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Old 11-14-2019, 11:29 AM   #1
Mill J
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Cool Any Ideas On Transferring Data To/From Ancient Laptop?


Hello,

I've got an ancient IBM ThinkPad 755CE(no docking station). My problem is I don't have any other computers with a working floppy drive. I'm not sure how to transfer files on/off of it. Is there anyway to connect it to an Ethernet port on a router? It seems to have a regular telephone plug instead of Ethernet.

This laptop is purely for fun, it's the first time I tinkered with win 98 My goal is at least installing KolibriOS or Tiny Core. Is it possible to dual boot with win98?

Any tips and tricks would be appreciated.

Thanks

Mill J
 
Old 11-14-2019, 11:41 AM   #2
uteck
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Does it have a serial port? Might be able to use telnet from that if so.
Amazon has RJ11 (the telephone plug) to serial adapters. If your other machine does not have serial, then you need USB to serial adapter. Makes quite the franken-cable.
 
Old 11-14-2019, 11:49 AM   #3
cantab
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A quick Google says the laptop has a PCMCIA card slot. If correct, you should be able to get an ethernet adapter to go in there. Or a USB port one.

Otherwise, you could connect to another computer with a null modem cable (serial port to serial port).
 
Old 11-14-2019, 11:49 AM   #4
michaelk
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As others have posted...

The only way to connect to the router would be a PCMCIA ethernet card and hopefully you could still find the driver on line somewhere...

To transfer files you can use a serial port connection. The simplest way would be to use Hyperterminal on the laptop and minicom on a linux computer. You would need to initiate the transfer using one of the protocols i.e zmodem. Make sure you use a NULL modem serial cable.

The easiest approach and all I can think of at the moment would be to remove the hard drive and install a compatible version on another computer.

The RJ11 would indicate a builtin analog MODEM and not the Cisco type of serial port connection. As far as I know the laptop does have a standard 9 pin serial port.

No USB as far as I know.

Last edited by michaelk; 11-14-2019 at 11:55 AM.
 
Old 11-14-2019, 11:53 AM   #5
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill J View Post
Hello,
I've got an ancient IBM ThinkPad 755CE(no docking station). My problem is I don't have any other computers with a working floppy drive. I'm not sure how to transfer files on/off of it. Is there anyway to connect it to an Ethernet port on a router? It seems to have a regular telephone plug instead of Ethernet.

This laptop is purely for fun, it's the first time I tinkered with win 98 My goal is at least installing KolibriOS or Tiny Core. Is it possible to dual boot with win98?
That isn't an ethernet port, but a modem/telephone plug. From the specs I saw online, it DOES have a serial port. You could spring for a cheap serial-to-usb cable, and use minicom on the Linux box, and hyperterminal on the Windows 98 system, to transfer files via kermit/zmodem/ymodem. That addresses the getting-data-off piece of your question.

As far as dual-booting, not sure how you'd do it. You don't have USB on that system, and can't make a floppy disc without a drive. You *COULD* shove that disk (if you're feeling brave) onto an IDE-to-SATA adapter on a modern computer, and do the install there, and transplant the drive back to the laptop afterwards. NO IDEA how to configure a bootloader for Windows 98, though, but you could at least boot from USB and install Linux if you wanted to. Would probably get a cheap eBay IDE drive (if you don't already have one), and the adapter, and do a Linux only test-install without Win98 first.
 
Old 11-14-2019, 12:12 PM   #6
DavidMcCann
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You don't have a USB port, even if you still had the UltraBay. The UltraBay would have given you wifi, but it looks like the serial port is your only I/O option, unless you can get something to plug into the PCMCIA slot. That will be a type II if you have two slots or a type III. Since that port hasn't been used for over a decade, you may have a long search on ebay.
 
Old 11-14-2019, 01:58 PM   #7
Mill J
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Thanks Everybody!

First off I had to research serial ports. At first glance I thought it had two VGA ports. Now I see it has only one...

Second this laptop appears to have the Type II PCMCIA port.

Sounds like usb to serial is the cheapest route for right now. It should get some software onto it, and data off of if.

This project is mostly for the educational purpose. A lot of you probably would have used similar hardware over the years. But the first computer I used was one of the last ones that shipped with Windows 8, so the older ports/plugs/etc were gone by then.


Thanks again.
 
Old 11-14-2019, 01:59 PM   #8
dugan
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If the files aren't too large, then you can transfer them over the parallel port.
 
Old 11-14-2019, 02:48 PM   #9
Mill J
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
If the files aren't too large, then you can transfer them over the parallel port.
Thanks for the suggestion.

How large is too large? This thing only has a 500mb hd storage so I doubt I'll be storing anything over a couple megabytes. There's a chance one of the older desktops I have access to might have something like that. I'll have to do some reasearch..
 
Old 11-14-2019, 03:11 PM   #10
fatmac
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If you've still got floppy disks, you can get a USB floppy drive that will work on any computer with a USB socket.
Using a null modem cable is a possibility, though not straight forward.
Using a PATA to USB cable would be simple, remove the disk from the laptop, plug the cable onto it, plug into your computer.

A regular Linux installation should work alongside W98, but you need to shrink your W98 partition first (& check it) within W98 first.

The question of how much ram is the most significant question, even the light distros require 500MB to work really, in which case you would also need to have a fair sized swap partition, & 500MB isn't a lot of room. I'd suggest SliTaz or TinyCore as your distro, perhaps using a frugal installation, (see their manuals about how to do that).

Good luck with your experiments.
 
Old 11-14-2019, 03:37 PM   #11
enorbet
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Dual booting really isn't much of a problem since Win98 was still DOS based. As long as Win98 is on the first primary partition and Linux is on either a second primary or extended partition, you could actually choose either LILO or even Loadlin as well as several 3rd Party bootloaders like Plop or Airboot.

That said, as much as I have a soft spot for the nostalgia of legacy gear, a 486 with no CD, Ethernet, or USB is just too far back for me. It will be S L O W, pull your hair out, agonizingly slow and that isn't even getting into the brick wall you are now facing. I had a Compaq 486 laptop when the Pentium Pro had just come out and it felt ridiculously slower then than my Pentium 150 "tower" did. I don't even want to imagine how slow it would feel now.

You can install Freedos as a Live OpSys on one floppy (see here ===>>> http://www.linfo.org/freedos_floppy.html) and I still have 2 working PCs that have floppy drives but I would (and have) thrown away anything that didn't also have CD or USB capability.

Frankly I'd save myself a lot of headaches and dead end expense by looking for a bargain on eBay for something like a PIII or PIV Thinkpad... possibly even an old Athlon unit. The prices vary wildly since I guess some people think "Vintage" means windfall but I've seen some working units for as low as 30 bux. There does seem to be a fairly common sweet spot around 100 bux but seeing prices in the 300 dollar category make me wish I'd checked before I threw out a working Sony PII which DID have a CD drive and USB and Ethernet in addition to the floppy drive. Even at 433 MHz CPU it was excruciating to boot. It was almost livable once it was up but you could just about start it and go cook breakfast before it'd finish booting Slackware 10.2.
 
Old 11-14-2019, 04:37 PM   #12
Mill J
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmac View Post
If you've still got floppy disks, you can get a USB floppy drive that will work on any computer with a USB socket.
I do have one that I got with the computer
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmac View Post
A regular Linux installation should work alongside W98, but you need to shrink your W98 partition first (& check it) within W98 first.
Any pointers on what tool to use for shrinking? The tool I've used on many other Windows installs is gone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmac View Post
The question of how much ram is the most significant question, even the light distros require 500MB to work really, in which case you would also need to have a fair sized swap partition, & 500MB isn't a lot of room. I'd suggest SliTaz or TinyCore as your distro, perhaps using a frugal installation, (see their manuals about how to do that).

Good luck with your experiments.
Right, this pc only has 40mb ram. Tiny Core says it'll work. And KolibriOS say 8mb minimum.

Thanks
 
Old 11-14-2019, 05:06 PM   #13
Mill J
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet View Post
Dual booting really isn't much of a problem since Win98 was still DOS based. As long as Win98 is on the first primary partition and Linux is on either a second primary or extended partition, you could actually choose either LILO or even Loadlin as well as several 3rd Party bootloaders like Plop or Airboot.

That said, as much as I have a soft spot for the nostalgia of legacy gear, a 486 with no CD, Ethernet, or USB is just too far back for me. It will be S L O W, pull your hair out, agonizingly slow and that isn't even getting into the brick wall you are now facing. I had a Compaq 486 laptop when the Pentium Pro had just come out and it felt ridiculously slower then than my Pentium 150 "tower" did. I don't even want to imagine how slow it would feel now.
Surprisingly this particular laptop runs Windows 95/98 pretty fast, avg 90% system resources free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet View Post
You can install Freedos as a Live OpSys on one floppy (see here ===>>> http://www.linfo.org/freedos_floppy.html) and I still have 2 working PCs that have floppy drives but I would (and have) thrown away anything that didn't also have CD or USB capability.

Frankly I'd save myself a lot of headaches and dead end expense by looking for a bargain on eBay for something like a PIII or PIV Thinkpad... possibly even an old Athlon unit. The prices vary wildly since I guess some people think "Vintage" means windfall but I've seen some working units for as low as 30 bux. There does seem to be a fairly common sweet spot around 100 bux but seeing prices in the 300 dollar category make me wish I'd checked before I threw out a working Sony PII which DID have a CD drive and USB and Ethernet in addition to the floppy drive. Even at 433 MHz CPU it was excruciating to boot. It was almost livable once it was up but you could just about start it and go cook breakfast before it'd finish booting Slackware 10.2.
I mentioned I'm tinkering for the fun, and it was given to me just for this purpose. The term "proof of concept" comes to mind. As far as knowing how slow a computer can be...I used to tinker with old Compaq with a Athlon and 512mb ram running xp and Linux. It was slowwww. And that one is very modern compared to the ThinkPad.

FreeDos: I run a lot of obscure os's but I don't think I've tried that one yet. Virtual Box time
 
Old 11-14-2019, 05:26 PM   #14
kilgoretrout
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If you just want to pull data of the hard drive, you could just pull the hard drive out of it and use one of these hard drive to usb adapters to transfer the data off the hard drive:

https://www.amazon.com/Warmstor-Adap...s%2C185&sr=8-7
 
Old 11-15-2019, 05:40 AM   #15
fatmac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill J View Post
...
Any pointers on what tool to use for shrinking? The tool I've used on many other Windows installs is gone.
...
If I remember right, it's the Windows disk partitioner.

This link might help - https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/...oying-the-data

Maybe this one would be better - https://www.computing.net/answers/wi...95/171083.html

Edit: FreeDOS is great, if you can remember the DOS commands.

Last edited by fatmac; 11-15-2019 at 05:48 AM.
 
  


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