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Acquiring/Copying/Transfering files from a 21 year old ThinkPad to new computer

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#1 Morgen


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Posted 04 July 2018 - 07:17 PM

Hey, guys- this is my first post so please forgive me if I've posted in the wrong place but I'm desperate for help!


Here is my situation:

I have an old IBM Thinkpad 385ED running Windows 95. There are files on there that I want to keep and transfer to my new laptop running Windows 10.

Of course the technology has dramatically changed and the 2 computers share no common connection ports. And the ThinkPad has no inter/intranet access.

The Thinkpad has a CD-Rom but cannot write so CD transfer won't work.

The Thinkpad also has a floppy drive which would be great if my new laptop had a floppy drive. Of course it does not. Strike 2.

I have no way to connect both devices to a router to create a LAN. Strike 3.

I have an external hard drive but the only connector it has is a USB which the Thinkpad does not have. So, game over?


Does anyone have advice to help me solve my problem? I'm not especially techno-savvy (I know just enough to be dangerous...) so hoping for a solution that is not too complicated or requires a lot of expense.


Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

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#2 ranchhand_


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Posted 04 July 2018 - 10:01 PM

The only thing I can think of is to remove the hard drive from the laptop and slave it to another computer. The problem to be researched is how to find the proper adapter, IDE to USB. I believe that those are available, you can try Newegg, Amazon or Ebay. I suspect that if you are running Windows  on your newer machine, it will not read DOS-based Windows 95. HOWEVER.... if you boot from a Linux distro that will read DOS, it may indeed read your old HDD and you can retrieve the data.


Another alternative is to find an older Windows 95 or W98 or ME machine, and all the work will be done for you.

You did not specify what format or type the data files are in, so you will want to consider if you have older software that will read it. For example, if you have really old Microsoft Word files, I don't know if they will be read by the new versions of those programs. Graphic files such as .bmp or .jpg should not be a problem.

Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.

#3 mightywiz


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Posted 05 July 2018 - 04:07 PM

this is what you need to hook up your old drive to your new computer.


usb 2.0 to PATA connector it will do what you need.

#4 Eyesee


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Posted 09 July 2018 - 02:57 PM

Thats exactly what you need to connect the drive.


Two things to be aware of:

1. Your old drive is an IDE drive. Be careful not to bend any pins and that Pin 1 is in the correct orientation. This should be marked on the IDE/SATA connector and is almost always the rightmost pin when looking at the back of the drive.

2. Your old drive has jumpers for a master/slave or cable select. The diagram for this is typically on the drive. Make sure the drive is set to master.


Good luck!

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