Thinkcentre is too proprietary
November 22, 2005 8:04 PM   Subscribe

Okay, I don't usually like to ask this sort of thing on ask mefi but... I installed a unattended windows over my IBM Thinkcentre's OS and now of course it's completely crippled. Even worse I can't restore from the partition. Help... anyone!

I have a m50 8189 e1u and the trouble is that the partition isn't bootable, I didn't install over the partition as far as I know, I used a repair diskette and it made "f11" reappear, but it just beeps when I press the button and then loads windows. Is there any way I can get this to work?

It doesn't even accept USB keys because it appears the only powered jacks need special IBM drivers, the network needs drivers, everything needs special drivers! I have no CDrs to speak of and dvdrs wouldn't work.

The damn thing is deaf blind and dumb, is there anyway to get at least the network going; or anything onto it for that matter? I'm afraid if I'm even able to get all the drivers that it asks for it's still not going to work like the restored version is supposed to. Anyway to access/verify the secret partition?
posted by Napierzaza to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I don't know what version of Windows you've installed, but you could try running fdisk from a DOS prompt — if this is still included in recent versions of Windows it will at least show you what partitions are there, and may allow you to change the 'bootable' flag.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:53 PM on November 22, 2005

This is why I still keep a Windows 98 Startup Floppy around.

(With fdisk like Ishmael said)
posted by meta87 at 8:57 PM on November 22, 2005

Postscript: If fdisk is not included and you're able to burn a CD, the Linux version of fdisk on a Knoppix CD or something similar will do the trick as well.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:59 PM on November 22, 2005

Linux fdisk+knoppix (or other live linux) is a godsend. I've performed unpossible miracles in Windows land with it via fiddling with bootflags, partitions, file system flags, etc. And I'm not even a linux nerd.

You can boot knoppix straight to command line and run fdisk from there.

Careful, though. You can completely hose your drive if you don't know what you're doing. (Just like you can with MS DOS fdisk, but just with many, many more options.)
posted by loquacious at 9:20 PM on November 22, 2005

Easiest solution -- get a copy of the 'recovery disks' for your particular machine. If you don't have another/friend with/etc, apparently you can get them free in the US (although over here in Oz they cost a whole $AU50 or something).

I'm not sure what you're referring to with "powered jacks" for the USB -- the thinkcentres I've seen all had normal USB ports which worked as per standard. Might be worth popping into the BIOS (press F1 when you turn on the machine) to make sure they're enables for booting.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:54 PM on November 22, 2005

Response by poster: I have extensively finaggled the BIOS and made everything as open as possible. Every port does no respond to the inserted key except for the port on my keyboard which sees it but says it has no power. It says to go to device manager where the bold ones are powered, there is only one and it's not really marked as USB, but instead it's a "unused port". Suffice to say that I've tried every USB port and no luck.

I'm in Canada, it's not free for me to get the CD, can't they just have CD images available? I know how to burn CDs...
posted by Napierzaza at 6:08 AM on November 23, 2005

Napierzaza, you can download Knoppix ISOs from
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:25 AM on November 23, 2005

The problem with having the CD images available for download is that the image contains a fully working copy of Windows.

Funnily enough, Microsoft is not overly keen on that being freely downloadable ;) Most/all of the new machines can actually create their own Recovery Discs (under the Access IBM menu from the Start bar) but, if you can't boot your machine as-is, that's likely not very much good to you.

Also, you can download all of the drivers from the IBM website - Enter your model into the appropriate search box, and it will take you straight there.

Now, having said that, I think I'm a bit confused -- in your OP you say that the "partition isn't bootable", but in your most recent post you're referring to looking in Device Manager, which implies that the machine has booted to the Operating System......?
posted by coriolisdave at 1:34 PM on November 23, 2005

Response by poster: Windows yes, I mean the emergency partition through pressing f11 doesn't work.

Stuff there are not drivers for: USB jacks, it says that it's ffully supported with service pack one. However... it's a lie.
posted by Napierzaza at 1:59 PM on November 23, 2005

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