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First post, by HaldrynHotel

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I recently received a ThinkPad 755CE where the seller told me it needed a HDD replacement, because it died (those old IBM DHAA-2540), replaced with a spare Toshiba MK1301MAV (1.3GB) which had similar dimensions, the ThinkPad detected it.

Formatted and transfered the system (format c:/s) to the HDD, then copy Windows95 install files, using rawdisk access trick with VirtualBox.
ThinkPad detected it but no boot. Put a Windows 95 boot floppy disk to the ThinkPad and booted, i can access the drive and even i installed Windows 95 from it! no data errors whatsoever through the installation, but the ThinkPad BIOS still refuses to boot from thath hard disk after the installation.

What i'm could doing wrong?, i read in this forum those IBM DHAA had some proprietary IDE extensions for the ThinkPad for corporate security (AKA vendor lock-in) that prevent any other brand of HDD to work, i could be wrong, tried with slightly more recent models of IBM HDDs (DMCA, DTNA and DDLA) and nope, some of them suffers the same problem or the BIOS outputs 00174 error.

Thanks.

Last edited by HaldrynHotel on 2022-01-14, 15:56. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 2 of 14, by Bondi

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It's always a good idea to create a partition (fdisk), format the HDD and install an OS on the machine you plan to use it on.
I'd first do a clean DOS install or at least sys c: as Intel486dx33 suggested, and then W95 on top of it.

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Reply 3 of 14, by Intel486dx33

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Yes, try this.
Create a bootable DOS 5.0 or newer floppy with cdrom support.
You can down an image of one from the internet.

Then boot the 755 off the floppy
Copy files to the hard drive with this command
# xcopy a:*.* c:

Then “sys” the hard drive.
# sys c:

Reboot and the 755 should boot into DOS.

Reply 4 of 14, by weedeewee

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up to here all suggestions forget that the partition needs to be set active and that the MBR needs to be good.

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Reply 5 of 14, by HaldrynHotel

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Thanks for the suggestions but, i tried all of these before and none worked even the FDISK /MBR trick, didn't tried the sys c: from floppy disk yet.
usually this worked in other laptops, using the VirtualBox method i format and then transfer the system in the same VM (i use the Windows 95 OSR2 boot disk), then copy the WIN95 files on it after i mount the hard drive in Windows. The fact it never got to work in a ThinkPad is new to me even the weirdest no-name 486 laptop my method worked on it.

Gonna try the sys c: from the floppy disk.

Reply 6 of 14, by keenmaster486

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sys a: c:

I often have to do this because format, or Win9x setup, may not transfer the system files correctly.

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Reply 7 of 14, by HaldrynHotel

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keenmaster486 wrote on 2022-01-14, 16:10:

sys a: c:

I often have to do this because format, or Win9x setup, may not transfer the system files correctly.

Didn't work, still giving me that I9990302 error. argh. i really don't wanna buy those IBM DHAA drives.

Reply 8 of 14, by keenmaster486

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It's possible the 755 has the 504 MB hard drive size BIOS limit.

You might have to install a drive overlay like EZ-Drive.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
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Reply 9 of 14, by HaldrynHotel

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keenmaster486 wrote on 2022-01-14, 23:00:

It's possible the 755 has the 504 MB hard drive size BIOS limit.

You might have to install a drive overlay like EZ-Drive.

I probably i would try that, but i don't know why this fail if i did some HDD tests and diagnostics and all of them succeded!, the BIOS can write and read those drives just fine but can't boot from them?, man this is weird.
Besides EZ-Drive i can use Ontrack?, maybe i think i have some spare HDDs or use a 512MB compact flash card instead. but how i hate to reopen the disk caddy everytime.

Reply 10 of 14, by HaldrynHotel

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HaldrynHotel wrote on 2022-01-14, 23:40:
keenmaster486 wrote on 2022-01-14, 23:00:

It's possible the 755 has the 504 MB hard drive size BIOS limit.

You might have to install a drive overlay like EZ-Drive.

I probably i would try that, but i don't know why this fail if i did some HDD tests and diagnostics and all of them succeded!, the BIOS can write and read those drives just fine but can't boot from them?, man this is weird.
Besides EZ-Drive i can use Ontrack?, maybe i think i have some spare HDDs or use a 512MB compact flash card instead. but how i hate to reopen the disk caddy everytime.

Gotcha swapping the Toshiba 1.3GB HDD to a 512MB Sandisk CF card booted straight away!, it was the high capacity of the disk all this time!
EDIT: Used a Transcend 2GB CF with Windows 95 preinstalled, it worked!

Reply 11 of 14, by keenmaster486

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HaldrynHotel wrote on 2022-01-15, 00:20:

Gotcha swapping the Toshiba 1.3GB HDD to a 512MB Sandisk CF card booted straight away!, it was the high capacity of the disk all this time!
EDIT: Used a Transcend 2GB CF with Windows 95 preinstalled, it worked!

Hmm, maybe it just didn't like that particular drive.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 13 of 14, by HaldrynHotel

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keenmaster486 wrote on 2022-01-15, 00:57:
HaldrynHotel wrote on 2022-01-15, 00:20:

Gotcha swapping the Toshiba 1.3GB HDD to a 512MB Sandisk CF card booted straight away!, it was the high capacity of the disk all this time!
EDIT: Used a Transcend 2GB CF with Windows 95 preinstalled, it worked!

Hmm, maybe it just didn't like that particular drive.

Used many models (post-DHAA) IBM HDDs and none of them worked, instead the ThinkPad will report 000174 BIOS failure code, i think it something to do with those 4 extra pins that usually is for master/slave jumpers, no idea if IBM repurposed it, the CF to IDE adapter (from Syba) doesn't have such extra 4 pins.

Reply 14 of 14, by HaldrynHotel

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Well, it worked with CF, now this Thinkpad has some serious instability problems, in particular the IBM MWave audio/modem card (i'm aware those MWave cards are awful), and everytime i try to insert a CF PCMCIA adapter, it crashes the whole Windows system causing General Protection fault, even if i left the card during reboot it will crash in middle of the boot.

Probably should downgrade to DOS6.22/Win3.1