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Running an important DOS Application

Hi,

I have the following problem:
We have an old (almost ancient) PC in the company that has been running the same software for about 20 years. The software is indispensable for us and there are no versions for newer operating systems.
The PC is now getting slower and slower and with every day we have the risk that the hard disk dies and with it the software is lost. The original installation file is on a floppy disk, but we have no idea if it is still readable and would have to buy a floppy reader first.

 

My task now is to get the whole thing running safely with as little money as possible.

It is about a logistic software, with which we calculate costs for framing paintings. We really need to be able to print from this software.

 

With DOSBox, the program runs on Windows 10, but we can not print. A few IT people before me have already tried to start the whole thing via DOSprint, but that doesn't work either (according to them).

The next problem: We don't have a test PC, so I have to develop a working system first so we can buy the things we need.

 

I thought of the following:

Either I build a cheap Win10 machine and try it with DOSBox and DOSprint, or I try to get the right hardware for an XP machine from somewhere, then clone the hard disk from the old PC and then put it into the new XP PC. Does this sound feasible? What would you guys recommend?

 

Thanks

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The easier way, buy a HDD and clone current HDD to a new one as emergency to prevent it total break down.

 

Then just spare others time to test in new cheap PC.

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4 minutes ago, Andrewtst said:

The easier way, buy a HDD and clone current HDD to a new one as emergency to prevent it total break down.

 

Then just spare others time to test in new cheap PC.

That's true, I have thought of that as well.

Might be the better thing to do at first, but we still need to replace that computer someday.

 

Is there anything I have to keep in mind when buying a HDD for this old thing?

With SSDs you have to do some kind of 4K-Alignment, does this affect HDDs as well?

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27 minutes ago, itzzzleo said:

That's true, I have thought of that as well.

Might be the better thing to do at first, but we still need to replace that computer someday.

 

Is there anything I have to keep in mind when buying a HDD for this old thing?

With SSDs you have to do some kind of 4K-Alignment, does this affect HDDs as well?

Your PC probably very old and cannot support current bigger capacity HDD.

 

Check the manual or online search what is the biggest capacity of HDD that PC can support. 

 

It is better don't use SSD, they will have issue on Windows XP that will reduce the life span of SSD due to Windows XP not support TRIM command.

PC: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, Gigabyte Geforce RTX 3080 Vision OC 10G, X570 AORUS Elite WIFI Motherboard, HyperX FURY 32GB DDR4-3200 RGB RAM, Creative Sound Blaster AE-9 Sound Card, Samsung 970 Evo Plus M.2 SATA 500GB, ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro M.2 SATA 2TB, Asus HyperX Fury RGB SSD 960GB, Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 3.5 HDD 2TB, Cooler Master MASTERLIQUID ML240R ARGB, Cooler Master MASTERFAN MF120R ARGB, Cooler Master ELV8 Graphics Card Holder ARGB, Asus ROG Strix 1000G PGU, Lian Li LANCOOL II MESH RGB Case, Windows 11 Pro (22H2).


Laptop: Asus VivoBook 15 OLED: Intel® Core™ i3-1125G4, Intel UHD, 8 GB RAM, Micron NVMe 512 GB, Windows 11 Home (21H2), Illegear Z5 SKYLAKE: Intel Core i7-6700HQ, Nvidia Geforce GTX 970M, 16 GB RAM, ADATA SU800 M.2 SATA 512GB, Windows 11 Pro (22H2).

 

Monitor: Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 49" 5120x1440 240hz HDR, LG UltraGear Gaming Monitor 34" 34GN850 3440x1440 144hz (160hz OC) NanoIPS HDR, LG Ultrawide Gaming Monitor 34" 34UC79G 2560x1080 144hz IPS SDR, LG 24MK600 24" 1920x1080 75hz Freesync IPS SDR.


Input Device: Logitech G913 Lightspeed Wireless RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Logitech G903 Lightspeed HERO Wireless Gaming Mouse, Logitech Pro X, Logitech MX Keys, Logitech MX Master 3, XBOX Wireless Controller Covert Forces Edition, Corsair K70 RAPIDFIRE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE Wireless Gaming Mouse, Logitech MK850 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combos.


TV Entertainment: LG 55" C9 OLED HDR Smart UHD TV with AI ThinQ®, 65" Samsung AU7000 4K UHD Smart TV, Nvidia Shield TV Pro (2019 edition), Apple TV 4K (2017 & 2021 Edition), Chromecast with Google TV, Sony UBP-X700 UltraHD Blu-ray, Panasonic DMP-UB400 UltraHD Blu-ray, LG SK9Y 5.1.2 channel Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res Audio SoundBar.

 

Mobile & Smart Watch: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Burgundy), Samsung Galaxy Watch4 (Green), Huawei Watch GT (Saddle Brown).

 

Others Gadgets: Logitech Z625 2.1 THX Speaker, Edifier M1370BT 2.1 Bluetooth Speaker, Sony MDR-Z1R, Sony WH-1000XM4, Apple AirPods Pro, Samsung Galaxy Buds2, Asus SBW-06D2X-U Blu-ray RW Drive, 70 TB Ext. HDD, j5create JVCU100 USB HD Webcam with 360° rotation, ZTE UONU F620, Maxis Fibre WiFi 6 Router, Fantech MPR800 Soft Cloth RGB Gaming Mousepad, Fantech Headset Headphone Stand AC3001S RGB Lighting Base Tower, Infiniteracer RGB Gaming Chair

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Clone and backup the hdd and find a pc with a floppy and copy that floppy. You can find an old xp machine for next to nothing (or nothing). Do this ASAP in case of disaster, and then play around to see if it will work in a newer machine.
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Thanks, will do that!

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Posted (edited)

If running DosBox within Win10, a simple solution for printing (if it can all fit on one screen), is to hold Shift, then press PrtScrn (Print Screen), which does a screen dump to the clipboard. This screen dump can then be pasted into Windows Paint 3D or most any other image editing software using Shift-Insert or Ctrl-V, and from there you need only trim the image and adjust the image editing app's print attributes to center and fit to the page as desired (landscape / portrait, etc). Kinda low-tech and primitive, but it should work. You're simply transferring a screenshot of the desired information from a medium that can't print it to another medium that can.

 

As to the existing PC, if it runs Win10, I presume it is new enough to have a SATA interface, and hopefully it is new enough to be SATA III. If so, it's likely a simple upgrade to a standard 2.5" or 3.5" SATA SSD with a fresh Win10 install and the required software will be sufficient. And in my experience with DOS machines back in the day, unless some obscure copy-protection was used, most DOS applications could simply be copied path-for-path from one drive to another.

 

But keep in mind the HDD isn't the only thing you need to worry about. Power supplies eventually fail as well, and I've seen one such failure nuke an entire system to the point the HDD was knocking its heads against the inside of its case. And if the one app is all this machine really needs to do, you don't really need an entire new build, you can likely score a decent refurbished i5 / i7 or early Ryzen workstation through Amazon or eBay for under $200.

 

However, if for some reason a simple cheap machine replacement or 2.5 / 3.5 SSD upgrade isn't feasible, and the machine has SATA III or can be upgraded with an interface card, I'd like to share a hack I'm doing on an older SFF workstation I'm repurposing as a web / media machine, that may help your situation in keeping this machine running. I had to improvise due to space and drive bay restrictions.

 

Below are three items needed to adapt a SATA M.2 to a SATA III interface. From left to right, a SATA power splitter adapter cable (may not be necessary in all situations), a SATA III to SATA M.2 adapter, and a cheap 256GB SATA M.2 SSD. Together, they create an extra drive that can even be used as a boot drive, and can tuck neatly away where nothing else can fit when space is tight.

 

The only thing required is an open SATA data control port, and if it is needed to be a boot drive replacement, it must be on the first SATA port and available for OS install. Total investment was around $31, though you can get faster and larger versions of the SATA M.2. NOTE: M.2s also come in NVME / PCIE3 / 4, and not all systems can boot from a PCIE card, the reason I chose this solution for my situation. An added bonus is that the original floppy installation files can likely be offloaded to a separate backup folder on this as well for long-term preservation. If this interests you as a viable option, check out this thread of how this idea came to me.

 

image.thumb.png.a00a546b19894cc36900cfed591283a2.png

Edited by An0maly_76
Revised, more info

MODERATE TO SEVERE AUTISTIC, COMPLICATED WITH COVID FOG

 

Due to the above, I've likely revised posts <30 min old, and do not think as you do.

THINK BEFORE YOU REPLY!

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@An0maly_76 If it's that old it's probably an IDE drive.
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You could always just run XP in a VM. Keep the VM paused so it’s always ready to be used, wouldn’t require much memory at all for an XP guest.

 

You could also just buy a used XP machine on eBay for 20 bucks.

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1 hour ago, LWM723 said:

@An0maly_76 If it's that old it's probably an IDE drive.

1 hour ago, Roswell said:

You could always just run XP in a VM. Keep the VM paused so it’s always ready to be used, wouldn’t require much memory at all for an XP guest.

 

You could also just buy a used XP machine on eBay for 20 bucks.

I'm not sure why XP keeps coming up -- OP has stated Win10 running DOSBox. Maybe it's to-may-toe, to-mah-toe, but I'm confused here as to why XP keeps coming up.

 

@LWM723 If it's running Win10, I doubt it, but in that case... This might work...

 

 

 

MODERATE TO SEVERE AUTISTIC, COMPLICATED WITH COVID FOG

 

Due to the above, I've likely revised posts <30 min old, and do not think as you do.

THINK BEFORE YOU REPLY!

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@An0maly_76 The pc is 20yrs. old. The win10 must be another pc, read the original post.
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