Recovering Win3.1 Data

Douglas Taylor dj.taylor4 at
Sun Jan 18 17:41:58 CST 2015

On 1/13/2015 9:52 PM, Jon Elson wrote:
> 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>
> p
> 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.
> Jon
You guys move a lot faster than I do....
Some of the files I copied to floppy were MS Word files from that era.
My win7 machine wouldn't open them under Office 2007 because the
antivirus (Symmantec) had set a registry bit.  Hmm. ..

However, office on the Linux system would open them (Debian).

But, Debian didn't understand the disk.  Disk Utility reported it as a 
Conner disk but said the size was 2.2 TB.

I thought Debian would be the path of least resistance, back to the 
drawing board.

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