How can files be moved from an older Windows 98 PC to a Windows 7 PC?

Debi Turner April 21, 2013

My son had his music collection on an old home computer. A number of years ago he transferred it to a portable hard drive but unfortunately it crashed. The old computer (win 98) was plugged back in and the files are accessible, but we can’t seem to get the new portable hard drive to recognized.
Any ideas on how to transfer these files to the new computer (Win 7) or a new portable hard drive?
Any help would be much appreciated!

  1. Debi Turner
    April 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Thank you to everyone who responded - unfortunately it's not even powering up these days so it's looking like a cable is going to be the route I'm going to have to go. Probably going to try and finish it this weekend. Thanks again for all the suggestions - totally awesome amount of knowledge!

    • yudics
      April 28, 2013 at 7:47 am

      and the problem is solve?

  2. yudics
    April 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    many of today motherboards is still supporting ATA/IDE-0 hard drive, the data cable flat shape and length. You can open the casing cpu (win 98) and then release the hardisk and install it to motherboard (win 7), so when the computer is turned on win 7 system will detect your old hard drive and you can copy all the files in the old hard drive with ease. or like the friends say, you can copy the files on the old computer using a system sharing via LAN network.

  3. susendeep dutta
    April 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Besides using Windows 7 PC as a FTP server and Win 98 PC as a client machine to upload files to the server,you can also use a HDD enclosure which makes it able to be connect to new machines.

    If you PC is of Win 98 SE,then -

    Sabrent USB 2.0/ESATA TO 3.5 Inch IDE

    would be useful to you as it supports Win 98 SE.

    You can also use Tornado which transfers files from PC to PC by simply connecting two PCs with a single hardware -

    Its related FAQs

  4. null
    April 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Seems the New Portable Hard Drive you are using have got NTFS file system. Windows 98 does not recognizes NTFS file system. Please format New Portable Hard Drive as FAT32 and Windows 98 system will recognize new disk.

  5. rachman needzigha
    April 22, 2013 at 8:26 am

    If the switch from 32-bit version of Windows 7 to a 64-bit version is definitely the transition will be slow. Although Windows XP, Vista, and 7 all have 64-bit versions are available, many people still opt for the 32-bit version. The biggest reason for this is compatibility issues with older programs, hardware, and drivers.

    Microsoft recognizes that want to use the old program is a barrier for people who might consider moving to a 64-bit version of Windows. In anticipation of this barrier, the software giant to build features into Windows 7 the ability to select a variety of options to ensure that the compatibility of older programs have a good chance to work under 64-bit operating system is new.

    Before you start using the compatibility option in Windows 7, you should know a few things. First, there is no guarantee that choosing compatibility option will make all your old software work. This option is only an attempt to simulate the Windows version of the operating environment.

    Second, you can make changes to either the program itself or compatibility shortcuts to programs. Well, you will need to undo the changes if you want to return to normal operation mode. If you make changes to the compatibility of the program shortcut and then delete the shortcut, you will have to find another shortcut for the program or program exe file to cancel or make changes to further compatibility. If this sounds complicated, do not worry it's not. Choosing a compatibility option for a simple program such as selecting and deselecting options from Option.

    Change the Compatibility Options

    Say you have old programs installed on your PC Windows 7 64-bit, and you have trouble running it. The problem might be compatibility issues. Although Microsoft has done a good job of keeping compatibility when users run 32-bit applications on 64-bit platforms, not every contingency can be anticipated or resolved.

    To start using the compatibility mode option 64-bit Windows 7, right click on the programs or shortcuts to programs that are not running properly and select Properties from the menu.

    You should now see the properties for the program. Click the Compatibility tab and notice that you have a number of options available. Each option falls into one of three categories: Compatibility Mode, Settings, or Privilege Level.

    Below is a description of each option.

    Compatibility Mode

    This option is a great choice when you know exactly which version of Windows you are running the program properly. For example, if your program when Windows XP was released on an Reigning version of Windows, click the option box titled Run the Program Compatibility Mode and select Windows XP from the drop-down list is a good choice.

    Note that the compatibility mode offers up to eleven options ranging from Windows 95 to Windows Vista. Also note that you can even choose to run your program in compatibility mode using different settings for the operating system service pack.


    This section compatibility option allows you to fine tune your thoughts to the compatibility of your old program. Generally, this option is for programs written for and run on very old versions of Windows such as 95, 98 and ME.

    For example, the resolution and color depth of the original Windows 95 only 640 × 480 at 256 colors. If you are running an old program but it looks too small or has a strange color, try two options.

    If Windows 7 warns you that this program is not compatible because some video problems, consider trying compatibility settings labeled Disable Visual Themes and Disable Desktop Compotion. This arrangement often disturbing video rendering obsolete the old programs.

    Finally, if your program is written for the screen ratio of 4:3, consider trying the option titled Disable Display Scaling on High DPI Settings. This one will not be any program to fit the current resolution and aspect ratio of your monitor.

    Privilege level

    The last option on this window is concerned with how Windows currently grant permissions on Windows 7 and how it is used to define permissions in previous versions of the operating system. Windows 95, 98, and ME do not take advantage of multiple user accounts, all using the same desktop, have the same permissions, and have complete control over every aspect of the operating system. Basically, everyone is a top-level administrator.

    This is a problem for programs released under the condition because they enjoy almost unbridled access to hardware, software, and drivers. Checking this option will ensure that the program has the necessary permissions to run as if some sort of control again.

    It seems everyone has some old programs that they want to work under Windows 7. If you are running 64-bit Windows 7, you are even less likely to get the program running than if you use a 32-bit version.

    However, by taking advantage of the compatibility mode option you may use your old software again and avoid the need to consider other options such as dual boot your PC with Windows or a running version of Virtual PC in Windows 7.

  6. Alan Wade
    April 22, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Here's a couple of ways to transfer the files:
    Network the computers.
    Take the hard drive out of the older machine and put it in the new one (maybe you will need an adaptor for this).
    Burn the files to CD/DVD
    Copy the files on to a USB flash drive.

    • Justin Pot
      April 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Yep, there's these fine methods or – if you get stuck – you could buy an IDE to USB device. With this you can remove the hard drive from the old system and connect it directly to the Windows 7 system. This one is $20, and should work:

  7. Bruce Epper
    April 22, 2013 at 1:15 am

    If the Win98 computer has a network adapter, you can simply connect it to your home network, share the folder containing the files you want to transfer and simply copy them to the new computer.

    If you are not using a router with your internet connection (directly connected to the modem via Ethernet connection), you can connect both computers together with an Ethernet cable instead and set up what Microsoft calls a direct cable connection to perform the transfer.

    Either way, you do not need to set up an FTP server for the transfer or mess around inside the computer.

  8. Oron Joffe
    April 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    There are plenty of ways, but perhaps the simplest is the get a USB to IDE adaptor (they cost very little, I've bought some for less than $10 in the past), remove the hard disc from the Win 98 machine and connect it to the Windows 7 using the adapter. It will appear just like an external USB drive, which in effect is what it will be (except without a box). When you're done, return the drive to Win 98 system to keep it going!

  9. Jim Chambers
    April 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Windows 98 requires driver software to recognize an external USB drive that is available from drive's manufacturer support website. Will be slow using original USB. If you have some technical skills and newer computer has an IDE port on motherboard, transfer harddrive from 98 computer to 7 computer and transfer files directly from old to new HDD.

    • Debi Turner
      April 22, 2013 at 12:34 am

      How would I do that? specifically - find out if newer computer has an IDE port and then transfer the harddrive...?

    • Jim Chambers
      April 24, 2013 at 2:00 am

      The motherboard manual will tell you if it has an IDE port. Or open both cases after unplugging both computers and look to see if new motherboard has same port as ribbon cable from harddrive is connected to on old motherboard, Remove HDD from old computer with ribbon cable, Plug ribbon cable into IDE port on new computer and plug in power connector. Plug in and bootup new computer and use windows explorer to find and transfer files

  10. ha14
    April 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    you can use a second internal hard drive on windows 98, copy files to it and then plug it to windows 7.

    perhaps through networking

    1) install FTP server on the Windows 7
    How to install a FTP server in Windows 7?
    How To Set Up An FTP Site With An Easy Front End [Windows]
    2) FTP client on the old 98 box like
    3)Transfer files using coreftp

  11. Fawad A
    April 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    What kind of peripherals are available to you?

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