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Standard User bobrey
(newbie) Sat 13-Jan-18 08:23:24
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Here is a challenge


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I am trying to help an elderly couple who own & run our village shop. They use a very old HP system which looks around 20 yrs old and appears to run Win 3.1. This has the database for the newspaper orders. I think it was an early epos system. Sadly the system no longer can be backed up and clearly is on borrowed time.
Like all village shops, finance is limited and I was wondering if there is any cost-effective way to recover the data and transfer it onto a more modern Win7 laptop.
I know this is a long shot but any help appreciated
Standard User dandnsmith
(experienced) Sat 13-Jan-18 09:24:27
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Re: Here is a challenge


[re: bobrey] [link to this post]
 
The paper shop up the road from us used to have a system which sounded like the one you describe.
The only way forward may be to extract any data which is still useful, and transfer to a 'new' system manually - but first you need the functions it performs to be described.

Derek
Standard User micksharpe
(legend) Sat 13-Jan-18 09:29:14
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Re: Here is a challenge


[re: bobrey] [link to this post]
 
The simplest method would be to install the hard disk into a new computer and copy the data files (or the entire disk drive) onto the new computer's disk(s). You can then reinstall the hard disk in the old machine and carry on using it until the new machine is fully-commissioned. Of course, the new machine must be able to accept IDE drives. This may mean buying an IDE card, since modern motherboards are SATA only. If the old machine has a disk drive with older technology than IDE, you may not be able to go down this route.

The second problem that you will probably encounter is that the old (16-bit) software will not work on a modern version of windows. You may well need to find software to convert the old data into a format that can be used by current software. One solution to this might be to run Windows 3.1 on a virtual machine.

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Edited by micksharpe (Sat 13-Jan-18 09:33:06)


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Standard User Kenneth
(legend) Sat 13-Jan-18 10:30:12
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Re: Here is a challenge


[re: micksharpe] [link to this post]
 
If running Windows 3.1 probably has IDE

One option is to use a USB to IDE adaptor (Several on Amazon ) and copy the drive, you may even be able to run it in DosBox without too much tweaking

Ken

Nostalgia is memory with the pain removed
Standard User Kenneth
(legend) Sat 13-Jan-18 10:46:53
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Re: Here is a challenge


[re: bobrey] [link to this post]
 
are there any report/export functions - even to printer which I think 3.1. allowed you to save as file but not sure?

After you have sorted backups out

Then from a copy on a different PC - you need to identify which the data files are (these will likely be in the application folder and a lot newer in date than most of other files) - if you are lucky they will be in some standard database format (such as .dbf or text) and you may be able to find something to read them. Failing that they could be in some custom format that probably requires some decoding but unlikely to be too complex from windows 3.1 (you probably can open it in notepad and read some of data - surprising what you can just read from some files), but cost effective probably only if someone is willing to provide time for free.

The only thing is that it is likely to contain personal information so treat accordingly

Ken

Nostalgia is memory with the pain removed
Standard User tripslaw
(newbie) Sat 13-Jan-18 14:17:40
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Re: Here is a challenge


[re: Kenneth] [link to this post]
 
It is fairly easy to run some 16 bit applications on a Windows 10 32 bit computer. I have such a setup with about 2 year old hardware (i5 6600 processor) that I use for legacy software. Obviously should also work with Win 7.

A decades old bug in Windows can prevent 16 bit operation, but fortunately a fix can be found on the internet - search “hide87” to find instructions. It therefore might be possible to continue with the original software.

Just don’t expect Windows 10 to be as reliable as Win3.1!

Fred
Standard User caffn8me
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 13-Jan-18 20:56:39
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Re: Here is a challenge


[re: bobrey] [link to this post]
 
If you can connect the disk drive to a new machine as previous posters have mentioned, you can use it to create a VirtualBox virtual hard drive - effectively a clone of the physical disk.

Once you've done that you can use the virtual disk for a Windows 3.1 virtual machine running within the new PC.

You can use backup tools within the new PC to back up everything and keep all the old software running as before.

Oracle VirtualBox is free so the only non-labour cost, assuming a new PC already exists, is an adapter to read the IDE disk.

The advantage of doing things this way is that they keep the interface they're used to and you can do backups. You're also not tied to specific hardware.

Once you have a virtual machine with the old till software running on it, you can use shared folders to copy data from the virtual machine onto the host if you wanted to see if it's possible to use it with a newer EPOS system.

Sarah

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Standard User BXW
(newbie) Tue 20-Feb-18 20:17:12
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Re: Here is a challenge


[re: bobrey] [link to this post]
 
There are some very interesting replies here but, to be frank, I think these are OTT.
The simplest way forward could be to use a modern computer and find a modern software package and type in the data.
Being a village shop I cannot imagine there will be much data.
Standard User dandnsmith
(experienced) Fri 23-Feb-18 11:14:47
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Re: Here is a challenge


[re: BXW] [link to this post]
 
If its that easy, why haven't you just done it?

Derek
Standard User broadband66
(knowledge is power) Fri 23-Feb-18 12:44:40
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Re: Here is a challenge


[re: dandnsmith] [link to this post]
 
What?

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