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new system with old hard drive, possible?

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August 12, 2013 9:58:07 PM

Hey All,

I have a friend who owns a tire and auto shop. he has an alignment machine that is, at least 15yrs. old. The company that he bought it from says that he cannot upgrade the (computer) system, and instead needs to purchase a whole new system. At a cost of 25,000-35K.
My question is: the computer that runs the system is nothing more than a desktop (with the dreaded beige case) housed in a black box. Couldn't I just pull the hard drive out of the system put it in a 'newer' (maybe 2 years old) system and everything work exatly the same albeit faster?
2nd part (although belongs in the component section, I will post it there also) the system has an old okidata dot matrix printer, hooked via LPT port. How can i hook up a new printer via USB.

The system is running Windows 98 on a Pentium II 300MHz a massive 64megs of sdram

Thanks Erik

More about : system hard drive

August 12, 2013 10:02:16 PM

Long story short, no you cannot do that. You will have to reinstall windows if you move the HDD plain and simple.
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August 12, 2013 10:14:00 PM

thank for the reply. was wondering if you could give me a little more details. I'll explain why. About 2years ago i replaced a failing Dell computer, which itself was only 2years old, with a custom machine i build online. I did not buy a new hard drive, but rather put the hard drive from the Dell into the new computer. No problems have ever happend.
Since in this case the couputer was waaaay older I wasn't sure if I could just do the same thing?
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August 12, 2013 10:20:53 PM

Unless you use an IDENTICAL motherboard, it won't work 99.9% of the time. You got crazy lucky.

The windows activation is tied to the northbridge chipset on the motherboard so if you change boards the windows installation will not recognize the motherboard and will not work.
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August 12, 2013 10:21:02 PM

Hi, I don't think it will work. I doubt it would work faster even on a faster system (I think that it would detect single processor) and it would be difficult to find drivers for Windows 98.
Then there's a problem also with the maximum amount of memory - 512MB
The application might not work with an USB printer.
These systems are so customized that are difficult to upgrade. But you can try, of course.
Just make sure that you don't screw the system
I would make a clone HDD and play with it on different systems, for testing.
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August 12, 2013 10:28:45 PM

ok Thanks for the futher explaination.

So, was wondering. could i get a new system. plug the old drive into it as a slave and run the proprietary software program from that drive. I just need to be able to run the program (and print) that interacts with the machine?

Thanks, Erik

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August 12, 2013 10:32:46 PM


Thanks for the quick answer. was wondering, could i get a new system, attach the old drive as a slave and run the program that way. Still have to figure the whole printer issue, or its a no go.
The program is faaaar from fancy. and seems quite simple.

Thanks Erik
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Best solution

August 12, 2013 10:41:13 PM

Hello... Yes anything is possible... But... some things take more steps than others... What is your experience with Computers, software, and Windows versions?

1) Determine if the Software is a DOS program running 'windowed' in Windows...
a) can you just copy the program or harddrive to another hardrive and make it run?
b) does the Printer print using Windows installed driver or direct from the DOS program LPT1 port?
2) Determine the communications ( I/O ) between the computer and the machine...
a) is it a add in card? what type of slot does that card need? what drivers will that card need?
b) are the drivers loaded from the Config.sys and/or Autoexe.bat? or BATch file? PIF file?

Lot of the older equiptment is DOS based run programs, and are run from within windows... and do not communicate with all of WINDOWS Plug and Play type interface, and features... and need a LPT1 printer port... but those programs are the easiest to just copy to another Windows version, computer and hardrive... you can just have the program print to a file, and just print that file from Windows then... In fact it could be making a hardrive copy of the file already... and you just need to open it up in Notepad or WordPad, save it as a DOC, copy that file on Floppy/USB, and print it from another Computer, on a modern printer.

Hope I got ya thinking... I would love to do that job for half the price... I have the experience.
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August 12, 2013 10:56:07 PM

Ironsounds said:
Hello... Yes anything is possible... But... some things take more steps than others... What is your experience with Computers, software, and Windows versions?

1) Determine if the Software is a DOS program running 'windowed' in Windows...
a) can you just copy the program or harddrive to another hardrive and make it run?
b) does the Printer print using Windows installed driver or direct from the DOS program LPT1 port?
2) Determine the communications ( I/O ) between the computer and the machine...
a) is it a add in card? what type of slot does that card need? what drivers will that card need?
b) are the drivers loaded from the Config.sys and/or Autoexe.bat? or BATch file?

Lot of the older equiptment is DOS based run programs, and are run from within windows... and do not communicate with all of WINDOWS Plug and Play type interface, and features... and need a LPT1 printer port... but those programs are the easiest to just copy to another Windows version, computer and hardrive... you can just have the program print to a file, and just print that file from Windows then.

Hope I got ya thinking... I would love to do that job for half the price... I have the experience.


Ironsounds, thanks for your answer.

With regard to my experience with computers; i have been 'tinkering' with computer since the mid 80's. Ran a computer lab in a community college and a library system. been 'modding' for years. all that begin said, if computers knowledge is the ocean, I'm the puddle in your driveway after a good rain. LOL
However, i do love to 'tinker' and try to solve problems. My friend is sort of open to me messing with the system, because it has become so cumbersome to use that he has not had it on in over 2 years. He uses a portable unit instead.

Not 100% about the DOS/windows program. I only 'played' with the unit for about 5 minutes. I reminded me of an old windows 95 program. big giant button, and very basic. It is NOT run from a DOS screen if that means anything.

Anyway, thanks for the ideas....


Erik
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August 12, 2013 11:11:42 PM

Hello... well Windows 98 does support USB... so if its a WINDOWS Drivers program... you should be able to install a USB printer really easy... or be able to export the file to a USB stick...

Ya it would be a good Project for you to advance your Computer skills... I encourage you to take it slow and open mind... and do Non-destrucive testing.
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