View Full Version : Copying w95 over a serial port in DOS

September 26th, 2005, 10:30 AM
I got instructions from a site that to install a new harddrive in a machine. I'm talking win95. What it said do in a nutshell is set up the hdd as a slave, partition and format it as needed, then copy everything but one file and I can't remember what it is (I'm at school and don't have access to my things) and set the copied hdd as the master and boot up. What I'm doing is...

I have dos installed on a 4gig hdd in a laptop, have w95 on a 351mb hdd in another laptop, and I want to use laplink4 for DOS to transfer all those files over a null-modem cable on the serial port. They're both laptops so I can't slave a hdd to the main machine and I don't have one of those handy usb-ide adapters to copy the files on the networked main machine, HAL. Has anyone tried this before?

The last thing that was big like this was scan the laptop from HAL over the serial port with Norton and it took about 10 hours to scan the whole drive :) Just for kicks.

In Laplink4, do directories copy as well?

September 26th, 2005, 10:56 AM
Yes, directories should copy fine in there.

From that description it seems that even though you have just one harddrive in your laptop, the motherboard, being a standard PC compatible mother could accomodate 2 harddrives. And I believe that's what they are talking about here. you can't make a drive slave or master from laplink per se, however, I believe he's saying to take the laptop with hdd that has the windows installation and setup laplink as the client on that computer, and setup laplink as a host on the machine that will receive the files.

Because Windows will need to reidentify all the hardware so it can run properly, the file that you shouldn't copy would be user.dat which is, by default, a hidden, system, readonly file and contains standard windows configuration. not copying this file will force windows to create one on startup it will warn you it's doing this when it does.

Hope this helps

Terry Yager
September 26th, 2005, 01:15 PM
In Laplink4, do directories copy as well?

In LapLink, use the (L)og command to change to the directory you want, then issue the (G)roupTag command to tag all the files & sub-directories, then the (W)ildcopy command to transfer all. IIRC, Wildcopy alone won't copy the subdirectories, so they need to be Tagged first. So, LGW should do the trick. After copying is completed, the (Q)uit command will exit the program.


September 26th, 2005, 06:46 PM
Windows 95 ain't vintage.

September 26th, 2005, 10:08 PM
I think win95 qualifies as vintage. It's not supported anymore, it's about 10 years old, and it has a vintage, that is 1995. A decent year :)

I'm workign on this project now and I'll remember about user.dat. That file that I mentioned earlier is win386.swp.

CP/M User
September 26th, 2005, 11:24 PM
"mobilemaster" wrote:

> Windows 95 ain't vintage.

I agree, I brought my Pentium based machine in 1997 which came with Windows 95 Plus (don't know what the Plus bit mean't - perhaps the animation to go with my MMX based Pentium!).

I only just recently got a new machine - after years of constant nagging from the family - I brought up cheap though. I really happy with my choice of machine though. If they don't like it, then tough! ;-)

Personally if I picked between Windows 3.1 & 95, it would be 3.1 everytime, with the Calmira (?!?) Shell & WIN32S program, alongside OS/2 Warp v3 on a 486DX-2 66Mhz! ;-)
And DOS/GEM for anything below that with CP/M-86 v1.1 on a seperate partition! ;-)

But everyone to their own choice I suppose.

CP/M User.

September 26th, 2005, 11:29 PM
I'm going to be more clear on what I am doing. I have a toshiba with a 351mb harddrive with windows 95 on it. I have a Versa V with a 4gig hdd on it but dos only. I swapped the drives and got them both working in DOS only with no issues. Next, I would setup laplink4 on both machines. I would then copy windows from the Versa to the Toshiba. The objectoive is to upgrade the toshiba with the 4gig hdd and get it working. Secondary objective is to get the Versa working with the 351mb drive working, but the toshiba comes first. I got the drives swapped, got laplink set up on both and got them talking. Now I am copying the files from one to the other. I followed all of the advice as best I could and think I got all the subdirectories, too. I started transferring at 1:20, and it's been 23 minutes since I started. I am keeping notes for future reference. I am at approx 2% transfered. The indicator is broken into increments of eight sections, so I have to estimate. I think this is gonna take a while but I'm game!

I'll post more when I get more to post.

Terry Yager
September 27th, 2005, 08:25 AM
Yeah, sounds like you're doing things right. I forgot about the swap-file tho. It will refuse to copy, move, delete, or rename, and it won't let you change it's attributes, no matter what you do, IIRC.


September 27th, 2005, 01:06 PM
Even though I don't see 95 too much anymore, I don't consider it vintage (YET).

An easy way to copy a drive is to use Norton Ghost. Even if the drives are different sizes it will work. Just copying a drive won't work correctly. I've never just copied all the files over and had it work. Anybody done this successfully?

September 27th, 2005, 08:57 PM
It didn't work :(

It didn't copy all files that were selected and after going through it all manually the error "Windows does not run under this version of DOS..." I tried using bootdisks from different versions and win bootdisks too. It didn't work. So I reversed it all.

As to copying everything over, I did it with msoffice95, but not windows. Win was already there, and all I did was register the programs to the OS (NOT ms). I guess I'll be getting one of those neat usb-ide converters and try it that way. Copy the whole drive through my little dcc network. Toshiba>HAL>usbconnected drive.

It was a neat experiment though, and I had never really used laplink before so at least I learned a few things.

September 27th, 2005, 10:55 PM
There may be hidden or protected files and other issues that a regular file by file copy will not cover. You may have better luck with some disk duplication software. I've once used XXCOPY (free) which works best with pre-NT systems. For W2K, I downloaded an evalutation copy of Acronis a while ago to migrate from a 4 GB to 10 GB hard disk.

On the subject of fitting laptop disks in a regular PC, there are 2.5" to 3.5" adapters, and you should be able to get one for less than $10 (maybe even $5) if you have a well sorted and inexpensive computer dealer near you. It could come handy in many situations.

September 28th, 2005, 01:04 PM
Just to copy the drive you don't need the 5.25 to 3.5 plates but somebody makes an IDE converter so you can attach your laptop drive to your pc to transfer everything over, pretty sweet, I've used mine a few times. You can't just copy windows from one HD to another and expect it to work, Micro$oft took this into consideration when they designed (stole) 95. If you copy the cd win95 directory over to the laptop HD you can install windows from there.

Remember this is still licensed software you are dealing with :)

October 4th, 2005, 09:42 PM
Here are the instructions I followed for doing this. I found it. Sorry for such a long post but I wanted to give the source of my info.


Replace your master IDE hard drive (C:) without reinstalling Windows 95/98.

Your system has a run out of room, your hard drive is just to small and you want to add a new larger hard drive. The problem is you want to use the new drive as your bootable primary drive and use your old drive as a secondary.

This article will show you how to setup your new drive as a primary bootable drive C: and how to copy everything from your old drive to the new drive without having to reinstall Windows 95/98 and all of your applications.


1. Create boot disk

2. Set both drives to Master and set CD-ROM to slave

3. Mount both drives in cabinet (choose location that allows cables to be swapped)

4. Connect new drive to primary IDE channel (do not connect old drive or CD-ROM yet)

5. Boot from the floppy that you created in step one and Fdisk the new hard drive with or without partitions (depends on which version of windows)

6. Format with /s option (format c: /s) and format additional partitions if necessary.

7. Boot from hard drive to confirm format.

8. Power down.

9. Disconnect primary data cable from new drive

10. Connect primary data cable to OLD hard drive and secondary data cable to new hard drive (no need to connect CD-ROM yet)

11. Boot up, you should end up back in windows

12. Go to MyComputer you should see the new hard drive as D:

13. Check that there are only system files on drive D:

14. From MyComputer's command bar click on (View) make sure show all files is ON and hide system files is NOT checked.

15. Press CTRL+ALT + DEL and end all tasks except Explorer and Systray

16. Open MyComputer and DblClick on drive C: then open MyComputer again and DblClick on drive D: this will give you two windows one drive C: and one drive D:

17. Position the windows so you can see the files on both drives, click on the drive C: window, make sure that you are in the ROOT folder. Select all files except Win386.swp. RightClick drag selected files to the drive D: window and select copy.

18. Go have a cup of coffee or soda

19. After files have copied power down and remove data cables from both drives.

20. Connect primary data cable to new hard drive. (do not connect old drive or CD)

21. Boot up and if everything went ok you should have a copy of windows with all your installed apps on your new drive.

22. Check that programs work properly if so then power down, if not you must have missed a step. Not to worry though, just reconnect your old drive to primary data cable and try again.

23. If everything looks ok it's time to finish up by connecting old drive and CD to secondary data cable.

24. Boot up again and check that all drives are working and accessible.

25. Put the cover back on your done! :)

Note: Do not delete any files from old drive until you are sure everything tests ok. You can swap cables and boot to old drive if you encounter problems and you will be back where you started.

October 5th, 2005, 02:31 AM
A bit complex, but it should work. Rather than drag'n'drop copy files within Windows, I would download XXCOPY (http://www.xxcopy.com) and do as following:

1. Mount both hard drives, either on different IDE chains or one as master and one as slave.
2. Boot or exit to DOS, run FDISK and select the other hard drive. Create partition(s). If you are unsure which disk is which, you could follow the previous advice, boot from a floppy and perform this step with only one hard disk.
3. Format the new hard disk, the /s should be optional as you would replace the system files with your old ones anyway.
4. Open a command window or exit to DOS, if you not already are there.
5. Run the following command: XXCOPY C:\ D:\ /CLONE
6. Wait for the copy to finish. If some files refuse to copy, you can run the command again (says the manual).
7. Turn off computer, swap drives, run FDISK again to set active partition unless you already managed to do that before.
8. Now you should have an identical copy of the old system on the new hard disk.

Read more: http://www.xxcopy.com/xxcopy10.htm

The Win386.swp file will be regenerated on the new hard disk according to the location and size you have configured within Windows.