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DR
04-19-2015, 12:02 PM
Situation is I have a semi-valuable program ($400 for latest version) on 3.5" floppies. Copyright 1996. I can't read it on my Win7 system in compatibility mode using a USB floppy drive. I can load and run it on an old W98 system (this system may die at any time).

I'm wondering if it might load and run on an XP system (lots of old XP systems on CL). As I recall there are several versions of XP, maybe the earlier versions might be best? XP came out in 2001 (?) so this program was not exactly old at that time.

Any thoughts?

easymike29
04-19-2015, 12:33 PM
While you're trying to get the program to run on a different machine it would be a good idea to copy the contents of the floppies to a CD. You'll at least have a "permanent" source should the floppies fail.

Gene

Deus Machina
04-19-2015, 01:18 PM
If the floppies are the issue, copying it to CD might help.
If it's the program itself, it's either they or Microsoft didn't keep up with compatibility, or simply that the Win7 machine might be incompatible. If it's the current 64-bit, that usually also runs 32-bit programs but not older 16-bit or even 8-bit stuff.
If that's the case, I have yet to find anything 98 will run that XP won't, but avoid 64-bit versions of it; that may causes the same issue and before Vista faded out, cross- and even self-compatibility between 64-bit systems was iffy.

Video Man
04-19-2015, 01:23 PM
If this program runs under DOS, you can get an app called DosBox that lets you run such programs on Win 7 64 bit. There is also an Android version. I use this to run a suite of GWBASIC shop programs I wrote in the 80's on my Win7 64 bit laptop....http://www.dosbox.com/

RB211
04-19-2015, 01:56 PM
Your program might be abandonware today, and found freely on the internet. All my attempts at playing my favorite dos games from child hood have convinced me of one thing... They were best left as memories.

chrisinestes
04-19-2015, 02:48 PM
I'll toss this into the mix.

Floppy disks don't last forever. If it's that the disks won't read, then you're likely out of luck. I used to save my old CAD designs on 3.5s and after about 10 years, most of the files were corrupt just from age. If they still actually work, you're really lucky and you better copy them to a CD/DVD/HDD/SDD/Cloud Backup.

Just curious... what program is it?

Chris

MaxHeadRoom
04-19-2015, 04:50 PM
I picked up a Teac floppy drive that runs off of a USB port with a driver that came with it for some of the floppies I needed to run, as I service older systems out in the field that still use them in their controller.
I am not sure what versions of Windows it would run on, but the USB driver should make them able to.
Max.

MrFluffy
04-19-2015, 06:32 PM
You might have fun with the usb floppy drive quality... I picked up a usb floppy drive, and its garbage, it wont read old floppies reliably and it cant cope with 720k single sided disks and the like. Ive read of lots of other people having issues, perhaps MaxHeadRoom can recommend a brand that works to avoid this particular minefield.

Because I need floppys that work for the edm currently, I dragged out a old xp era machine with a real 3.5 floppy drive to write the gcode to and that works much better. I literally power up that old xp machine just to copy the code onto the floppys when preparing a job.

oldtiffie
04-19-2015, 06:43 PM
There was the same problem in the days of DOS and 5 1/4" and 3 1/2" "floppy" disks.

But if the images/files were saved to a good hard drive or a CD (CD-R but not CD R/W) then the chances of recovery would have been a whole lot better for little cost and time.

oldtiffie
04-19-2015, 07:36 PM
It may well that modern main ("Mother"?) boards will not support a 5 1/4" or 3 1/2" drive and if that's so, any software that might have otherwise accessed/read those floppies may not be of any use either.

I think that some who trusted their "tape" back-up drives may be out of luck as well.

I tossed my old "Colorado" tape drive a long time ago and another whose name I forget went with it.

DR
04-19-2015, 07:58 PM
Thanks for the replies....

Okay, I got a solution.

I found an XP system on Craigslist. The seller let me try to install the program. It began the installation process so I paid and left with the computer.

Got home and hooked everything up and restarted the installation. Got a cryptic message about "no more installations available", what the heck does that mean? I took a big chance and uninstalled the working program from the old W98 system. After the uninstall a popup came up saying one installation available. That was their version of copy protection, it writes back to the main program floppy counting the number of active installations, presumably one. So now I have my one and only installation on the XP system. I'm happy.

Nobody else would be able to load and run the software until it's uninstalled off the new-to-me XP system. I'm not even sure if I would be able to copy the floppies to CD's and uninstall/reinstall from them since it looks for the floppy #1 on Drive A.

As far as the program not working on my W7 system using the USB floppy drive.....it would show the floppy directory with the SETUP and readme files, etc. The readme files were readable in Notepad. But, when I clicked on SETUP I got the message that my operating system was not compatible with program.

This piece of software does raster to vector conversions, line drawings to DXF for my uses. Surprisingly, for an almost 20 year old program it does a better job than current versions of Corel Draw (X6) and Adobe Illustrator.


On edit: Funny thing, this software will import a number of graphic formats......the only one that's currently available from my newer graphics programs is .PCX, the others it can read are long ago obsolete. Same with it's vector export formats, all obsolete except the .DXF.

chrisinestes
04-19-2015, 08:31 PM
Glad ya got it on there... And boy are you lucky those 20 year old floppy disks still work... I'm amazed.

What do you use vector images for? I use vectorizing software for my sign shop. I started 20 years ago with ScanVec's CASmate sign shop software. The software I use now does amazing vectorizing work compared to the older version.

Chris

iMisspell
04-19-2015, 08:41 PM
Its been a while since ive been a windows "power user" so this may be off base, but...
Couldnt you make an image/backup of the full XP install, burn to disc or usb thumbdrive, then install that image/backup as a virtual OS in your win7 machine ?

Dont know if its easyer to deal with one computer or not, but thought i would toss out some food for thought.

_

lwalker
04-19-2015, 09:21 PM
Good to see you got it working. If you have a similar problem in the future, running a virtual machine like VMWare may help. A VM acts like a separate computer "inside" your computer. I use it to run Windows XP on my Windows 7 PC at work to work on some of our older software.

DR
04-20-2015, 12:00 AM
Glad ya got it on there... And boy are you lucky those 20 year old floppy disks still work... I'm amazed.

What do you use vector images for? I use vectorizing software for my sign shop. I started 20 years ago with ScanVec's CASmate sign shop software. The software I use now does amazing vectorizing work compared to the older version.

Chris

Thanks for the reply...

The software in question here is Draftsman Plus, from Arbor Image Company. Current version to convert a small scanned image is $400.

The vector files are used in my CAD/CAM software to generate tool paths for engraving designs on 3D surfaces with a CNC milling machine.

I have a $200 program, downloaded 30 day demos from Corel and Adobe plus a couple public domain programs. This old software is better than any of them. Still, it requires a bit of CAD cleanup of the DXF files.

How good a job does your sign software do on vectorizing, do you have situations where you need to clean up the images a bit to correct problem areas? What's the price range on the software you use?

DR
04-20-2015, 12:06 AM
Good to see you got it working. If you have a similar problem in the future, running a virtual machine like VMWare may help. A VM acts like a separate computer "inside" your computer. I use it to run Windows XP on my Windows 7 PC at work to work on some of our older software.

Is this the same as iMisspell is suggesting? When it gets to the point this software is not usable anymore I'll buy the $400 version and be good to go.

Thanks to both of you for the suggestions.

MrFluffy
04-20-2015, 02:33 AM
As posted elsewhere, I use f-engrave, which is free and runs under windows or linux, Ive used it for font and dxf/bmp to carving generation to put logos on things.
http://www.scorchworks.com/Fengrave/fengrave.html

Done using that program on the POS bridgeport :-
http://gallery.pipandphil.com/d/38739-1/markofthebeast-donewithendmill.jpg


Also available by the same author is dmap2gcode which translates depth maps into gcode.
http://www.scorchworks.com/Dmap2gcode/dmap2gcode.html

And a depth map g-code converter if you want to engrave/carve/mill on curved things. I havent used this personally yet, but I will be trying it out I am sure.
http://www.scorchworks.com/Gcoderipper/gcoderipper.html

Ill chime in for using a virtual machine to keep whatever os you want around safe on your main pc.
If you de-installed the software (chancy, but so is continuing to use that floppy...) you could then make a complete image of the floppy and store the version along with its single license as a file on your machine. With vmware you can tell the virtual machine a backed up copy of a floppy is the diskette, and it could run happily without having to rely on that floppy or machine continuing to work. I am using this xp machine because I had it spare and its physically got the right disk drive in already or I would be on my main pc with xp in a virtual machine. I run all the legacy stuff to support my cmm in a virtual machine like this. In fact I have a whole raft of them all with different operating systems and version levels, and just start them up on demand when I need that particular variant.

Tiffie, most of my cd backups from the period when cdrom burners first became useable in a small office machine are completely unusable, they have pin holes from corrosion when I hold them up the light, so I dont think anything is really failsafe.

Evan
04-20-2015, 03:41 AM
You don't need to reinstall it to run it on a win7 machine. All you need to do is make a copy of the XP drive using this freeware:

https://www.runtime.org/shadow-copy.htm

Then you install the free from Microsoft win XP emulator and use the entire shadow copy as the source virtual disk. Voila, you have XP running on win 7 and a backup at the same time. I run XP on my win 7 install so I can use old Canon software. It works. Win XP runs in a window on win 7 just like any other software and has full access to the system drives.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows7/install-and-use-windows-xp-mode-in-windows-7

Even easier way is to run Microsoft Virtual PC and do the same as above.

http://microsoft-virtual-pc.en.softonic.com/

lwalker
04-20-2015, 08:14 AM
Is this the same as iMisspell is suggesting? When it gets to the point this software is not usable anymore I'll buy the $400 version and be good to go.

Thanks to both of you for the suggestions.

I think it is the same thing! I must have missed his post.

.. and now it looks like Evan is suggesting something similar also :-)

DR
04-20-2015, 09:30 AM
Wow, I'm getting some great solutions. First off, from Googling I became aware of how to run XP on my W7 machine. I chose not to pursue that route, mainly because I was not totally sure the old software would even run under XP. The 20 buck XP machine off CL proved to me it would run on XP.

One step at a time.

Given my situation that others use my W7 machine it may be best to have the separate XP machine because some of the drinking around going scanned line drawing (JPEG) to DXF conversion to editing the DXF then to Gcode can be time consuming, easily an hour or more preventing anyone else's use.

spongerich
04-20-2015, 10:28 AM
At the risk of stating the obvious... now that you've got that installed on a (presumably) fairly old machine, make sure to get a good backup.

DR
04-20-2015, 11:34 AM
At the risk of stating the obvious... now that you've got that installed on a (presumably) fairly old machine, make sure to get a good backup.

For sure.....

This is one thing I don't like about the new trend with many of the software companies, download only. I just paid the extra $24.95 to get a CD mailed out for one of my new programs. Download may be okay, I prefer the security of having the CD.

DR
04-20-2015, 11:44 AM
As posted elsewhere, I use f-engrave, which is free and runs under windows or linux, Ive used it for font and dxf/bmp to carving generation to put logos on things.
http://www.scorchworks.com/Fengrave/fengrave.html

.................................................. .................................................. .......

Thanks for the link......looks like a nice program and the price is right. Seems to do pretty much what VCarve Pro ($650) from Vectric does.

Let me get this straight how it works.....you import a BMP graphic file, set the cutting parameters and it spits out a Gcode program? Is that about it?

chrisinestes
04-20-2015, 12:58 PM
Thanks for the reply...

The software in question here is Draftsman Plus, from Arbor Image Company. Current version to convert a small scanned image is $400.

The vector files are used in my CAD/CAM software to generate tool paths for engraving designs on 3D surfaces with a CNC milling machine.

I have a $200 program, downloaded 30 day demos from Corel and Adobe plus a couple public domain programs. This old software is better than any of them. Still, it requires a bit of CAD cleanup of the DXF files.

How good a job does your sign software do on vectorizing, do you have situations where you need to clean up the images a bit to correct problem areas? What's the price range on the software you use?

My 3 axis 4' x 8' CNC router table and my CNC vinyl cutter use vectors, so If I get artwork in that my customer has in picture/raster format only , I have to vectorize it. I export my vector images as .eps when I need to. I nearly always have trouble with .dxf files.

For 99% of my 2D design & vectorizing work, I use FlexiEXPERT 11, which is around $2500. It does a really good job at vectorizing both color, and B/W images. Sometimes there's some tweaking to do with the created vectors, sometimes not. It is a full 2D sign shop design app and has drivers for my vinyl cutter, but it doesn't create tool paths for the CNC router.

For creating my 2D/2.5D/BAS Relief tool paths, I use 2 programs... VCarve Pro from Vectric ($600), and ArtCAM Express from DelCAM ($150). I do most of my tool path work with VCarve Pro from Vectric. It has 2D design capability including vectorizing, and with the recent upgrade, will do some BAS relief type 3D design & tool pathing. I bought ArtCAM Express about 2 years ago for a particular project, used it for that, and haven't used it much since then. Now that VCarve Pro has some 3D capabilities, I may not need ArtCAM Express again.

I haven't compared the quality of vectorizing the same image between the 3 apps I have, but I should do that some time. Just a guess here, but I'd bet Flexi would do the best job. I'm not sure of the price of the cheapest version of Flexi that would do the vectorizing you need. As others have stated, there are certainly cheaper alternatives out there if you have the time to search them out and mess around with them.

Chris

MrFluffy
04-20-2015, 03:27 PM
Thanks for the link......looks like a nice program and the price is right. Seems to do pretty much what VCarve Pro ($650) from Vectric does.

Let me get this straight how it works.....you import a BMP graphic file, set the cutting parameters and it spits out a Gcode program? Is that about it?

Yes, it takes a bmp, and runs it through potrace, then hit save as g-code and it comes out as such.
I use it to generate pantograph carvings for my wifes longarm quilting frame too. I have it installed on my desktop in the office, but also right on the cnc control machine (linuxcnc) so I can do on the machine work.
Forgive the torn look, wrong cutter geometry and not enough spindle speed for wood was the cause, but this was a early pantograph v carve from a bmp image too. It is a classical shape known as a feather for the longarm.
http://gallery.pipandphil.com/d/38728-1/quiltpantograph1.jpg

oldtiffie
04-20-2015, 09:04 PM
Originally Posted by spongerich View Post

At the risk of stating the obvious... now that you've got that installed on a (presumably) fairly old machine, make sure to get a good backup.


For sure.....

This is one thing I don't like about the new trend with many of the software companies, download only. I just paid the extra $24.95 to get a CD mailed out for one of my new programs. Download may be okay, I prefer the security of having the CD.

True.

There is a lot of that "download now" stuff about but it should appeal to those who "want and must have now" for what-ever reasons (which is the cheaper option) or order, pay for and wait for the CD (more costly option) - or perhaps use both options.