd recommend keeping an eye out for a good ISA NIC for old systems like this, the ubiquitous 3Com 3C509B/C cards are versatile, generally hassle-free and drivers are easy to find. But that's more a suggestion for the long term rather than one to help right now.

Reply 15 of 25, by JK1984

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dionb wrote on 2022-01-31, 08:30:
JK1984 wrote on 2022-01-31, 02:55:

[...]

Unfortunately I dont have any ISA network cards

A lot of PCI cards can also work under DOS - if your 486 has PCI slots, of course.

In any event I'd recommend keeping an eye out for a good ISA NIC for old systems like this, the ubiquitous 3Com 3C509B/C cards are versatile, generally hassle-free and drivers are easy to find. But that's more a suggestion for the long term rather than one to help right now.

Unfortunately this 486 is ISA only. But i definitely will look into grabbing a network card. Thank you for the info

Reply 16 of 25, by Solo761

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How about something like this?

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000479523983.html

I have one and so far it worked fine. Supports IDE, 40 and 44 pin versions, and SATA. Although I didn't try HDDs so old, 40 GB was the oldest 😀.

But these should be IDE drives, or better said AT-IDE, not XT-IDE and they should work. With some kind of adapter of this kind you can easily connect it to modern computer and even make an image out of them. And of course, copy files from it.

Reply 17 of 25, by jskyboo

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JK1984 wrote on 2022-01-31, 00:54:

I only have one IDE channel and I wouldn’t be able to physically connect the adapter with the same IDE cable from the front of the case to the back of the case.

Could you do this option with an IDE extension cable? What size is the case?

Reply 18 of 25, by douglar

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Solo761 wrote on 2022-02-01, 09:55:
How about something like this? […]
Show full quote

How about something like this?

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000479523983.html

I have one and so far it worked fine. Supports IDE, 40 and 44 pin versions, and SATA. Although I didn't try HDDs so old, 40 GB was the oldest 😀.

But these should be IDE drives, or better said AT-IDE, not XT-IDE and they should work. With some kind of adapter of this kind you can easily connect it to modern computer and even make an image out of them. And of course, copy files from it.

They should work, but they don't always work. I have a 240MB Quantum pro drive that doesn't work when connected to IDE controllers from 2004 or newer. The heads clang & reset like crazy; like it is seeking an impossible geometry. Drive sounds like it is having major malfunctions. This includes the modern IDE to USB adapters that I've tried. I almost put it in the trash. But I tried it in a 486 and it worked fine. The drive works when connected to ISA IDE controllers or early PCI EIDE controllers. Based on the age of controllers that it works with, I suspect the drive doesn't handle things correctly if the controller tries LBA instead of CHS, but that's just a guess.

Reply 19 of 25, by JK1984

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Got an update.. I ended up connecting the drives as master to the secondary IDE channel on my socket 7 system and to my surprise it was recognized. I was able to copy the entire hard drive over for both drives. So currently I'm set with getting copies of the drives.. But I'm still looking into the compact flash adapter. I may look into an IDE extension cable.

As far as the case size.. its a normal desktop case for that time period. Both computers are Acer Acros's just different models. See attached photo.

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