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December 25, 2006 12:50 PM   Subscribe

5mb file on old computer needs to get transferred to new computer. Of course there is

Quick synopsis of the situation. My father needs a single old FamilyTree file off our pentium 166mhz computer to be transferred to our current computer.

The old comp has a Floppydrive available, but a floppy is too small for this single file (which is a whopping 5mb). On the old computer there is NO CD-R drive, NO ETHERNET CONNECTION in the back, only phone line in for dial-up that we dont have and ROGERS wont provide me with for the one hour I would need to upload it to the net. PKZIP is installed, but I'm not sure that would even help with such a large size file. And if it would its useless as I've forgotten my command lines long ago for DOS.

The old computer runs WIN95 barely. Could I run a phone line from one comp to the other to somehow transfer this file?

Make my Dad's Christmas a happy one and bare with this technologically inept son, to explain how to cross about 10 generations of computer tech as simply as possible.

posted by kevin_2864212 to Computers & Internet (26 answers total)
If the destination computer is not a laptop you should be able to pull the hard drive from the old machine and connect it to the DVD/CDROM ide connection that the new machine is using. Boot up the new machine and the old drive will probably be D: . Find your file and copy directly.
posted by roue at 12:57 PM on December 25, 2006

Response by poster: That was my last resort plan today.

I wish there was something less messy. I'd rather not open up either machine, especially the old one if possible.

Thanks though roue. I'm glad to know I should be able to do that with no real problem
posted by kevin_2864212 at 1:01 PM on December 25, 2006

If you have more than one disk, pkzip supports spanning a single zip file over multiple media... i'm sure a google search would fidn teh command, tho i'm pretty sure its pkzip -s filename a:
posted by softlord at 1:04 PM on December 25, 2006

I had a similar problem once, and found File Chopper to be an easy solution.
posted by crank at 1:10 PM on December 25, 2006

Does it have any USB ports? Try a thumb drive.
posted by matildaben at 1:14 PM on December 25, 2006

softlord's is probably the simplest solution, if you have floppies. You can also buy a serial cable at Radio Shack and use the Direct Cable Connection feature in Windows. (I haven't done this since the DOS InterLnk days, so can't say how easy it is in Windows.)
posted by IshmaelGraves at 1:18 PM on December 25, 2006

Response by poster: No USB ports. No INternet connectio
posted by kevin_2864212 at 1:18 PM on December 25, 2006

Correction: make that a serial cable with a null modem adapter, or a null modem cable.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 1:22 PM on December 25, 2006

Response by poster: Can I just copy this file across multiple floppy disks with WIN95 without pkzip? That would be easiest I feel
posted by kevin_2864212 at 1:23 PM on December 25, 2006

try zipping it first. pkzip -h is a help screen. find the command line switches for maximum compression.

there is usually a lot of 'air' in a data base file, and you might see a huge compression, but you have to try first. establish you have a problem before looking for more exotic solutions.

another alternative is FastLinx, which needs serial ports on both ends. Demo copy available. Handy to have on hand.

i have used programs like procomm and bitcom to do this, too, but you need a modem eliminator and/or a null modem cable (crossover rs-232, dual female connectors).

It can be done, but it may take some tinkering and can be frustrating.
posted by FauxScot at 1:37 PM on December 25, 2006

seconding kevin_2864212.. his way is way simpler.
posted by FauxScot at 1:38 PM on December 25, 2006

I also recommend using your zip program to span multiple floppy disks. It's not that hard. AFAIK there is no way to place a contigous unzipped file across multiple disks.
posted by dgeiser13 at 1:41 PM on December 25, 2006

both netzero and earthlink still have cheap dialup plans.
posted by rhizome at 2:00 PM on December 25, 2006

Why not just dig out the hard drive and put it in a new machine? Should be a FAT32 or FAT16 formatted Parallel EIDE. If you have open EIDE port on the machine you should be able to just plug it in.

You should be able to span the disk as well. I use winrar for dealing with zip files and it should run on windows 95 just fine, and it will split files into separate chunks for you to put on separate disks if need be. I'm not sure if your version of PKZIP will do this, but it probably will.
posted by delmoi at 2:02 PM on December 25, 2006

What softlord said. Use the span command to zip the file across multiple disks.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 2:07 PM on December 25, 2006

I'd try just zipping it first. A floppy will hold about 1.5 mb, and the file is 5mb. Databases tend to compress REALLY well, because they're mostly text and have lots of repetition in them. It's not uncommon to get 10:1 compression. There's a VERY good chance that your file will compress down to 500-600K or so.

If it doesn't, another possibility is WinRAR. You can have it break a file into chunks like zip, but generally the interface is easier. It's at
posted by Malor at 2:21 PM on December 25, 2006

I have copied files using a "Null Modem Cable" along with the built in windows terminal program.

If you don't have a null modem cable (who does these days?), you could just use the modem. You don't *need* an ISP to use a modem.

If you have 2 computers with modems, you can have one computer call the other. You may or may not need to use a local phone line; it may just work with a phone cable connecting the two of them. If you google "hayes modem command set" you can find the commands to play around with two modems and see if they can handshake with one another.

(Offhand, the very first thing I'd try is to connect the two modems by a regular telephone cable, and type "ATA" into the terminal of each one -- that's the "pick up the phone and connect" command)

Once you have a connection between the two modems, it should be a standard part of your modem software to send/receive files.

If this didn't work, as others have said, the PKZIP span options are your next best bet. Good luck
posted by cotterpin at 2:33 PM on December 25, 2006

Depending on your version of pkzip, this should work:
pkzip -add -span a:\ oldfile.dat

This is for version 2.5.
posted by Eddie Mars at 3:13 PM on December 25, 2006

I don't know if this has been said yet, but here's what I would do:

Pop the HD, take it to your local geek shop, ask them to put the file on your flash drive.

Odds are, they won't charge you to do it.
posted by SlyBevel at 5:04 PM on December 25, 2006

Too bad you're not in Utah. I was going to offer to do it for free.
posted by SlyBevel at 5:06 PM on December 25, 2006

Disk spanning with pkzip is the easy answer, provided the target computer has a floppy drive.

This is quick, easy, and painless. I've done it literally dozens of times.
posted by Ynoxas at 5:18 PM on December 25, 2006

Please report your experience.

The last time I tried something like this, I couldn't find 5 floppy disks that still worked.

Drive pulling was much faster and easier on the nerves.
posted by hexatron at 5:51 PM on December 25, 2006

I'll second FauxScot's suggestion of FastLynx. I actually used it a couple of years ago to transfer all the remaining data off my first PC (an XT clone running DOS which had been sitting in my parents basement for years, believe it or not), and it worked great.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 7:01 PM on December 25, 2006

Again: all the talk of spanning is premature. There's an excellent chance that the file will just fit on one floppy if you compress it.
posted by Malor at 7:10 PM on December 25, 2006

Tip for the compression: rar format in my experience usually achieves better compression than zip, sometimes significantly better. You should give both a try.
posted by markcholden at 11:17 PM on December 25, 2006

If the destination computer is not a laptop you should be able to pull the hard drive from the old machine and connect it to the DVD/CDROM ide connection that the new machine is using. Boot up the new machine and the old drive will probably be D: . Find your file and copy directly.

Roue's plan is by far the simplest, notwithstanding your reluctance to open the cases. Once you see how IDE devices like hard drives and DVD/CDROms are connected (they only fit one way), it's a trivial job to substitute the Hard drive for the CD.

Don't be intimidated by going in. It's only a matter of pulling the data and power cables from the CD and pluging then into the Hard drive. You won't need to physically remove the CD.There's probably a spare slot for the addded drive to sit while you boot up open boxed, swap the file over, shut down and reverse the connection.
posted by Neiltupper at 1:49 AM on December 26, 2006

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