I have a HP 9133 combo disk drive connected to an HP 9000 model 310 computer running Basic 4.0. This setup is used to control a few machines, and does not have a floppy inserted.

The hard drive is getting dated, and I am worried that it will break soon, rendering the machines unusable. To that end, I would like to copy the contents of the disk as an image, and emulate the hard drive using a modern computer via this PIC emulator, the HPDrive Project, or something similar.

The problem I have is how to copy a disk image off of the 9133 to be able to use the above tools. In researching options, I found BASIC commands to copy files, but none to directly copy the entire unformatted data on the disk. I am not beyond spending money on a device that will do this, and my focus is on trying to do this with minimal effort.

The computer starts by running the Basic program, and I am left without a command line (or much knowledge of old computers, though I do know basic decently).

  • 1
    This drive uses the IEEE-488 protocol.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


If you can get HPDrive working on a PC so that it can act a hard drive your HP 9000 model 310 computer then you should be able to use it's complementary utility HPDir to make an image of your HP 9133 drive. You'll need to a suitable HP-IB/IEEE-488 interface card for your PC for this work, but you'd also need such a card for HPDrive to work. Your specific drive, an HP 9133, is shown in an illustration on the HPDir project page, so drive compatibility shouldn't be a problem.

Illustration of HPDir using various drives including a HP 9133

  • You can make a USB adapter instead of a board, if HPDir can use a virtual COM port.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 20:51
  • 1
    Thank you @RossRidge, that's exactly what I needed! I do have an Agilent USB/GPIB adaptor, though the documentation indicates that the USB adapters will not work as they are not supported by the developer. In any case, i can at least try it before buying a $200 pci card. I'm marking this as solved unless I run into another problem.
    – AMiller
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 21:36
  • 2
    @AMiller If the USB device has driver support for the NI 488.2 API then it should work with HPDir, but it won't work with HPDrive. The later requires low level access to the IEEE-488 bus because HP computers do things things that aren't compliant with the IEEE-488 standard. If you get a PCI card make sure its one that HPDrive supports since it's requirements are much more restricted than HPDir.
    – user722
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 21:53

This drive uses the IEEE-488 (aka GPIB) protocol. You can make a USB adapter for this, then use a virtual COM port to communicate with the drive. I haven't found information about the specific API - these varied between different GPIB devices.

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