Recovering Win3.1 Data

Jon Elson elson at
Tue Jan 13 20:52:14 CST 2015

On 01/13/2015 02:32 PM, 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.
> 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?
Yes, Linux will be able to easily read the disk.  Once you 
have a Linux system up,
plug in the drive.  it MIGHT automatically mount the drive as
/media/<something>  or you might have to manually mount it
if it doesn't automatically detect the file system type.

the commands would be something like :

If you don't know what partition is the user data one, do this:
sudo fdisk /dev/sdb
<supply user's password>

lists out the partitions on the drive, and the file system types
q  <get out of fdisk before you hit the wrong key and cause 
data loss>

/dev/sdb would be the second drive on the system, which 
could be the CD,
if so, the added drive might be /dev/sdc
ls /dev/sd*  will show the various drives as /dev/sd<letter>
and available partitions as /dev/sd<letter><number>

mkdir /mnt/disk
sudo mount -t msdos /dev/sd<letter><number> /mnt/disk

now, the disk should be mounted under /mnt/disk, and you can
list it, copy files, etc.


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