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IBM Thinkpad a21m Trouble installing OS


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#1 Joshonator

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:11 PM

Since i think it is relevant in understanding the situation, i'll start of from the beginning.

A few weeks ago i was thinking about how i could really use a laptop that i could bring around. So i looked for cheap ones on ebay and found one that seemed like a fine deal so i purchased it. Here is the description as it appeared on ebay:

Brand: IBM Processor Type: --
Type: -- Processor Speed: 750 MHz
Screen Size: 14.1 inches Processor Configuration: Single Core
Operating System: Not Included Memory (RAM): 512 MB
Primary Drive: CD-ROM Hard Drive Capacity (GB): 12 GB

This auction is for
IBM THINKPAD A21M 750MHz 512MB 12GB LAPTOP w/ AC
comes with
750MHz processor
512MB memory
12GB HDD
CD-ROM drive
NO Operation System
Item is in good condition
It comes with original IBM Ac Adapter
16V 3.36A

At the time i didn't think the lack of an OS would be any trouble at all since i have windows 2000 pro and windows xp home installation disks that i wasn't using.

So the item arrived and i booted up, popped in the xp installation disk and was greeted by a "NTLDR is missing, press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart" error message. So i tried restarting, changing the boot order in bios to boot from the disk, trying a different disk, making an ultimate boot disk and putting it in, tried to boot from a usb, and i just kept getting the same message. I tried removing the Hard drive but then it said in Red/White text "hard drive not installed" and it still wouldnt boot up from the winxp or w2k pro CDs.

I also asked the seller for help but he gave me idiotic answers and obviously had no idea what he was talking about. He said "laptop does not have a hard drive in, you need to put one" even though it came with one and he also said "you need to install operation system" so i figured there was no way he would be able to help me.

After googling for hours and getting nowhere, i resolved that the best option would be to buy an enclosure for the HD and then transferring the needed file directly to the HD. So i ordered an enclosure and got it a few days ago. So i put the NTLDR files on it and popped into the laptop and i got the message "Operating System not found press any key to restart". Then i tried connecting it to an old computer booting the disk up and installing it from there, got the same result. Now when i try to boot from a CD it says "Remove disks or other media press any key to restart" and if i press a button i get the os not found message.

Please don't tell me to return it to the seller, shipping is at the buyers expense and shipping it there and back would cost more than the thing is worth. Its just frustrating because i wasted so much time on it and have gotten nowhere so i decided to try my luck here as a last resort. Thanks in advance for anyone who reads this post and tries to help and sorry if i forgot to mention anything.

Other info:
-The hard drive is connected properly, otherwise the "NTLDR is missing" error would not have went away when i added the files.
-It does have a floppy drive but i have no floppy disks.
-If i format the HD and put it in blank i get the NTLDR error message again.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:58 PM

<<...since i have windows 2000 pro and windows xp home installation disks that i wasn't using.>>

What is the origin of this XP Home disk? Is it a Microsoft XP Home CD or is it a disk that came with a purchased system?

I can't tell you what's wrong with this system...part of the risk of buying used...is the fact that there is a reason sellers want to sell.

I don't know why people do this...but my advice is NOT to format a hard drive before attempting to install XP on it from a MS XP CD. My experience is that this may result in the XP CD's inability to do what it should do.

<<NTLDR is missing, press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart.>>

That error message should never appear when trying to install an O/S to a bare drive from a MS XP CD. Since there are no files installed...it's logically impossible for a system file to be missing.

From http://tinyempire.com/notes/ntldrismissing.htm:

"When your computer starts, the BIOS attempts to find the primary hard drive's active partition to read the first sector for the MBR (Master Boot Record), it uses that info to load the rest of the OS. For Windows NT4/2k/XP the MBR is pointed to the NTLDR (New Technology Loader) and it takes it from there. If you get the "NTLDR is missing, press any key to restart" what's most likely going on is the BIOS either didn't look for the right drive, didn't find the right partition, it wasn't active, didn't find the MBR, or the MBR didn't list NTLDR in the right place, the location of NTLDR changed, or you are looking at a hardware failure situation (memory/cables/drive/motherboard/etc). "

I believe that the media you are trying to install from...is the key.

Louis

#3 Broni

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:58 PM

If had a shot, I'd say dead CD drive.

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#4 Broni

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:00 PM

Louis
I didn't see your reply, before I replied :thumbsup:

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#5 Joshonator

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:15 PM

Thanks for your responses

What is the origin of this XP Home disk? Is it a Microsoft XP Home CD or is it a disk that came with a purchased system?


I purchased it long ago for another computer when it got trojans and i had no recovery disks and needed to reformat.

I don't know why people do this...but my advice is NOT to format a hard drive before attempting to install XP on it from a MS XP CD. My experience is that this may result in the XP CD's inability to do what it should do.


I wish they had left something on the HD but it seems like they had just taken a blank one and plopped it in.

If had a shot, I'd say dead CD drive.


I suppose its possible but there is a green light that goes on when the CD drive is in and it goes off when it is removed so it should be in working order. I do have an external dvd drive i could hook up by USB but i dont know if it would be able to boot from it but i might give it a try.

That error message should never appear when trying to install an O/S to a bare drive from a MS XP CD. Since there are no files installed...it's logically impossible for a system file to be missing.


Do you think that its possible that a full bios reset could possibly resolve the problem?

#6 hamluis

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:28 PM

<<Do you think that its possible that a full bios reset could possibly resolve the problem?>>

You are asking a person who has never done a BIOS update since Win 95/98 days, when hardware changes (introduction of Cd burners) made such necessary.

OTOH, I don't normally buy systems where OEMs like Compaq, Dell, etc. put out BIOS updates routinely.

I don't see a BIOS update as the key to your situation, but I've been wrong many times before :thumbsup:.

Louis

I think I might attach that hard drive to another system and wipe it with DBAN...and then try to install XP on it.

Edited by hamluis, 25 January 2010 - 10:30 PM.


#7 Broni

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:43 PM

I suppose its possible but there is a green light that goes on when the CD drive is in and it goes off when it is removed so it should be in working order.

It only means, the power is on, but it may be not reading disks.

Installing Windows XP using an external USB CD-ROM, DVD-ROM drive: http://www.netcal.com/blog/?p=12

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#8 Joshonator

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:59 PM

I think I might attach that hard drive to another system and wipe it with DBAN...and then try to install XP on it.


The problem with installing XP on it, is that even with it installed it says no OS found so it seems like it isnt recognizing it because it was installed from another computer. I might try wiping it with DBAN though just to make sure it isnt keeping any dirty secrets :thumbsup:

It only means, the power is on, but it may be not reading disks.

Installing Windows XP using an external USB CD-ROM, DVD-ROM drive: http://www.netcal.com/blog/?p=12


This technique wouldnt work unfortunately because it requires you to copy a folder and run files, which requires a working OS (or dos which i cant get into). I doubt that the external drive will be accepted as a boot source but i think ill give it a try tomorrow (im willing to try just about anything right now).

Going to bed now cause i have a driving test tomorrow, i look forward to hopefully seeing more replies tomorrow :flowers:




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