Recovering Win3.1 Data

Fred Cisin cisin at
Tue Jan 13 16:17:59 CST 2015

On Tue, 13 Jan 2015, Douglas Taylor wrote:
> In the mid-90's I had a Packard Bell computer that ran Windows for
> workgroups 3.11.  The computer is long gone, but I saved the disk. It is
> a 420 MB Conner.  I recently tried to recover the data by attaching it
> to one of those IDE/SATA to USB devices and read it under Windows7,
> didn't work.
> I am able to copy files to floppy, but the stuff I want to save won't
> fit on a floppy.

THAT is a soluble problem.

> I put the disk in an old PC and it will boot to DOS, it tries to start
> WIN3.1 but exits because of some missing sound card hardware.
> What is the path of least resistance here?  Is linux any help?

You could try a recovery via Linux.
What would you gain?
You are already getting the capability of saving files to floppy.

1) can you install a bigger "floppy".  Such as CDR, floptical, a second
hard disk that is easier to work with, a USB flash drive, . . .

What version of DOS is it?

Official support of USB flash drives didn't really happen until Win98SE.

If you can't install a bigger drive, . . .
2) Can you boot your Win3.11 in "safe mode" and disable the demand for
sound card?

Then you have a few more options.

Got a network card?  or a modem?
 and communications software?

Dial-up internet will take a VERY long time.
Z/XMODEM transfer will take a long time, but doesn't require much

If communications are also out, . . .
3) you should be able to get additional software into the machine by
putting it on floppy with another machine.

PKZIP should be able to split large files.
If not, there are other programs that can.
BACKUP, which came with DOS can split files.
You might then need to play SETVER games on another machine to run it
there to read those split files back in.

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at

More information about the cctalk mailing list