Trying to get data off old Win98 computer (burning and USB failed)

By SaraRose · 7 replies
Jan 30, 2010
  1. Hello,

    I'm trying to recover data from my old Windows 98 (Second Edition) computer. I haven't used it in years and decided to try to plug it in and get it running again so that I could burn my old stuff onto some blank DVDs and transfer the old files to my new computer. Unfortunately thus far I have not succeeded in being able to do this.

    I got the computer running and split my stuff up into three folders, Folder One being 4.1GB, Folder Two being 2.9GB and Folder Three being 3.6GB. I put in a blank DVD-R (4.7GB) and attempted to burn Folder One to the DVD with the burning program that's on there (a freeware program called Burn4Free) burned for about 10 seconds and then failed, giving me some error message about filenames and indexing.
    I figured there must be some weird glitchy thing in the folder somewhere that was making it fail so I created a .rar file with WinRAR and put Folder One into that. About 3 hours later (it took forever to get Folder One into the rar) the rar was made and I tried burning just the rar to another blank DVD-R...again, it burned for about 10 seconds and then failed, this time giving me this error:
    I googled that error message and got some hits but unfortunately found none of them to be very useful...most are from 5+ years ago and I can't find any real solutions provided. Now, there is some good news...after Folder One and then the rar file of Folder One failed to burn I tried burning Folder Two, which successfully burned to the DVD and I was able to transfer the contents to my current computer. So it does work at least some times.

    The second problem...after the DVD-Rs failed I decided to try getting the data via a USB flash drive. The USB port on the computer works since the mouse is plugged in there and it recognizes it, so I figured a flash drive might work as well. Unfortunately no such luck. It did recognize it but then gave me an error about not having the correct Driver needed. After this I tried using an external hard drive on it (also via USB) to the same result. Stupidly I didn't write down what the name of the Drivers were that it said it needed and now when I plug either the flash drive or the external HD in I no longer get the window saying it needs a particular driver and instead the computer just does nothing. I thought of uploading the data somewhere online and then downloading it from my current computer but the Windows 98 machine doesn't recognize the wireless signal to get on the internet and even if it did I doubt it could handle uploading gigs worth of files anyway.

    So, now I'm kind of at a loss. I can't get the data burned to a DVD and I can't get the data transferred onto a flash drive or external hard drive. So how do I get it off that computer?

    Any help on the matter would be sincerely appreciated! :)
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Which USB stick is it? You'll need to get 98SE drivers for it from manufacturer's site. Extract & burn the driver directory to a CD(RW) with another computer, then install to Win98.

    DVD burning in 98SE probably fails because it's simply too old for it - although I can't remember if I ever burnt them with Nero in 98. It could also be that the burning app doesn't include UDF drivers for DVD burning and 98SE doesn't have them by default either.

    The quickest way would probably be removing the hard disk from the old machine and putting it into the new one. Then you could simply copy what you want.
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    I think the problem is simply the file size. Win98 would have a maximum address range of a fraction under 4Gb. Just redistribute to two files of around 2Gb and I think you will be fine. Win98 needed drivers for ANY usb device. Uploading 4 Gb via the typical 250Kb UPLOAD speed of an internet connetcion would take nearly two days....

    As Mctlan says, putting the drive in another PC is quick and simple - if you know about the IDE drive primary/secondary pins.
  4. SaraRose

    SaraRose TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I downloaded the USB drivers exe from the technical-assistance (co-dot-uk) site and put it on a CD and moved it to the desktop of the 98 machine. I did as it said and installed it and then rebooted and tried again with an external hard drive via USB...this time the option in the lower right corner of the screen to remove the USB drive came up and in Device Manager under "Storage Device" it had the name of the external HD and in the preferences it said it was working properly.

    However, I can't seem to locate the external hard drive anywhere on the machine. In My Computer there's the C drive (not it), the D drive (with nothing but a few folders in it--not the external), the A drive (floppy disk) which it says is Not Accessible and the E drive which it also says is Not Accessible. These same 4 drives are listed there just the same whether or not the external HD is plugged in.

    So how can I locate the external hard drive on the computer so that I can move stuff to it? It supposedly is successfully connected and has the right drivers now, I just can't figure out how to access it.

    Thanks again!
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Don't know for sure.. but i think at least worth a shot to see if your computer will simply boot up under Knoppix

    See [post=766270]How to recover your folders/files when Windows won’t boot[/post]

    Otherwise, might be simplest to just remove the drive and connect it as an external drive to another computer
  6. harfox

    harfox TS Rookie

    the usb drive might be formatted to ntfs, but windows 98 is only capable of fat32. reformat it or use another drive.
  7. Nilt

    Nilt TS Rookie

    Another vote for just pulling the drive here. If you can't use the drive as an external via a bay or adapter can you install it as an internal in a different system, even temporarily?
  8. Badfinger

    Badfinger TS Rookie Posts: 155

    Yeah hassle wise, this is the bomb for such a task:
    ^many other variants of same thing there and sold on amazon also.

    Once connected it will be added as a drive letter....
    I recommend one that has SATA also as above one, so you can use this in the future, for current system backups, with programs like Perfect Image or True Image, etc.
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