How to copy a DOS hard drive to another
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Thread: How to copy a DOS hard drive to another

  1. #1
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    How to copy a DOS hard drive to another

    Hey guys, I need to backup a DOS hard drive. The computer only has one RS 232 port. I've read about a command called XCopy but, I don't know how to hook another drive to this old PC to copy the files? I need a for dummies guide here.

  2. #2
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    OUCH.... Do you have another really pc that has space to let you move the current drive to it?
    "I have been wanting to grow my own food but I can not find any bacon seeds."

  3. #3
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    You would probably not want to try using an RS-232 port to transfer files unless it was absolutely the only way you could do it.

    More information would be helpful in suggesting options. Is the computer that this drive is in a standard model from a regular OEM computer maker (current or out of business)? If yes, post the make and model of the computer so we can check the specs on it. Otherwise, post the make and model of the hard drive itself so we can determine what interface it uses. Then we can decide how to connect it to another computer so you can copy the files.

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    Sorry for the late response. I just found the email in my spam folder so I didn't know anyone replied. The PC is a Packard Bell Model: PB430A

    Here is a pic
    Last edited by boomer_106; December 11th, 2020 at 11:51 PM. Reason: Add picture

  5. #5
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    According to the specs, that motherboard should have a standard PATA IDE connector on it, so you just need a second PATA IDE hard drive to attach to it. You may need to disconnect the CD drive. Then you can just copy/clone the existing drive.

    http://www.uktsupport.co.uk/pb/mb/430.htm

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdc2000 View Post
    According to the specs, that motherboard should have a standard PATA IDE connector on it, so you just need a second PATA IDE hard drive to attach to it. You may need to disconnect the CD drive. Then you can just copy/clone the existing drive.

    http://www.uktsupport.co.uk/pb/mb/430.htm

    So I would take a second hard drive. Plug it into whatever ribbon and power connector is available (unhook CD if need be) and then I can clone it by doing what exactly? I cut my PC teeth on windows so I don't know much about DOS

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    Finding a skilled local pc person is something to consider.

    Do you have another older PATA hard drive?
    "I have been wanting to grow my own food but I can not find any bacon seeds."

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    Is this computer only running the DOS OS? If yes, what version of DOS?

    If it is a DOS only computer, one way would be to disconnect the old hard drive, replace it with the new one, install the DOS OS (from floppies or whatever media you have), and then connect the old hard drive (disconnecting the CD drive if needed), and copy all of the files and folders from the old drive to the new drive (xcopy). I assume that you want the new drive to be bootable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve R Jones View Post
    Finding a skilled local pc person is something to consider.

    Do you have another older PATA hard drive?
    Yes, I have another drive. I have the original that came out of this Packard Bell PC. I simply took the drive we needed to use out of it's computer because the motherboard died in it. It was an exact fit into this pc. I even used velcro to attach the original hard drive inside the computer case, so that it wouldn't get lost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdc2000 View Post
    Is this computer only running the DOS OS? If yes, what version of DOS?

    If it is a DOS only computer, one way would be to disconnect the old hard drive, replace it with the new one, install the DOS OS (from floppies or whatever media you have), and then connect the old hard drive (disconnecting the CD drive if needed), and copy all of the files and folders from the old drive to the new drive (xcopy). I assume that you want the new drive to be bootable.
    Yes, only DOS. I believe it's 6.2 Both drives are already bootable. Yes, I need them bootable. I want to make an exact clone so that if one would crash, I simply pop the other one in and be back in business. If I can manage to do this, I may even clone another old drive so that I have two backups.

  11. #11
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    If both drives are already bootable, you would just need to copy the folders and files to the drive you want as the spare. You may need to copy the DOS startup files also, so that the proper software is loaded at boot time. Once that is done, you can try booting from the spare drive to make sure that everything works as it should.

    You did not say what exactly this old computer is used for. That might help us with suggestions.

    More possibly useful links:

    https://www.eevblog.com/forum/vintag...de-hard-drive/

    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...4dUDCAk&uact=5

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdc2000 View Post
    If both drives are already bootable, you would just need to copy the folders and files to the drive you want as the spare. You may need to copy the DOS startup files also, so that the proper software is loaded at boot time. Once that is done, you can try booting from the spare drive to make sure that everything works as it should.

    You did not say what exactly this old computer is used for. That might help us with suggestions.

    More possibly useful links:

    https://www.eevblog.com/forum/vintag...de-hard-drive/

    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...4dUDCAk&uact=5

    We use it for PLC programs in an industrial environment. If both are already bootable, why would I need to copy the DOS startup files? Wouldn't the old one have the files on it? Thank you for all of the help.

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    You may need to load device drivers or other system files on booting. autoexec.bat and config.sys files may need to be updated. You would want to make sure that the backup boot drive has the same boot setup as the current working drive. However, the backup drive may already have these files, with different entries or settings.

    https://www.computerhope.com/boot.htm

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdc2000 View Post
    You may need to load device drivers or other system files on booting. autoexec.bat and config.sys files may need to be updated. You would want to make sure that the backup boot drive has the same boot setup as the current working drive. However, the backup drive may already have these files, with different entries or settings.

    https://www.computerhope.com/boot.htm
    I do have some disks if need be. Do I need to format the drive first or could I just do something like this? xcopy *.* /e Where e would be the letter of the drive I want to send the files to?

  15. #15
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    If you have the same version of DOS on both hard drives, and both are currently bootable, you should just need to transfer the files/folders needed and update the startup files if necessary, and then test the new drive to make sure it works as needed.

    If both hard drives are connected, with the old one as C: and the new one as D:, then you can just:

    xcopy C: D: (any switched you want go here)

    Links:

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/win...commands/xcopy

    https://www.lifewire.com/xcopy-command-2618103

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