[posted on behalf]
I am a retired 81 year old pensioner, still completing and publishing my life's research work (unpaid). I am totally dependent on a very old PC running XP with software such as Photoshop CS2 and Office Pro. I fear that one day the PC will fail to boot, leaving me high and dry, with nothing better to do but sit and watch the telly all day. The installed software cannot be re-installed even though I have the original disks (out of service and only now available on subscription with I cannot afford). I am also dependent on the full implementation of DOS which XP provides. This enables me to shell out to command line operations such as grep, bat files, and software that can only be installed on XP. This includes GLE-33 (graphic language editor by Chris Pugmire) which I use for all illustrations to publish, Wordstar V4 which permits column editing, Turbo-Pascal v55 for writing code for statistical analysis and 3-dimensional cartesian geometry. I also use IBM-SSR (Fortran IV) for matrix manipulation and for X-Ray and Gamma spectrum analysis. All of this requires DOS via XP.
A forward solution has been suggested to me to clone my C and D drives in the XP machine where the OS and everything else currently resides, onto two EHDs, and buy a modern Win 11 machine and set it up as a virtual machine. It all sounds magic and goody, but beyond me to do any of what might be involved, and therefore I need help.
I also foresee some problems. I don't like the idea of relying on EHDs which are powered by USB. So I purchased a 10TB EHD with its own PSU for reliability. This will need partitioning into 10 x 1TB units (named C to L), as XP cannot address more than 1TB. The current C and D drives (1TB each) are only half full and are never likely to fill up. I understand the suggested partitioning needs to be compatible with XP (sector size etc) so that cloning will be possible from XP. Next is actually the cloning from XP. I have no idea how to do these apparently simple first two steps.
The next problem is getting PS and Office working. These programs identify if someone tries to install onto new hardware, and will therefore fail to work. Although there is widespread anger at this when people have paid for legitimate software, the developers are deaf to complaints. I have been told that there is a workaround. 1: That several identifiers of the C drive (serial number, MAC address, etc) are used to prohibit installation on another HD. 2: that these identifying numbers can be located and then imprinted on a second HD so that installed software will work. Once again, this is all beyond me.
Finally, there is the matter of making a VM wth the two new cloned C and D drives. I am told that this should be quite simple to achieve.
I have saved up enough ping to buy a new reliable PC, but need help with the steps oulined above. I am happy to pay someone a fixed fee for help, but feel it would be reasonable to expect to pay only after a satisfactory end result is achieved. That is, all software mentioned above working. I don't feel comfortable about letting my XP machine leave my house. Therefore I would hope that some of the tasks could be implemented remotely. For example, someone might be able to talk me through the partitioning process by phone, and hopefully the cloning process. After that I could courier the cloned EHD and a new Win11 machine to someone to do the VM work and get PS and Office working, and check out everything else is working too.
It all sounds so simple using words. Is there anyone "out there" with the expertise and confidence that could help? ZL2JKP@nzart.org.nz