How to transfer a large file over dialup?
July 9, 2006 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Please help me work out how transfer a 28Mb file over dialup internet from a machine running Windows 98SE, via an easy-to-use, failsafe/resumable transfer method.

I am building a new PC for my father, who lives in Australia (I live in the US). I need to find a way to transfer (via the internet) a 28Mb file from his machine (a PII with 64Mb RAM, Windows 98SE, on a SLOW dialup internet connection). He does not have a CD burner. The single file is an archive of all of his emails from Outlook Express so that I can prep his new machine with his existing emails. I have tried everything I can think of to do this. Email appears to partially work.. his OE splits up the large file into smaller attachments automaticaly and I get file 1/20, 2/20 etc. Gets up to about 8/20 then his net connection 'stops responding' and I get 1/20, 2/20 etc when it starts again. It never gets past about 12/20 before restarting. About five times later he killed it from his outbox on my advice. I run an FTP server on my machine so that transfer method is not out of the question. But it needs to be an automatic, resumable technology so I can set and forget on his machine and if he drops out of the net, when he connects again it'll do an FTP APPE and continue transferring until completion. Therefore, something like Tango Dropbox ( looks perfect but requires the .NET framework and remember, he's on Win98SE. A webpage like is not an option since if his net connection drops out he'll have to start again. I investigated MicroFTP ( but the blasted thing doesn't resume. He has an old version of Miranda but the file transfer via ICQ doesn't seem to engage with my newer version. His old PC is riddled with a virus and trojans galore and due to the specs, even remote control via VNC is absolute torture. Many packages abort with CRC failures during setup due to the virus altering them at time of execution.
posted by cyniczny to Computers & Internet (23 answers total)
Create a torrent and a tracker hash and then, rather than posting the link to a public place, just have it e-mailed to you.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:28 AM on July 9, 2006

Filezilla is an open source ftp client/server program with lots of features, including resuming downloads, with a nice graphical interface.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:42 AM on July 9, 2006

Low tech solution: cheap 32MB USB key + mailbox.

It's not free, but it'll probably save you some aggravation.
posted by Drunken_munky at 11:45 AM on July 9, 2006

Drunken_munky, you must not know of the difficulty of using a USB key and Win98. That is not a "solution," but simply a recipe for different headaches, I assure you.
posted by MrZero at 11:55 AM on July 9, 2006

Opps, drivers!

Your right, it's been quite some time since I've last had to use a Win9x box.
posted by Drunken_munky at 11:57 AM on July 9, 2006

I'd say you just need to find the right FTP client. Over the years I would guess that people have written hundreds of various FTP apps for windows so there should be no problem finding one that supports the features you need and will run with limited memory.

Plan B would be just use WinRAR and create a multipart archive. This lets you transfer the thing without having to resume a transfer, as you can just pick up from the beginning of whatever part it stopped on without losing much. You should create a zip/rar for this file regardless, so that you can ensure it wasn't corrupted in transit.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:26 PM on July 9, 2006

Low tech solution: CDR + mailbox.

Why not split it into smaller parts using RAR or WinZip, and email each part separately?
posted by neckro23 at 12:28 PM on July 9, 2006

I've used Win98SE all over the place with USB drives galore, without trouble. It's not some complicated endeavor that even involves a setup file to corrupt, it's just an eensie driver, no installshield.
posted by vanoakenfold at 12:33 PM on July 9, 2006

Doesn't winzip (or rar or whatever), permit segmenting of compressed files?

Send each of the segments seperately in an email. Reassemble on the other end.

(researching...yes...found one)
7-Zip file manager has the ability to do this.
posted by filmgeek at 12:34 PM on July 9, 2006

Have him pull the hard drive and mail it?

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of quarter-inch tapes. Or a 747 full of hard drives or DVDs.
posted by loquacious at 12:41 PM on July 9, 2006

But, yeah, considering your description of the state of his OS, the reliability of it and the sheer lack of stability and remote access, getting your hands on the drive itself would probably be the safest and best practice. The longer he waits the more likely it'll be that he loses everything.

Package the drive well and all that.
posted by loquacious at 12:43 PM on July 9, 2006

How about using rsync? I'm not particularly familiar with doing this Windows < -> Windows but I've used it Windows < -> UNIX for years. While it's primary use is for transferring deltas between filesets it can be used to transfer files once and it's definitely resumable.
posted by pierow at 12:51 PM on July 9, 2006

The other option that works brilliantly in cases like this is a program called PC Anywhere. Not only can you remotely control the desktop, but it has a support download manager which can be restarted at any point.

A few years back I had to snag 50meg plus data files from a remote warehouse running a win98 box and dial up. Never failed and you could always resume the download if problems.

PC Anywhere also supports secure IP connects meaning pops can log onto his Telsta dial-up and just sit and watch you do the hard work.

If you want some help setting it up shoot an email.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 12:56 PM on July 9, 2006

Maybe one of the online services like
posted by whatisish at 1:28 PM on July 9, 2006

Can we please try reading the post?

neckro23: "Low tech solution: CDR + mailbox."

The poster said, "He does not have a CD burner".

whatisish: "Maybe one of the online services like"

The poster said, "A webpage like is not an option since if his net connection drops out he'll have to start again."

Funmonkey1: "The other option that works brilliantly in cases like this is a program called PC Anywhere."

The poster said, "even remote control via VNC is absolute torture."
posted by Rhomboid at 2:08 PM on July 9, 2006

Does your father have a friend with high speed internet?
posted by chrisch at 2:27 PM on July 9, 2006

(Ah, yes. Didn't notice the "from" bit.)

On second thought, I think loqacious has the right idea. Uploading via slow dialup would take hours regardless of how it's done, and there's no guarantee of success.
posted by neckro23 at 2:38 PM on July 9, 2006

How about Hyperterminal over a telnet connection using Zmodem? That has automatic resume, so if the connection gets lost, it will automatically pick up where it left off...

There are some instructions on using Hyperterminal under Windows 98 here.
posted by baggers at 3:49 PM on July 9, 2006

NcFTPPut is a command line FTP client that has automatic retries, automatic redialing and resuming.

Starting in safe mode with networking support will maybe not load the virus in memory. Otherwise, you'd need to get him a bootable CD (e.g. Damn Small Linux or BartPE)
posted by Sharcho at 7:32 PM on July 9, 2006

Where's your father located?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:16 PM on July 9, 2006

Response by poster: AmbroseChapel: Queensland.
posted by cyniczny at 7:05 AM on July 10, 2006

If it was Sydney I'd offer to help out IRL. Worth a try.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 6:02 PM on July 10, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks anyway, Ambrose.
posted by cyniczny at 6:54 AM on July 12, 2006

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