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XT / AT and a network

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    XT / AT and a network

    Hallo allemaal,

    I used to have a Novell Lite network for my DOS machines. To transfer files from my W7 machines to these DOS machines I first had to transfer it to a machine equipped with W98 and XP and running XP at that time and then I had to reboot to W98-DOS so I could run Novell Lite and transfer the files once again.
    In the mean time I have equipped various machines with XTIDE and the Universal BIOS that enables me to use CF cards. These can be written by the W7 machines and read by the DOS machines. In some occasions I simply use floppies or UFO, a LapLink equivalent.

    But I still wonder if there are possibilities to use the network again, but in a more simpler way. I found EtherDFS but it is meant for Linux and I have not enough experience with Linux. So any pointer or suggestion is welcome!

    Many thanks in advance!

    Kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen
    With kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen

    Mike Brutman has a great suite of TCP/IP / ftp / other network utilities. Easy to use and works on even the lowest spec'd 8088's.

    Check out

    I use it to connect to a simple FTP server hosted on my NAS. Works a treat - just remember when using Mike's FTP client that it defaults to ascii transfers. Type the command 'image' to set it to binary before copying files!
    System 80 Expansion Interface located! Thanks to all who helped out and the good people in the NZ vintage computer forums!


      As long as the target machine is a 386SX or better you can try parcp-usb. This one connects to the parallel port of historic PC or Atari ST, and on the other side to Win 2000-10, Linux or Mac OS-X via USB. And then you have a master to be started on the one side, and the client on the other side, and that client offers a Norton Commander like user interface. It can transfer between 70-120 kb/s, including folder structures.

      Very easy usage, no need to setup anything. It works just on the fly.


        I still use NWLite because it's lightweight enough that I can run games/software direct off the network share with any DOS PC - no upper memory, transfers, reboots, etc

        I virtualised my server with VMWare (VirtualBox didn't cut it) and have it share a folder mounted by DOS for Workgroups. That mounted file share is also shared over my modern samba network by the Linux host - so I can drop files on it and immediately run them directly on the old hardware (no reboots, no transfers, no slow downs).

        Downside is that it was horrendously complicated so I'm not sure if it meets the "simple" requirement, but it's an option.
        Twitter / YouTube


          I use LanMan and just use SMB sharing. To maintain the security of my newer machines I use a NAS unit with the older protocols enabled as an intermediary.


            I don't have a network set up for DOS machines at the moment, but when I did it ran NetWare. I find that NetWare works especially well on old DOS versions because it uses very little conventional memory compared to most of the others. Also, it's fast. I timed how long it took to launch an app on a PC XT from a local 10MB MFM hard disk, versus running the same app from a network drive and the network was considerably faster.

            I need to set up a NetWare server again but first I need to locate my old license diskettes. I know I saved them somewhere...


              Anyone know of a DOS TCP/IP client that has USB WiFi support? (e.g. Ralink RT7601)


                Originally posted by SpidersWeb View Post
                I virtualised my server with VMWare ... and have it share a folder mounted by DOS for Workgroups.
                My intermediate ran DfW as well so I'm familiar with it. But running it virtual, I never thought about that. I can give it a try at least.

                Downside is that it was horrendously complicated so I'm not sure if it meets the "simple" requirement, but it's an option.
                I don't see what is so "horrendously complicated" in the first place. And if it is, it is a one time operation. I don't need the intermediate PC anymore and therefore saving on hardware and time (handling an rebooting it).

                Many thanks for this idea!
                With kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen



                  Originally posted by 3pcedev View Post
                  Thank you, I will have a look at this.
                  With kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen



                    Originally posted by Ruud View Post

                    I don't see what is so "horrendously complicated" in the first place. And if it is, it is a one time operation. I don't need the intermediate PC anymore and therefore saving on hardware and time (handling an rebooting it).

                    Many thanks for this idea!
                    Yep there is no intermediate step required, and you can get (very cheaply) quiet Core 2 era machines with VT-x that can just sit and be left on in the background barely using any power (one of my servers uses a laptop power brick).

                    But getting everything setup did take a lot of trial and error, which is what I meant about the complicated. It's a bit much for most people but if you've got the time it's fantastic when setup and running.

                    I did it twice because I needed it at another physical location and also added things like making the machine also double as a gateway with dhcp/bootp, dns, iptables etc to keep the vintage networks off my main network - but not deny them internet or file sharing access.

                    In my file share setup, I was sharing a mounted network share in DOS. It is easier if you use D4WG as a server, but that didn't quite meet my requirements (I wanted the servers themselves to be able to back up contents, move things to USB drives etc).

                    Glad I inspired someone else to mess with it If you run in to issues with CLIENT/SERVER conflicts and NWLite send me a PM, I have a fix.
                    Twitter / YouTube


                      Depending on which way you want to do the networking, I did have a solution a few years ago involving VPC 2007, Windows 95, Interlnk and a parallel cable.

                      The old machine was connected to the modern machine with a parallel cable. On the old machine, I ran INTERSVR, then on the modern machine I installed Windows 95 inside a VPC 2007 VM with parallel port passthrough enabled. Within Windows 95 I enabled the option to let it use DOS mode storage drivers. This lets you install INTERLNK on Windows 95 and see the old machine's hard drive from within it. This INTERLNK connection in turn could be shared on the Windows 95 VM and then it could be accessed by the host machine as a network share (or indeed from any other machine on the network).

                      End result was being able to read/write to the old hard drive directly from a modern OS with the virtual 95 machine acting as a bridge.

                      Whilst this was fine for backing up old hard disks or moving downloaded files over to the old machine, it is unfortunately the 'wrong way around' if you were hoping to browse the modern machine's resources from the old machine, and of course INTERSVR ties up the old machine so it can't be used for anything else at the same time. That and VPC 2007 doesn't work properly/at all on newer versions of Windows and many new computers don't have parallel ports, although if you do have one you could probably substitute another virtualisation platform as long as it supports parallel port passthrough and also can visualise a network card which has Windows 95 drivers available. Possibly you could also substitute Windows 98 in too, although I don't know if that was able to directly use DOS storage drivers the way that 95 was?


                        Originally posted by Ruud View Post
                        I found EtherDFS but it is meant for Linux and I have not enough experience with Linux.
                        Hello Ruud, I'm quite late to the party, I know.
                        Myself I use a little RPi with the EtherDFS server onboard as a little NAS for my retro machines. I find such setup very convenient. If you're still looking for a "plug and play" solution, let me know - I can dump the image of my RPi and upload it somewhere for you, so all you'd have to do is write the image to an RPi and boot it (no Linux magic involved - well, not on your side that is).