View Full Version : computer question - re: obsolete software

03-06-2008, 08:27 PM
I have an old computer, it's like a pentium 400 or something. It's got some software on it that I purchased many years ago that I'd like to continue using, but with the age of the machine, I'm worried about the hard drive crapping out on me (or any other part of the machine). I no longer have the installation disks.

How would I go about copying the software so that I can reinstall it on a newer machine, possibly backing it up in the process...

It's not especially large, but it's expensive as heck to replace.

loose nut
03-06-2008, 09:14 PM
If the software is installed and not just stored there in a compressed file your pretty much out of luck. Most software (not all) is installed in many different locations in the operating system and c: drive, just copying the program files will miss much of the software files.

03-06-2008, 09:18 PM
I can find goodies if you want...

03-06-2008, 09:31 PM
I'd look into "virtualization". Basically you make a copy of the entire old hard drive. Then when you want to use the old programs you boot up the old hard drive on your new coputer. Think of opening a window on your new computer and having the entire old operating system running in it. If you don't have the media to reinstall the old programs this is probably the easiest way to ensure that you will always be able to use them. MicrosSoft has released this type of software for free. Take a look at

03-06-2008, 09:54 PM
Yes, agree with the virtualization. Makes it work out very well.
Think that VMware will allow you to use an existing disk to create the virtual machine with ease. Best part is that you can easily copy it to other drives etc as a folder.

Drawback is that the OS on that drive -may- not work on a vm, may need to reinstall the OS itself. W98 will normally just ask for drivers, 2k/XP will often ask for a complete reinstall and re-activation.


VMplayer is free also, needs creativity to make a new disk.

03-06-2008, 09:59 PM
It's on a Win98 machine right now, it'll be going on a WinXP machine.

Does that mean that I'll be able to do this?

Do I need to buy the virtual software?

03-06-2008, 10:17 PM
Can you make separate bootable partitions? I remember using an IBM operating system years ago. I think it was called OS-2 Warp or something. One of the features was the ability to have a selectable boot sequence. So I could use different boot options.

Things used to be easy under the old windows 3.1 and such cause it seemed like it booted to DOS first then the GUI. I dont think XP (and I dont know) has some simple raw DOS code booting up first so it may want to use some basic command codes to get right to the GUI..

Also, I wonder if the CMOS program could support multiple OS.. Is there even CMOS used anymore???

Man!! Computers used to be so simple, not anymore, for me anyway. JRouche

03-07-2008, 12:04 AM
It's on a Win98 machine right now, it'll be going on a WinXP machine.

Does that mean that I'll be able to do this?

Do I need to buy the virtual software?

a lot of pre-XP software won't run on XP.

honestly, if you purchased the software originally, and no longer have the installation disks, i would just search the various warez sites and download the software again. yes, it is somewhat unethical, but if you actually purchased the software and just no longer have access to the source files, i would see nothing wrong with it. heck, i know people with computers that only purchase hardware, if you get my drift.

andy b.

03-07-2008, 07:10 AM
If some of the software is Microsoft Office, check out the Open Office software. It's pretty much equivalent, and it's free.

03-07-2008, 07:11 AM
I accept all that info on previous posts - particularly that many pre-W2K stuff may not run on XP (or even perhaps W2K).

I do remember some software that transferred all files, settings (and I think but am not sure, Registry settings as well) but can't find it now.

Are these links of any use?





03-07-2008, 07:23 AM
You can't do a copy of installed software from a non-XP pc to an XP PC with any reasonable chance of it working.
Take a Ghost copy of the drive & get a new drive, get it up & running before your old one dies.
Look into getting a spare hardware identical board and get that running with your new drive too as if the board dies you can't just swap your HDD to another PC and guarantee it will work.

03-07-2008, 09:02 AM
I can find goodies if you want...

Thanks tm68.

I'd appreciate it if you could expand on that offer - even if for info - as it seems interesting.

03-07-2008, 09:43 AM
I am not sure or your computer bus but if you are running Win 98 then it is probably compatable with more recent computers. If so then buy a new hard drive and transfer your software over to it. Most (maybe all ) replacement hard drives come with disk duplication software which will transfer the complete disk contents over to the new drive and make this new drive bootable. You can then put one of the drives on the shelf as a spare. Alternately, you can transfer one of the drives to a new computer and have a new computer which operates exactly like your old one except for speed (probably much faster).

I am operatins one computer as 2 separate computers, niether of which knows the other exists. You may want to do the same. I have a linux system on 1 disk and a Win XP system on the other. You can do this by installing 2 drives with a double pole double throw switch so as to select which drive gets power. The switch controls the red and yellow wires. All other wires and cables can be continously connected.

You could also alternately use a boot loader .

03-07-2008, 12:38 PM
Have you looked up virtual operating partitions - not sure about win98 but it will certainly work for xp you could then tune it to run your software.
Copying the software to another PC running win98 is possible without the disks, I,ve done it but a bit long winded but it is possible.

Copy the program folder with all the files it needs to the new machine including the start link if it has one.
On the new PC try running the prog it will give an error about a file it cannont find usually one in windows then copy that file to the same location on the new PC repaet until it runs, if you make notes during the prooceedure you could then make a backup of those files. If you want to short cut the proceedure if you make a note of the files date on the old PC you could copy all files with the same date - this sometimes saves a lot of effort!!