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Win95 hangs during system recovery install on IBM Aptiva 2168-A50.

Posted on 2004-07-31
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
I (try to) refurbish donated computers for a charity.

One client has a IBM Aptiva 2168-A50 that had become corrupted.  Since she had the recovery CD,
I decided it would be easiest to just do a complete restore. More fool me!  :^)

The file expansion seems to work fine, and windows setup starts. It runs fine until I get to the
Windows 95 Setup window, which shows:

    Control Panel
    Programs on the Start menu
    Windows Help
    MS-DOS program settings

    IBM (the rest of this line was hidden by the message mentioned below)
    Auto (the rest of this line was hidden by the message mentioned below)
    Micr (the rest of this line was hidden by the message mentioned below)
    Set (the rest of this line was hidden by the message mentioned below)
    Pres (the rest of this line was hidden by the message mentioned below)
    Time (the rest of this line was hidden by the message mentioned below)
    IBM Mwave

There is this arrowhead that points to each entry in turn. When it gets to blank line between
"MS-DOS program settings" and "IBM", I get the message:

Registry Editor
Information in C:\PS1TOOLS\IBMBOOT\IBMRUN.INF has been successfully entered into the registry.

and the system completely freezes. Mouse doesn't work, keyboard frozen. The only way to reboot
is to power cycle. If I reboot, I get the "IBM" wallpaper only, and it freezes. If I reboot in safe mode, I
do get windows. If I reboot in step-by-step mode, I get:

    ...
    Load all windows drivers? Y

then after a few seconds the IBM wallpaper comes up again and the machines freezes.

I have tried it several times, with pretty consistant results. I tried to upgrade to Win98, just to see
what would happen, and it would freeze also (although in a different place).

I would like to save this machine if possible, since it has a lot of bundled software that my client
likes. Any ideas? TIA.
   
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Question by:jalukas
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11687136
If you have a standard Win95 CD if would be worth trying a claen install, this will miss some of the specific drivers needed by the IBM machine but will be a simple diagnostic that the machine s OK.  From what you have posted either part of the recover file is corrupted or you have a hardware fault on the Aptiva.  If you can get 95 limping aong from the standard install the recover disk will be able to pick up form there.
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by:jalukas
ID: 11688568
MASQUERAID -

I did a clean install, which went OK except that right at the beginning, when the install does a
scandisk, it kept complaining that one of the disks was compressed, even after I had done a
repartition and reformat of both disks (and, to my knowledge, they had never been compressed).
One of the options here was to tell the install program to ignore the problem, and when I did, Win95
installed with no further problems.  I am doing a thorough scandisk of both disks right now to
verify that there are no problems.

Now, how do I get the recover disk to pick up? As near as I can tell, the CD and floppy work in
concert, and all they do is complete reinstall, which starts with a quick format. I don't see anywhere
to tell it to install everything except windows. Any ideas there?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11688785
Interesting ... did you partition it with the Win95 Fdisk? I'm sure you already know about the 2GB limit. Maybe a hidden partition from IBM??  Anyway if Win95 standard install is happy with it (might be worth reformatting the strange partition within Windows first) you could now run the IBM restore and the bugs should be gone.  The format /q will mess up if windows later discovers its written to a format it doesnt handle.

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by:jalukas
ID: 11690612
MASQUERAID -

> Interesting ... did you partition it with the Win95 Fdisk?

Yes.

>  I'm sure you already know about the 2GB limit.

Yes, doesn't apply here. The 2 disks are 1.5 and 0.5 GB.

> Maybe a hidden partition from IBM??

I don't think so. fdisk shows only 1 partition on each drive, each the full size of the drive.

>  Anyway if Win95 standard install is happy with it (might be worth reformatting the strange
>  partition within Windows first)

I don't understand this. The first hard drive has 1 FAT16 partition, drive C. The other hard drive
has 1 FAT16 partition, drive D. Are you suggesting that I reformat C from within Windows? I
didn't know you could do that. Won't it destroy Windows? What would I accomplish?

> you could now run the IBM restore and the bugs should be gone.

As I understand it, the way that this restore works is that I put in the restore CD, then boot to the
restore floppy. The floppy reformats the C: drive, expands the compressed files (Win95 and
bundled software), then starts windows installation. And this would put me right back where I
started. I don't see how to install the bundled software without wiping out the existing windows
installation.

>  The format /q will mess up if windows later discovers its written to a format it doesnt handle.

Sorry, I don't understand what point you are trying to make.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11691359
Sorry not being clear.  The Standard Win95 installation was a diagnostic to check that it's not a hardware problem preventing the install my guess from the story so far is that the IBM install wasn't happy with the disk for some reason & because it's an automated restore wasn't giving you the chance to bypass it that you had with the standard disk.  Format/Q is a fast erase it doesn't actually reformat the disk so the formatting issue would still be there. I was assuming that the install was complaining about D: which not having Windows files on it could be formatted within Windows but is probably just a paranoia stage! Checking the IBM Aptiva site there are no system partitions installed

Perhaps we can just get the restore CD to unpack, if the format stage is bypassed the Windows files will just be overwritten but the other software will be installed.  The restore utility should be able to do this: http://members.aol.com/donnaskani/newrestore.html

This boot floppy seems to offer more utilities that the standard IBM one:
http://home.ptd.net/~don5408/toolbox/cdboot/
Is it possible just to run the restore utility rather than the full install?
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by:jalukas
ID: 11694529
MASQUERAID -

> Format/Q is a fast erase it doesn't actually reformat the disk

Yes. I don't think this is the root of the problem. I did a full Win95 format before I started the restore.

> I was assuming that the install was complaining about D:

No, that could not be it. I have tried (one of many times!) the recovery with the D drive disconnected. It made no difference - Win95 install still hung.

> The restore utility should be able to do this:

Great info! I have bookmarked this site for the *next* Aptiva I get!  :^)   Unfortunately, this site
does not cover this machine (2168-A50), and the recovery CD does not include the restore utility.

> Is it possible just to run the restore utility rather than the full install?

I don't see how; not with the IBM recovery floppy anyway. The install program on the floppy is an
executable, so I don't know what all it does. And, I think, it calls a executable on the recovery CD,
and I don't know what all it does.

So, I got the cdboot3 floppy, and it has the restore utility on it, so I am able to extract all the files.
However:

1) If I do a full restore, then all of my windows files (from the standard Win95 CD above) will be
overwritten. What will then happen when I boot to Windows?

1A) Is there anyway to "protect" the windows directory so that no file in it will be overwritten?

2) I can do individual restores for each directory (excepting windows), but it would sure be a pain!

3) Once I have all of the expanded files, how do I get all of the bundled software installed into
windows? Is there going to be a batch file somewhere that will do that? How will I find it?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 100 total points
ID: 11695187
1) If the restore runs OK this time it will just unpack the IBM Win95 files (correctly this time) so Win95 will boot like it does currently it will just be the restored IBM OEM version instead.

1A) Provided the install is ignorant of the partitioned drive you could install to D and make a dual boot machine which boots to standard Win95 on D and IBM Win95 on C, once you were happy with C you could erase the files on D.

2) Looks like the CD is just a WinZip file but you can download and use Restore with the 2168-A50
http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=0&q1=2168-a50&q2=restore&uid=psg1MNOK-3PZRJL&loc=en_US&cs=utf-8&cc=us&lang=en

3) Not sure but in all probability if you unpack the Restore CD it will either:
a) Have all the programs with their install software
or (more likely)
b) Restore all the files as if they had been previously installed including overwirting your system registry with the correct file settings and locations.
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by:jalukas
ID: 11700131
MASQUERAID -

Well, to be honest, I wasn't really sure exactly what you were suggesting I do. But here is what I did:

First, I restored all non-windows files, and rebooted to the MS CD Win95. The files for the bundled software
were all there, but nothing was installed. No surprise there.

Next, I restored all the windows files. Curiously, some files (USER.DAT, and a bunch of font
files; the messages were scrolling too fast to catch them all) failed on restore. I rebooted, and got a bunch of
errormessages (e.g. "Can't find C:\windows\system\vmm32\bios.vxd") which I was allowed to ignore. Again,
the bundled software was not there.

Next, I restored all root directory files, and rebooted. Windows installation started, and was very quick; in a
couple of minutes I got the "Windows is going to start for the first time", then the default wallpaper (no icons)
and it freezes.

Next, I tried reinstalling windows from c:\windows\options\cabs (which was populated by the restore). I got
the "setup found a compressed volume" message, which I skipped with <ESC>. This was a more normal install,
"Copying files..." etc., which did not occur in the previous installation. Anyway, windows installed ok, but not
the bundled software.

Any ideas?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11701071
Well the missing vxd files are usually created by Windows during the installation process so the Windows version created by the system restore is either:
expecting them there already (unlikely given that it erases everything before it starts)
intending to run setup.exe after the restore & before you launch windows
failing to restore the vxd files from the CD (seems most likely)

User.dat will contain the registry info for the bundled software.  It is possible you can restore just a couple of specific files from the bundled stuff - just to see if the files can be restored manually.

Another possibility is that the hardware spec has changed from the original so that the like-for-like restore simply doesn't work anymore - possible?  Was the partition in the HDD there before?

Sorry to be so vague but short of looking at the image file working on best guess!
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by:rayt333
ID: 11702685
Is the HD the original HD for the system? Remove the second HD and leave only the original, also remove any added devices (that wasn't factory devices)
Then try the restore disk.
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Author Comment

by:jalukas
ID: 11705862
MASQUERAID  -

> It is possible you can restore just a couple of specific files

Yes. The restore program that you pointed me to (CDBOOT3) has the cabability to restore individual files. However, just now,
when I tried to boot to that floppy I got:

    The compression driver cannot be set up correctly.

Since I was allowed to continue anyway, I tried restoring USER.DAT (it isin aptiva42.zip), but I still get:

    PKUNZIP: (W10) Warning! can't create: WINDOWS/USER.DAT

> Another possibility is that the hardware spec has changed

The only changes I made were to add some memory (from 16 to 48MB), and add a slave hdd.

> Was the partition in the HDD there before?

To the best of my knowledge, yes.  It surely was the first time I tried to do the restore. However, I have tried so many
different things, including repartioning and reformatting, that I am no longer certain that the current format is the same
as the original. Currently, there is one partition on the master hdd, 1626 MB, FAT16, and the version of Win95 installed
is 4.00.950, which I believe does not support FAT32, so I believe that it pretty much has to be the same as the original.

> short of looking at the image file

Would that help? Most of the restore data is a bunch of Zip files. As near as I can tell, here is how the restore works:

1) I boot to the restore floppy. I don't have the original restore floppy, but I was able to download one from the IBM
web site. Autoexec.bat runs install.exe (43KB), which then runs makedirs.bat (CD), and I'm not sure what happens
then. Here is a list of all non-zip files on the recovery CD:

aptiva.ctl 1KB which is two lines each with a single "N", followed by a list of the zip files
install.ctl 1KB which is:

    O95US0I 413378560 6400
    C:\CONFIG.SYS  1
    C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT  1
    C:\WINDOWS\WIN.INI  1
    C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.INI  1
    C:\WINDOWS\CONTROL.INI 1
    C:\WINDOWS\USER.DAT  1
    C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.DAT  1

LOADDSKF.EXE 14KB which I believe is used to create a recovery diskette
MAKEDIRS.BAT 6KB
PKUNZIP.EXE 32KB
RECOVERY.IMG 918KB

Is this last the image file you were referring to? I'd be happy to send it to you if that would help.




rayt333 -

>  Is the HD the original HD for the system?

To the best of my knowledge.

> Remove the second HD and leave only the original

That was one of the first things I tried. It made no difference.

> also remove any added devices

Would that include the additional memory? I have not tried running the restore after removing it. Frankly, I'd just as soon
not, unless you believe that could be the problem - it was a bitch to get in.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11706237
User.dat should be a hidden system file (registry data), on the HDD change the attributes, rename it and try restoring it again, if successful then you may need to empty the folders that the aptiva42.zip file is restoring to.

Also worth looking at one of the programs in your software bundle with WinZip. Does it look like you have the installer?  in which case unpack and try running the setup.  My guess is you have just the installed image though.
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Author Comment

by:jalukas
ID: 11706851
MASQUERAID -

> rename it and try restoring it again

OK. The restored USER.DAT was different from the one renamed. I rebooted to windows, but the only difference that I can
see is that the default wallpaper is replaced by one that reads "IBM". The bundled software is still not installed.

> you may need to empty the folders that the aptiva42.zip file is restoring to

The only folder that it restores to is windows. You aren't suggesting that I empty windows?

> Does it look like you have the installer?

There are a couple of "install" and "setup" programs that have been unpacked, but not enough for all the bundled software.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11707049
OK for some reason it appears that the restore package won't overwrite files with attributes set H,R or S.  Probably because it's expecting an empty volume.

I think you can force PKUNZIP to do this with the switches "-o -f "

>>You aren't suggesting that I empty windows?
No but if you're running the restore in DOS the aptiva file will unzip into Windows - allow it to overwrite the stuff that's already there.

If you unpack all the other files the registry settings in USER.DAT should allow them to run.
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Author Comment

by:jalukas
ID: 11707895
MASQUERAID -

> I think you can force PKUNZIP to do this with the switches "-o -f "

Nope, didn't work. The files in aptiva42.zip are encrypted, and I don't know the password (although it must be embedded
in the restore program, so it can't be a big secret). Anyway, I use restore to restore windows, keeping track of the files
it had trouble with. They were USER.DAT, SYSTEM.DAT, a bunch of font files, and a bunch of files in the CABs directory.
I restored USER.DAT and SYSTEM.DAT, and did a cursory check to verify that the other files were there (they seem to
be, but are read only).

Then, I rebooted to windows. I got the Windows 95 Setup window again, slightly different from before, which shows:

    Control Panel
    Programs on the Start menu
    Windows Help
    MS-DOS program settings

    IBM Aptiva
    AutoPlay

There is this arrowhead that points to each entry in turn. When it got to blank line between
"MS-DOS program settings" and "IBM Aptiva", I got the message:

Registry Editor
Information in C:\PS1TOOLS\IBMBOOT\IBMRUN.INF has been successfully entered into the registry.

I thought that we were back where I started, but it did not hang like before, but went on and finished installation. I thought
that we had it licked then, but after windows booted, the only thing new was that I had MS Works. None of the other
software was installed (actually, I didn't even know, or care, that Works was part of the package).
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You wouldn't let your users design their own business cards, would you? So, why do you let them design their own email signatures? Think of the damage they could be doing to your brand reputation! Choose the easy way to manage set up and add email signatures for all users.

 
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rayt333 earned 200 total points
ID: 11708096
Usally the restore operation goes with out a hitch unless you have changed hardware (memory shouldn't matter) very much.
Is the restore for this model of IBM? there are several checks the restore operation does to be sure it is the correct restore software.

By removing all unneeded devices (such as modem, network card, sound, ect and external devices as well, such as printer, scanner, ect) you may make it easier for the restore program to find and install the correct drivers, if it finds an unknown device it may make the system halt.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11708147
Hmm, well progress of a kind.
I guess the disk is something like this one:
http://members.aol.com/don5408/uaskb/couus1b.html

Now there's a working IBM version of Windows can you restore one of the other folders & see what we get?
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Author Comment

by:jalukas
ID: 11708434
rayt333 -

> if it finds an unknown device it may make the system halt

Which is pretty much what is happening. However, as near as I can tell, everything is original, and there are no additional
devices (excepting the additional hdd), and no external devices at all. I could remove the sound/modem combo board,
but would it also not halt if something it expected was missing?



MASQUERAID -

>  Hmm, well progress of a kind.

Indeed!

> I guess the disk is something like this one

Yes. I wonder if there is someone from the "Unofficial Aptiva Tech Support"  group who could help? Do you know how I could
contact that group? Or, are you a member?

> Now there's a working IBM version of Windows can you restore one of the other folders & see what we get?

I'm not sure what you mean by this, since all folders and files are and have been restored. However, I re-restored folder
C:\life, a reference, I believe, to a life magazine CD. As near as I can tell, this is independent of any other software. I
rebooted to windows, and got:

      Your display adapter is not configured properly.

Don't know why that happened all of a sudden. But, it is not significant at this point, and I digress. Nothing else happened,
and the Life program does not show up.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11708704
>>I wonder if there is someone from the "Unofficial Aptiva Tech Support"  group who could help?

Possibly it's run by a guy called Don Scheider his home page & email here:
http://members.aol.com/don5408/aptiva.html (although you've probably found this from my last link).  Page last updated December.


>>I'm not sure what you mean by this
The AptivaXX.zip files all contain different software only the last few are OS files.
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Author Comment

by:jalukas
ID: 11709128
MASQUERAID -

> Possibly it's run by a guy called Don Scheider

Thanks. I did find him and have sent him a request.

> >>I'm not sure what you mean by this
> The AptivaXX.zip files all contain different software only the last few are OS files.

Sorry, I didn't explain myself. I understand that each zip has diffferent software. I was wondering what the purpose was
for rerestoring files that were already there. Not that I have any objection, just wanted to understand the reason.
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Author Comment

by:jalukas
ID: 11837926
MASQUERAID,  rayt333 -

I did not get any response from Don Scheider, and I have not been able to make any additional progress, so I propose to close this issue. I plan to just install windows by itself; the user will loose that bundled software, but at least she will have a working machine. I thank you for your efforts. Any further thoughts?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11838378
Thanks for the update, I'd agree the plain Windows install seems the better option - & the user still gets to keep the restore disks in case someone eventually comes up with a solution (but sooo frustrating!).  Suggest you ask Community Support here to delete this question & refund your points.
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by:jalukas
ID: 11867277
MASQUERAID, rayt333 -

Well, it is a long story, but I finally got the recovery disk to install. It turned out that the MWave sound/modem card was bad, when I removed it, recovery went ok. However ...

By removing the MWave card, I had to put in a replacement. I started with the sound card, and found that I could not get a sound card to work until I removed the MWave drivers. That wasn't easy, but I finally got it done, and it works well.

Now, for the problem. I can't get a modem to work. I have tried several, including 2 new ones, with no luck. The current modem is a Pine 56K PCI modem right out of the box. For some reason, when I install it, I actually get 2 copies, one on COM3 and one on COM4. The one on COM3 (which is the one I actually installed), when I request "More Info" under the Diagnostics tab of Modem Properties, it says:

The modem failed to respond.... verify that the interrupt for the port is properly set.

I have ports COM2 and COM3 listed under device manager (actually this bounces around - sometimes it reads COM5, etc.) The interrupt for COM3 is 04.

The modem on COM4 (which Windows insists on reinstalling every time I remove it) says:

Couldn't open port

Not too surprising, since there is no COM4 port under device manager.

Anyway, any ideas on how to get a modem to work on this machine? TIA.
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by:rayt333
rayt333 earned 200 total points
ID: 11874021
I am guessing you are trying to use winmodems, try a hardware based modem and see if it works any better.
Did you try different slots?

Have you given any thought to using an external modem?
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Author Comment

by:jalukas
ID: 11877459
rayt333 -

> Have you given any thought to using an external modem?

No, I didn't think it would make any difference. So, I tried putting on an external, and it installed right away, no problems, and "more info" returns just what I expect. I haven't tried dialing out yet (being on line), but I have high hopes! Thanks!

I do have a question, though. I would appreciate your insight:

Why does Win95 insist on installing the modem (a US Robotics Sportster 56K Faxmodem) twice, first as "Standard Modem", and second as "Standard Modem #2", both on Com2. I installed the first, using the "Modems" applet on the control panel, but Win95 installed it again, without any input from me.
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by:rayt333
ID: 11877502
Win95 was very bad with the plug and pray installs.
The first time you installed the modem (using the modem applet) I would guess didn't really install, but then on a reboot the computer finds the modem and installs it again, the second one should work (but not always)

I started using USR external modem back in the Win95 days and used them on everything since with no problems, although now I am using satellite for my internet, but I still have the external as a backup in case I need to go back to dial-up access.
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by:rayt333
ID: 11877524
If I remember correctly, when I was still running Win95, you almost always needed to use an install program to install the modem drivers and not let Windoze find and install it first. Most of the winmodems today do not come with an install program, they are mostly for newer plug and pray OS's. Most don't say they are for Win95.
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by:jalukas
ID: 11909584
MASQUERAID, rayt333 -

Final report. I have the machine finished and ready to ship. I'm not fully convinced that there are not still problems lurking in the background waiting to bite the client, but I am completely worn out. A couple of days ago, I thought that I had all problems resolved when, out of the blue, both browsers (IE 5.5 and Mozilla 1.6) just stopped working! No error message, no indication of any problem, but, when invoked, they just didn't do anything. Reinstalling did nothing. I found some suggestions on the web that, after many hours of trying them out, made no difference. Even the latest version of Mozilla, which was supposed to fix this exact problem, had no effect. I eventually was able to get IE working by installing first IE 4.0, then IE 5.5 on top.

Well, I could go on for ever! I would be embarrased to tell you how much time I spent on this machine. Suffice it to say that if I had a nickel for every time I rebooted, I would take you both out to lunch. In Paris.

Thanks again!
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by:rayt333
ID: 11909614
As you have found out the older machines sometimes stumble with the newer software, the only fix for this is to stay with the older software and run in a more limited role or update the computer by buying a newer faster model that is designed to run the newer software.
You can only beat a dying horse so many times before you end up with just a dead horse
:>)
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 11910133
"You can only beat a dying horse so many times before you end up with just a dead horse"
LOL - So true!

I'm sure if we had known about Paris we would have bought you a replacement machine!
Good to hear that thing eventually worked out but I think you're probably right about it "biting back" at some stage.

M :o)
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