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cannot boot IBM Thinkpad 600

Posted on 2004-10-16
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I was loading some networking drivers on my IBM Thinkpad 600 and got a fatal error message that told me I had to reload the operating system.  I then did a very stupid thing by selecting only the CD-ROM to boot up in the bios setup configuration menu.  (I wanted the machine to autostart the cd on bootup prior to WIN98 loading...I wasn't able to reload the OS with the OS already operating).  Now I can't boot from a good startup floppy disk (I verified the disks on another machine) nor is does it recognize the harddrive at bootup...it only reacts to the bootable cd rom as I configured it.  

The problem is that I cannot get the bios menu to come up again by pressing F1 prior to the machine posting.  I get an error code I9990305 at bootup (which means there is a Fixed boot sector error, no operating system installed, the IBM site says that it means there is no bootable device.).  I push F1 as I startup the laptop... I then get an animation of a floppy going into a the floppydrive.  When I push f1 ( as indicated by the animation) I get the I9990305 error.

If I use the recovery disk provided by the 2nd source provider, I can load the boot drivers w/ or w/out cd support.  I can then access the b: floppy drive and the c: harddrive and the cd rom drive.

I tried to reflash the bios, thinking that it would default the boot sequence back to hhd, floppy, cd but I get a "image file corrupted" error when I am extracting the flash bios program I downloaded from the IBM site  (spsdib54.exe   628,030   BIOS - System Program Service Diskette)

I reformatted the c drive with format c: /s, then loaded windows 95 from the rescue disk.  When I try to manually start windows from the c drive (after booting from the CD rom), I get an error message saying the certain files are missing.

I tried loading WIN 98SE but when it comes time to reboot, I get the same problem with the I9990305 error.

Help!!  How can I get back to the bios menu?  Life was simple back then!!
 
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Question by:podraskyk
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4 Comments
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 12331544
1)
Dont attempt flashing your BIOS when the machine has a problem. The boot sequence is in the CMOS part anyway, so a CMOS reset is enough to get the default values.

2)
To me this sounds like the HD has a problem. You may have to run some diagnostic on it to verify that it is OK. (from a bootable floppy)

IBM used to have a utility called "ZAP" that cleaned out a hard drive very quickly and efficiently. After this you had to create partition(s) as needed and format before you could install an O/S. The procedure helps in some cases where the HD problems are "logical" rather than physical.

I know some Compaqs have a part of the BIOS on a hidden partition on the HD; if the HD goes bad, the BIOS setup vanishes too. I don't know about your IBM machine, but if that should be tha case, you will need a specialized boot floppy from IBM (downloadable, no doubt) to restore the hard drive BEFORE you attempt to partition, format and install windows (or any O/S).
/RID
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Author Comment

by:podraskyk
ID: 12332840
ok..I temporarily removed the lithium cmos battery from the machine hoping that when I replaced it, the CMOS would reset. No joy.  I get the same I9990305 error and cannot access CMOS via F1.  Any thoughts on how to better attempt to reset the CMOS so that it boots from the hhd?

I'll download the hhd diagnostic tools to check the hhd ...stay tuned.

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Assisted Solution

by:rid
rid earned 400 total points
ID: 12332957
Removing the battery usually works OK, but it may take up to 15 - 20 minutes for the capacitors involved to drain wholly. If there happens to be a jumper somewhere that is marked CCMOS or "Clear" or similar that is a better way of going about this. The reset is done by moving the jumper from  its place over pins #1 and 2, and put it over #2 and 3 (so to speak) for a few seconds. You may not have this jumper in your machine anyway.
/RID
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Accepted Solution

by:
ChrisSchumann earned 600 total points
ID: 12348247
To get into the BIOS on a 600:
1. Turn the machine OFF.
2. Press and hold F1.
3. Turn the machine ON.
4. After you get into the BIOS, release F1.

You should also remove the hard drive and put it back in, just to be sure it is properly seated. If you can't get into the BIOS, try it with the hard disk removed. If that still doesn't work, re-seat the keyboard. If that STILL doesn't work, consider buying a replacement keyboard.

The 600 BIOS has a hard disk test. Give it a try.
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