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Cloning 386 DOS laptops

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Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby RadioSouth » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:57 pm

Hi all,
I just picked up a spare 386 laptop running DOS. I'd like to transfer the files directly from my other 386 laptop but don't know the procedure or which cable to use ?

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Re: Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby DJP126 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:19 pm

I'm not sure if this would be the proper route or not, but it might get someone thinking. What about a null modem cable connected between the serial ports & using FTP?

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Re: Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby john9912 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:59 pm

Use a null modem serial cable between the two computer serial ports. There were a number of software packages available. I used to use LapLink 5 all the time. I'm sure if you did a search for LL5.exe (ll3.exe for version 3) you can find somewhere to download it from. I think Brooklyn Bridge was another one and an old pcAnywhere supported dos file transfers too. Easy to use, split screen configuration. Laptop 1 on left side of screen, laptop 2 on right side of screen. Highlight the files or entire directories you want to transfer and hit send. They also supported parallel cable transfer. It was a bit faster. You had to have a special parallel cable and they might not be as easy to find as the serial ones. Depending on how much data you are talking about and If you can wait an extra hour or two, just use the serial cable.
That was the easiest way to transfer files between computers that weren't on a network and were too big for floppies. could run Laplink from a floppy disk, no drivers to load like tape drives or Bernoulli box.

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Re: Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby RadioSouth » Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:11 pm

Thanks guys, no DOS command that would allow any clone or file transfer ? Unfortunately source machine has floppy drive that's OOS
and no online capability.

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Re: Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby GlennD » Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:07 pm

I seem to recall Fastlink has a mode where the software could be pushed through the serial port to the receiving computer.

When I setup a programming laptop with a bad floppy I took out the hard disk and used drive copy to clone the hard drive from a already setup laptop. Unlike Windows, DOS is easy to move. No registery entries to screw the process up.

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Re: Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby john9912 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:39 am

If you had the file transfer software loaded on one computer, there was a way to send it to the second computer through the serial port (parallel connections did not support this). I don't remember the syntax, first was a mode command, which setup the baud rate, parity, stop bits, etc, I don't remember the rest. It was a long time ago. I seem to remember fastlink or fastlynx or something like that too. That was a good program if I remember correctly.

Do you have ANY serial communication software on the laptop with the bad floppy drive? PC talk? xtalk? Procomm? something like that? that supported serial download file transfers? If so, you could transfer the exe file through that. These will work well for transferring one or two files, but not really god for transferring multiple files. You had to send the file from one computer, hit receive a file on the second computer, name the file for receive and it would transfer. You could even select a format that supported error verification/correction.

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Re: Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby k2hz » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:28 pm

I just had the same situation.

My trusty old Compaq LTE425 used exclusively for programming developed floppy drive problems.

Since I had set it up only to run RSS it had no COM programs or a modem.

I found the floppy had died because the rubber drive belt had deteriorated with age. I tried several used, supposedly refurbished floppy drives from various sources and all exact replacements had the same problems and generic floppy drives were not compatible. These drives all seem to have reached the end of life of the rubber belts.

I solved the immediate problem of a replacement RSS computer with the purchase of a good refurbished IBM desktop 4/25 and I installed all my RSS from original floppies but this left me with all my codeplug archives trapped on the LTE with no way to transfer them. I decided on a desktop as my new RSS computer since I had a similar situation with my older 386 laptop developing problems a few years ago and no parts available.

I could find no way to set up a file transfer program on the LTE but I did have the FileVan DOS and Windows programs and a parallel Lap Link type cable available.

The solution was to temporarily remove the hard drive from the LTE and connect it to another computer to write the FileVan install program to it and then put it back in the LTE.

There are two ways to do this. If the laptop hard drive is IDE/ATA (generally 1994 or later) you can get an inexpensive IDE/USB adapter and connect the drive to any PC with a USB port.

In my case, this would not recognize the LTE drive that was a non "ATA" compliant Conner and needed a BIOS that allowed the user to specify the drive heads, cylinders etc..

The solution was an inexpensive 2.5" to 3.5" HD adapter plug that allowed the LTE hard drive to be temporarliy installed as the secondary master (in place of the CD drive) in an old NEC 486DX66 I had available.

It came up fine as the "D" drive on that machine and I wrote the FileVan setup file to the LTE drive and then put it back in the LTE. I was then able to set up FileVan on the LTE and on the new programming desktop and I backed up all the files from the LTE laptop to my new computer.

Problem solved and the LTE can now import and export files to the desktop as needed with the FileVan connection.

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Re: Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby train_radio_guy » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:50 pm

Another thought would be to use an external storage device, such as a Iomege Zip Drive. They had supported DOS drivers, connected via the parallel port, and had 100 MB floppies, which worked perfect for file transfers between machines, that exceeded the capacity of a standard floppy.

The only trick would be to get the drivers on the source computer. Temporarily removing the drive, and connecting it to another PC, where you could drop the files on it, would work the easiest.

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Re: Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby kf4sqb » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:05 pm

Another route you could go is to use a 2.5" HDD to 3.5" HDD adapter, if you have one. Hook the drive out of the old computer to a different computer, OS irrelevant, and copy the desired files to that computer's HDD, then hook the drive from the "new" computer to the "different computer", and transfer the files to it. I've got a USB drive adapter that will adapt to 2.5", 3.5", or SATA HDD's, or CD/DVD drives to USB. I've used it to perform this very function several times. In fact, IIRC, thats exactly what I originally bought it for.
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Re: Cloning 386 DOS laptops

Postby JAYMZ » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:43 am

Are both computers the same model and configuration? Why not pull the drive, image it and put the image on the other drive. Problem solved and will probably only take a half an hour of your time.

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