03-24-2012 10:53 AM - edited 03-24-2012 12:50 PM
Dear Lenovo Support Community,
I have a T61 with XP pro on it. This is the history of my harddisk problems with it:
(the harddisk is HDD0 Fujitsu MHW21160BJ G1 and everything in laptop (HW and SW) are same as the factory sold one)
1. Unfortunately I had not made any recovery cd/dvd when the computer was healthy
2. Some time ago, after a crash, and during the chkdsk in the following boot up, harddisk showed 12kb bad sector
3. Due to more crashes and not being able to login once, went to rescue & recovery and only recovered OS to an old and healthy state. Kept my data, lost all the new programs installed but got the OS fine and running. --> I guess the bad thing that may have happened is that recovered OS may have used those bad sectors as well, but this is just a guess.
4. Problems, slow downs, the 12kb bad sector, issues kept coming back every couple or few weeks. Repeated the rescue and recovery OS installations another two times.
5. Few days ago, all was good, but needed to restart, but this time a blue screen came up with UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. This screen comes up even if I try to go into safe mode, with networking, or even with only DOS prompt.
6. Tried to go to rescue and recovery (version 4), it took a really long time and was telling me that something wrong with the file \minit\setupapi.log and after a long long time that it got in the page for rescue and recovery, it was not doing anything by clicking on any of the buttons.
7. Took the hard out, connected it through an external enclosure to another computer, the main drive could not be read at all, I/O error, not distinguishable.
8. But the SERVICE drive was understood and I could even run chkdsk /F F:\ on it and it repaired the file mentioned above (\minit\setupapi.log).
9. Put the hard back into T61, went to rescue & recovery, this time the error on the file was not showing up, but since the step #8, I have not been able to get pass the initial screen of rescue & recovery. It doesn't go in at all.
10. Found it through Google search, the famous post on this forum about fixing the Master Boot Record. Got the little program, burned on a CD, went through all of its steps, finished as described in the famous thread, but I am not sure if it has been any help to me so far.
11. In few other occasions, connected the hard through the external enclosure to another computer and found online and used programs like Disk Doctors Windows Recovery Data and EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard and was able to just read inside both NTFS main disk and FAT32 service disk (windows can also read the service disk but cannot read the main disk). Using the free version of EASEUS, I could even read and save my personal data since my last backup, so I am good to even format the T61 hard but still I don't want to give up on that.
12. While the lenovo harddisk is in it, in a restart went to BIOS (F1) and ran the harddisk diagnosis, It said: "Pass: Controller Diag, Error code 0000: Read verification failed". And after the "Test complete", it gave a red message in the middle of screen that "<<< An error was found. Call for service >>>"
13. As mentioned in #1, I don't have Lenovo's recovery Windows XP CD(s) for T61, but I have some other windows xp installation CD's, I thought I can put them in CD drive, boot up from CD, and try to recover or repair the windows, It seems that they tell me there is no harddisk in your computer!! When I press "R" to go to recovery console, it tells me: "Setup did not find any hard drives installed in your computer."
My questions for dear members of this forum are:
1. Can I recover my T61 harddisk with the above description? It is being read nicely with the recovery programs, so it should have not been damaged seriously. Please guide me to other things that I can try?
2. I can see and read the Service part of the drive from Windows (no recovery program needed) while connecting the drive through external enclosure to another computer. Can I run a program from the Service part of disk and make those T61 Recovery CD and DVD?
3. If I purchase the Recovery CD(s) from Lenovo, would they be doing any magic or help in my case described above?
4. Can I make recovery CD(s) from another T61 laptop and use them for mine?
Thanks all for reading my long post and helping me. God Bless.
03-24-2012 04:02 PM
Welcome to the forum!
As for your questions:
1) Not likely at all.That drive is as good as dead - you'd need a help of a professional (as in "paid") service to recover the data.
2) Too complicated for your needs. Trust me.
3) Why? These disks are 2007 software. You're much better off doing a clean install of XP/Vista/W7 and adding drivers/utilities as you deem fit.
4) Yes but see 1 and 3.
You need a new hard drive, first and foremost.
03-24-2012 04:42 PM
Thanks a lot for your welcoming message and putting time to read my long post and answering all of my questions.
Actually from my short time spent on the lenovo support forum, I had seen in many places that you have helped users with their questions
I understand all you have said, it is great to hear it from a Guru. On my way to find a new hard drive and install a clean OS I don't have detail knowledge of how these things work (like when a hard drive is in a serious trouble) and my background and online help (Googling) can get me only a little forward in debugging. Better cut my losses and start fresh. Luckily I had backed it up.
This drive worked about four years. I don't know whether this is normal/average failure time.
Thanks again for your help and support, very much appreciate that.
03-24-2012 05:38 PM
03-24-2012 06:40 PM
When installing XP on a SATA drive, you must go into the BIOS first (press F1 on boot), then into Configuration and set the SATA mode to "Compatbility" instead of "AHCI", then press F10 to save and exit. This will aloow you to install the OS without the missing drivers.
Good luck and keep us posted.
03-25-2012 03:20 PM
Thanks a lot George for your help again. After setting the SATA mode to Compatibility, installed a fresh XPpro on a new hard drive. I am not sure how old is the disk that I have, probably dating back to mid-2007. I guess I need to search online to find the drivers for T61 too and install them. For example I don't see how to turn on the wireless. Also still cannot take back the SATA mode to AHCI since still this windows is old and doesn't have the proper driver, I tried that and was getting blue screen without no error code, just something bad happened Off to go find the drivers and thanks again for your time and help. I guess if I can the T61 recovery disks, they would include the OS and drivers.
03-25-2012 09:09 PM
AL_K wrote:I guess if I can the T61 recovery disks, they would include the OS and drivers.
I believe george mentioned that the recovery discs would have the 2006 era windows and drivers. These discs were designed before production started and weren't updated at all. If you install from them, everything on your system will be outdated.
Install system update
Three simple steps... but you can skip #3
03-26-2012 05:44 AM
Thanks TuuS for your reply, appreciate that. Yes installing from the outdated recovery disks is not a good idea. I found the necessary drives (the most updated ones) from this site one by one and installed them and I am almost good, maybe still few things missing [for example installed the driver for keybpard speciall functions, like the bottuns for volume or the Fn keys, but still they don't work]. But two things came to the light recently.
1. If I use any Windows XP Pro SP2 installation CD, would I be able to use the authentication code on the sticker on the back of my T61 to activate the Windows?, or shall I use a particular installation CD.
2. From what IBM Lenovo customer service is saying, the recovery CDs for purchase are old, but they are pre-activated XP Pro SP3 with the most updated driver at the time CDs were produced (2008 probably).
TuuS, BTW you mentioned three simple steps, I see two I believe the third one is "install drivers", is it? [whatever it is, you mentioned that I can skip it ]
03-26-2012 08:03 AM
Step One: Install windows
Step Two: run system update
Step Three: Your done (optionally have a beer and relax)
Sorry, step three was a bit of humor I added.
Actually these recovery CDs were produced before the first T61 was made, probably in 2006. The T61 line was replaced in 2008.
You can activate with the code on your COA, I've done it many times, just make sure you do a full (new) installation, not an upgrade, from an oem disc.
If you do end up using the original product recovery disc set, your steps are more like this...
1. Install disc one... wait 30-60mins
2. Install disc two... wait 30-60mins
3. Install disc three... wait 30-60mins
4. Install disc four... wait 30-60mins
5. Install disc five... wait 30-60mins
6. Install disc six... wait 30-60mins
7. Install disc seven... wait 30-60mins
8. Install disc eight... wait 30-60mins
9. download latest service pack for windows and install (over an hour)
10. Install (replace old version) system update and run.
11. go to windows update and update several years worth of patches and hotfixes. (1-4 hours)
12. kick back and have a warm beer and cold pizza, if there is any left after I finished hours ago and celibrated already.
Also, after going through all that, you've not only installed windows, then replaced nearly the entire operating system, but you've also used valuable harddisc space to make several redundant copies of the outdated files, drivers and apps.
Please understand, I'm not saying the recovery discs are a bad design, they work great, and back in 2006-7-8-9 I'd happily go through all that work, but today all the stuff on them is to old so it's futile to go through all that. It would be really nice if Lenovo updated the install discs, and we could download the latest version to use, but they basically just leave them untouched after the model line is released, so nothing on that disc is newer then about 2006.
I'll also add that both George and I have done this well over 100 times each, so we wouldn't be suggesting this if it wasn't the best option, but in the end you'll have a working system no matter which route you take to get there, so the only question to ask yourself is...
Do you like your beer cold and your pizza hot
Good luck, and enjoy your endeavours
03-26-2012 08:28 AM - edited 03-26-2012 08:32 AM
Thanks a lot TuuS for your detailed reply. The third step is the one that I shouldn't miss
I don't want to use the recovery disks too , for one being all you have said truly above, for second I don't have them. But the question that I have and you also pointed to it in your recent reply, is "... from an oem disc". I don't have any Windows XP oem disk too I obviously do have the code on my COA on the sticker on the back of the machine, but since I don't have any Windows XP oem disk, that COA code is of no use to me Is this oem disk something that can be purchased? is it something that can be produced by another T61 machine (something that I can later activate Windows by my COA code)?
Thanks again for all of your time and help.