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ICL DRS300 dos system problem

3277 Views 35 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  JohnWill
Hi Guys, I am a bit if a beginner here and have a problem with my old DRS300 ICL dos based system. I am in the middle of replacing this with a pc system but unfortunately in the midst of changing the DRS300 has packed up.

When I say packed up I mean one of the drives.

I have already sent the hard drive (a miniscribe 8425 mfm) for data recovery but to no avail. They have said that it was corrupted and had bad media. This drive held the boot up and operating system. The other drive which hold the data in the DRS300 is ok but i cannot access the info to do anything with it. I can access the files using a floppy disc that has a type command in it but can only view the info.

Is there any way of interfacing a pc with this type of miniscribe drive to access the files and tranfer the data to a word or excel so I can at least print the data and have hard copies. All the files held on the drive are text files.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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You'll need to round up an old system that has an ISA bus slot, since I've never seen an MFM/RLL controller for PCI. In addition, you need to know the configuration in the BIOS for the cylinders/heads/sectors per track, since they vary for individual drives.

Since you have floppy access, let's consider plan B.

You can use a serial port transfer application on the floppy to access the files required, and transfer them using serial communications. One that I have used in the past is ZIP221, a lightweight DOS based serial port transfer package.

Depending on the amount of data, you could also copy them a few at a time to a floppy and move them over that way.
If you boot with an MS-DOS floppy with minimal support, you should have about 1mb of free space on a 1.44mb floppy.

When you boot the MS-DOS floppy, the hard disk should appear as C: or D:, depending on the exact configuration. In any case, let's assume C: for now.

If you type the following line, you can copy a file from the hard disk to the floppy.

COPY C:\(file name).bom A:\

this will copy that file to the floppy. You can copy as many as will fit, then remove them on the new system, erase them from the floppy, and do it again.

Obviously, I don't know how many you have, which is why I suggested the serial transfer utility.
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Like I said, a serial or parallel port transfer application might be quicker. :)
WOW! CP/M? Man, that system is old! :D

Have you looked at Kermit? It has pretty decent file transfer capability, and would make this job less painful. I used this once years ago when I had a CP/M system that I wanted to move stuff from. It comes in flavors for all machines, CP/M Kermit, MS-DOS Kermit, and Windows Kermit.
Old systems are always a challenge, time marches on. :D
You want binary files, that will get you everything in the files.
I suspect the file is some sort of database file, even if it's a simple one. You need to determine what kind of database was in use on the system, and you may be able to convert it.

If the records are there just separated by some special character, a pretty simple program should be able to generate text records out of the file.

Can you ZIP it and attach it here? If it's plain text, it should crunch down pretty small. Maybe we can offer more suggestions if we actually see it.

I don't understand the comment "I cannot seem to have any commands that can transfer the file as a file rather than transferring the contents.". It sounds like you have the file to me. If you did a binary transfer, that's the file. :)
You need to bring the file over as a binary file, not a text file. Obviously, in spite of the assurances, some of the files are "not" text files. I see a bunch of hex "FF" characters in this file.

Try transferring the file with kermit as a binary file.
It's been many years since I used Kermit, but I know I transferred many binary files with it. There has to be a FAQ on the download site, right? :)
Good luck, let us know if you get a binary file across. I'd like to take a look at that one, maybe we can figure out what format the file is actually in. :)
johnpost said:
If you read post #9, you can see that all these links have already been posted. It helps to read the whole thread if you're going to post, so you'll avoid covering ground we're already covered. :)
A commercial option is something like Laplink. In versions from serveral years ago, it was capable of uploading it's client to MS-DOS with no software on the DOS machine. It simply used the MODE and COPY commands to copy a bootstrap up to the MS-DOS machine, then you could transfer files. You might contact Laplink and see if that capbility is still in the product.
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