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DOS 6.x’s INTERLiNK - (Works in Windows 95, too)
By Fred Kagel

While many have raised concerns about DOS 6's DoubleSpace and MemMaker, little has been mentioned, positively or otherwise, about DOS 6.x’s INTERLiNK and its companion, INTERSerVeR. These pert little programs enable another PC, especially a laptop, to be "networked" to a desktop computer. Once connected with those new what's-it-for DOS 6 parallel cables (a.k.a. LapLink cables) and once the software is installed properly, files can be transferred back and forth between computers. The laptop, installed as a client, can also execute programs on the desktop server or vice versa if the setup is the other way around with the laptop as the server.

Many desktop users have internal tape drive backups given the size of today's hard drives. A question came up on how to backup the data from a laptop directly to the internal tape drive of the desktop. Actually, network programs have been around for years to do the job, but most single users do not own a network. Also, some of today's backup programs such as FastBack Plus 6.0 support laptop backups. Now, DOS 6.x has this little known capability built in. Here's how to do it:

Place Device statement after any other statements which would add drive letters such as double space, ramdisk, networks, etc. The parameter n can be used to increase the number of translated drives beyond the default of 3.

What about transfer speed? 1.7 Megs was transferred in 2:22 minutes for a transfer rate of 700K per minute with compression. This seems to be about the right speed for transferring over the parallel port. The time includes tape start up and wind down times, so don't completely rely on this small sample size. At this rate, it would take approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hrs to backup 80 Megs. This compares with an expected maximum transfer rate of 4.4 MB/minute for the Colorado Jumbo 250 or roughly 20 minutes to backup up 80 Megs on a standalone system. In practice, the transfer speed will vary widely from system to system.

For extras, Interlink works with both Stacker and DOS's own DoubleSpace. Also, both DOSShell (Arghhh!) and Windows are Interlink-aware, meaning that you can use Dosshell or Windows' file manager to do your copying and moving about.

Your own favorite DOSSHELL may not work; QDOS III by Gazelle, for example, did not recognize the "network drives." LapLink by itself will not recognize another computer's drives as a different letter and, therefore, cannot use for tape backups. LapLink also will not run on top of Interlink. In spite of these incompatibilities (so what else is new?), Interlink is a welcomed addition to the DOS environment. [Copyrighted 1993-1999, Fred E. Kagel, Freehold Computer Training Center. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to republish in non-profit publications provided this notice appears in its entirety.]

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