File transfer between computer worlds

Actually there are only two basic ways to exchange or transfer files between older PCs. One is the good old sneaker network, in which you carry a floppy disk or CD from one computer to another. On the other hand you connect both computers with a cable, start a corresponding program on both sides and the files are exchanged. Actually quite simple!

Unfortunately, there is no universal solution. But I can say that there is always a solution, as long as the time jumps between the two computers are not too big. For example, the time interval between macOS and CP/M 2.2 is too long. Here usually only one computer helps "in between", e.g. with DOS 6.22 and the file exchange is no longer a problem.

My data turntable is a Pentium II with DOS 6.22. With this I go by network cable and "TCP/IP" into the modern times and with a serial cable and with "Kermit" into the past.

Under macOS it is also possible to connect to the DOS or CP/M world via a null modem cable. For this I use the program Serial from Decisivetactics in connection with a USB to Serial Adapter (Keyspan USA-19HS).

Overview of my personal solutions:


As base station for my TCP/IP network I have an FTP server running on my Synology DS211j. This NAS is almost "ancient", has two Samsung 840 EVO 250 GB SSD's in RAID mode, is fast and runs whisper quiet!

Under macOS I can access the server directly with the "Finder". Under DOS 6.22 with FTP from the mTCP package.

As network card I use a 3COM Etherlink III 3C509B. This card needs a 16 bit ISA slot, so it can not be used on an IBM PC or XT. I use the 3C509B on three different computers. No problems!

As network adapter I use the Xircom CreditCard CE3B-100 with my Laptop and the Xircom PE3-10BT with my IBM PC and XT. Both are working fine! I have no problems connnecting to my FTP-Server

In my IBM PC I use an 8 bit network card from 3COM (3C503). Unfortunately my card has only a 10-Base-2 BNC connector, so I have to use a corresponding converter (10-Base-2 to 10-Base-T). These network cards are also available with an RJ-45 connector!

Furthermore you need for the mTCP package the appropriate packet driver for your network card. You can get a large selection of packet drivers at Crynwr.

Conclusion: If you concentrate entirely on TCP/IP, then you have perfectly controlled the data exchange from modern NAS storages to the old IBM PC/XT. More is actually not necessary.

Serial connection

If TCP/IP is not possible, then we have to go one step further back. The keywords are serial connection and RS-232. You should always be successful with this.

I use for all serial connections from PC to PC (DTE) a so-called LAPLINK, crosslink or null modem cable! It's best to get a cable that has a 9pin "and" a 25pin plug at both ends.

Floppy disk

Real and heavy hardware, 8 inch, 5.25 inch, 3.5 inch. To be continued ...


In addition to TCP/IP, data exchange with a CD-ROM is also ingenious. In one go and everything is on the newly installed hard disk. A CD-ROM drive on the IBM PC, no problem. Have a look at: Running a CD-ROM drive via the parallel port.



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