Data transfer needn't be expensive

Helpline

January 17, 2002|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

My daughter received a Dell PC with the Windows XP operating system for Christmas. My daughter's old PC used Windows 98, and she wants data saved to her new PC.

Your suggestion in an earlier column to buy a Zip drive was very enlightening but a little too expensive for me.

Please tell me if you think this is a viable alternative. I was going to remove the old hard drive and install it in a spare bay in the new PC.

I suspect that you can fix things for your daughter quite nicely with a $5 Ethernet cable instead of a $50 to $100 Zip drive.

Many PCs running Windows 98 came with Ethernet ports, connections that look like telephone jacks but that are about twice the size. Windows XP (and Windows ME) includes a wizard program that will let users connect two computers together in a home network using Ethernet cables, and a typical 3-foot cable costs about $5.

You will find the needed software in the Windows XP My Network folder that comes up when you click the Start button. Follow the instructions to add a computer to the network, and the software will configure your XP machine and then create a special floppy disk that you can insert into the Windows 98 machine to automatically configure it for the network.

These Ethernet connections operate about 10 million bits per second and will make extremely fast work of transferring all of the data on the Windows 98 machine into the Windows XP one.

James Coates writes for The Chicago Tribune, a Tribune publishing newspaper. He can reached via e-mail at jcoates@tri bune.com.

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