Replacing a dead X41 hard disk - Linux and/or Windows?

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PAL_Thailand
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Replacing a dead X41 hard disk - Linux and/or Windows?

#1 Post by PAL_Thailand » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:41 pm

I own an IBM ThinkPad X41 type 2525-E2A Serial # LV-xxxxx 06/01 with the product ID: 2525E2A

Its hard disk is a Hitachi "Travelstar" made in the Philippines. Its size is 2 3/4" on the long side
and 2 1/4'" on the short side not including its black plastic bezel fastener; it is 6/16" thick. The long side has 47 pins arranged while holding the HD with its label facing me and moving from the left to the right thusly: 4 pins/an empty space with no pins/18 pins/1 pin/24 pins. Unfortunately, this HD has given up the ghost and no longer works. :cry: I can, however, access the BIOS by pressing F1 at startup. :)

Other info on the HD include:
CYL 16383 H16 S63
A/A0B4 A/A
117,210,240 LBA's
60.01GB ATA/IDE
4200 rpm

P/N 08K1539
22DEC2005
RoHS

There is a sticker at the top right with "FRU P/N:39T2547" which covers the model number
# HTC426060G9AT00

While I have found, via the Internet, similar hard disks with the same specs noted above, I would like to know if it is possible to purchase a higher capacity HD that would fit into the rather confined space now occupied by the dead HD. Does my ThinkPad X41 have any inherent limitations that would preclude the installation of a higher capacity HD? If so, are there any known viable work- arounds?

Getting a replacement HD is my priority concern at this time. Once the matter of obtaining a new and hopefully larger capacity HD is taken care of, I will be needing assistance in obtaining the proper software needed to make the new HD as operable as was the old one with its Win XP OS and Rescue & Recovery software. The final item on my wish list is considering making the new HD a dual boot system by adding a Linux distro in addition to the Win XP OS. I realize that this final point may be more appropriate by contacting various Linux forums for their help and intend to do so when the ThinkPad is up and running again.

When I approached the IBM technical support staff in Bangkok for help, they just shook their heads at me and said it was an old machine and they had no spares for it, so it seems that my local technical resources are pretty much zilch. Consequently, I am sincerely hoping that the Thinkpad.com Support Community volunteers will be able to help me out. I myself am by no means a techie or an expert; I am but a 72 year old user in need of lots of help to get my trusty ThinkPad X41 back to its past usefulness.

Looking forward to working with The Original Thinkpad Support Forum in solving my problem.

Peter LaRamee
in Thailand

Admin edit: Edited out system serial number.

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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk

#2 Post by BillMorrow » Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:00 am

peter..

as you now know most any 2.5 inch 9mm thick HDD will fit and i think you can go to at least 160gig..
you'll want a 5400RPM drive if possible..

on amazon they range in price from $35 to $125 more or less..

what you really need is for another X41 owner to make copies of the recovery CD set.. or make ISO's and upload them to you or me.. :) i have only found a recovery set for the tablet version of the X41..
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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:47 am

Unfortunately that's not true.
Although most machines of that era use the 2.5" drives that BillMorrow describes:
Image

the X41 uses smaller, 1.8" drives with the HD-connector on the side!
Image
They came only in 30GB, 40GB and 60GB, all running at only 4200rpm.
Here's an (expensive!) 60GB one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/331477785059


There now are faster options: a modern SSD, made for the X41 series:
Image
They will be a lot faster than the old 4200rpm hard drives!
32GB: http://www.ebay.com/itm/261417362837
64GB: http://www.ebay.com/itm/251469137229
128GB: http://www.ebay.com/itm/261417367561

Don't think there are any larger ones in that model.
Enjoy updating!
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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk

#4 Post by PAL_Thailand » Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:33 am

Thanks for the new info. SSD certainly seems the way to go.

I also came across an old (2009) topic on this forum: "1.8 SSD for x4 series" which gave an interesting overview of how the SSDs got off the ground. Most interesting and I suppose that SSDs have just gotten better and better ( and cheaper too! ) as the years have gone by.

Some of the Chinese sellers of the Kingspec SSD don't ship to Thailand, so I guess it will have to be a round-about delivery via the USA and from there back to Asia and Thailand specifically.

I've come across comments that some ThinkPads don't "see" a larger density drive than the old HD of 60GB. Does anyone know if a Kingspec 128GB will cause any such problems?

Things may be quiet on this topic until the new SSD arrives. But I'll certainly need some help once it gets to Thailand. Will it need formatting and partitioning to accommodate making a dual boot machine out of the ThinkPad x41 such as I have written about in my original post? Those are things I never had to do by myself. I hope it won't be too difficult to learn what the process and steps are so that it all works out in the end.

Adios for the time being.
Peter in Thailand

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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:52 am

The above links were only put there to show you what they look like.
This one apparently ships to Thailand: http://www.ebay.com/itm/261927860990

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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk

#6 Post by PAL_Thailand » Thu Nov 26, 2015 2:22 am

Dear ALL,

I am happy to announce that I am now the proud owner of a brand new KingSpec SSD 1.8" PATA 128GB drive which originated in China. It arrived only a few days ago and is still in its original packaging and I presume that it is un-formatted, un-partitioned, and completely EMPTY.

With the ThinkPad's peculiar interface, and the owner of a dead HITACHI HTC426060G9AT00 IDE/PATA 60GB drive, how am I to proceed in preparing the new SSD drive for receiving an OS, when my ThinkPad x41 is in its inoperable state?

Looking forward to a detailed account on how to move forward with this particular project of setting up a dual-boot machine.

Maybe the first few steps are the manual formatting and partitioning of the SSD as per how the original ThinkPad left the factory. I also wish to have a partition for the IBM Rescue & Recovery software somewhere on the SSD as a safety net.

Regards,
Peter
in Thailand

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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk

#7 Post by PAL_Thailand » Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:00 am

Hello once again!

My last post of November 26th has not elicited any information for making my new SSD drive usable. Maybe it was the Thanksgiving holiday which kept folks occupied...

I presume that the new SSD needs some work done to it so that it can accept an OS and some new software and I've never had to prepare a drive from scratch and consequently I would greatly appreciate learning what I must do to proceed so that I don't mess the new SSD up ... creating newer problems to be solved.

Looking forward to your knowledgeable feedback and suggestions,

Peter
in Thailand

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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk

#8 Post by rkawakami » Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:06 am

I can answer some of your questions but I will need some additional information:

1) Do you have a Windows recovery set disk? And if so, is it a factory copy or one that you created using the Rescue and Recovery partition that was on the old hard drive?
2) If you do not have a recovery disk set, then that would be the first order of business in getting Windows XP Pro re-loaded. I don't have any experience with dual-boot systems so I can't say if putting Windows on the drive before Linux is easier or harder in the long run. So for the remainder of this post, let's assume that Windows is going on first. However, I do need to say that Windows XP was not written to natively support SSDs. The system will work but it won't take full advantage of its capabilities. My understanding is that Linux does know how to treat SSDs correctly but that depends on what version you use and you'll probably have to select carefully as you'll want a system that can handle the "obsolete" hardware in the X41.
3) I have the factory disk set (6 CDs) and the Windows Service Pack updates you should also install (SP2 and SP3). It's probably expensive to ship a copy to you so the alternative would be for me to put them on my web site for you to download. That leads to the next question: Do you have a fast broadband connection to the internet?
4) Do you have an optical drive that you can boot the system with? Typically this would be the X4 UltraBase (aka Media Slice) but I think you can boot the X41 using an external CD drive off the USB port (don't quote me that).
5) Assuming you have the recovery disk set and a way to boot the system with it, then I don't believe that there's any "extra" processing that needs to be done just because you have replaced the original hard drive with an SSD. With the SSD installed in the laptop, simply connect the laptop to a CD drive, power up the X41 and to make things go a little bit faster, press the F12 key when you see the IBM splash screen. Pop open the CD tray and insert the first disk in the set. You should then be able to select the CD drive as the boot device from the on-screen menu. From then on, all you need to do is wait for the instructions to load the next disk in the set. When the 6th disk is finished reading, the system will start configuring Windows. It usually takes 2 to 3 hours to get to the point where it's finally done and you have control over the Windows desktop. Then comes installing the Service Pack updates. I can't remember what Windows version is on the factory disk so you may have to load both SP2 and SP3 disks.

In any event, once you have SP3 installed you probably should go online and try running Windows Update to get any of the final patches before Windows went end-of-life. Once you've got the system to that point, I would recommend that you find a way to back up (or image) the system so you will have a better place to start from, if and when you need to do this again. There's a number of backup/imaging/cloning tools out there. There's also two types of media that you could store the copy on: optical disks (CDs; DVDs if you have a DVD writer) and a hard drive. If you do have the X4 UltraBase then you can swap out the optical drive with a second HDD adapter, put up to a 160GB PATA drive into it and then backup or clone your setup onto that drive.
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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk

#9 Post by PAL_Thailand » Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:36 am

Attn: Ray K.

Thanks for your input. First, let me reply to your questions.

1) My ThinkPad came to me as a donation from the U.N. many years ago. Their IT Dept had even removed the OS so I had to install Win XP Pro to make use of it but I never created a Windows recovery set disk. The Rescue & Recovery software on the the machine failed me quite some time before the HD gave out earlier this year.

2) Your remarks about Linux having a better grasp of SSDs makes me wonder if it might not be better to re-think my original wish for making a dual-boot machine and simply go for a 100% Linux machine. That would certainly eliminate all the hassle of Windows -- would it not? I had intended to eventually request help from a Linux forum for suggestions as to which distro might be most appropriate for my present situation, i.e. a ThinkPad with "obsolete hardware" and a new 128 GB SSD.

3) My Internet connection is definitely neither fast nor always reliable, living upcountry here in Thailand.

4) An optical drive I don't have. But the ThinkPad's BIOS does allow for an external USB drive to boot from. I have read somewhere that with a new SSD, one should assure that AHCI is enabled in the BIOS -- I've yet to find details about that or even what "AHCI" refers to.

5) Should I opt for a Linux machine, there'd be no need of the Windows Service Packs at all.

And so, I am still wondering if the new SSD needs anything to get it operational -- especially if Linux is more capable of supporting SSDs.

Right now, the ThinkPad makes a great paper-weight since its original Hitachi HD died and I still don't know if the new SSD can be prepared for use [ formatted (?), partitioned (?), or whatever ] by using a well-chosen Linux distro.

Your counsel is most welcome before I jump into this potentially new ball game.

Regards,
PAL-Thailand

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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk

#10 Post by rkawakami » Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:48 am

Peter,

Okay, thanks for the info. I can see that uploading disk images will not work for you (unless you can get to a computer with a fast net connection for a few hours and get an optical drive). As far as the AHCI is concerned, it's no concern here with the X41. AHCI is a SATA (Serial ATA disk) setting and won't even be in the BIOS.

As I said, I don't have any real Linux background so I'll have to defer to the experts as to what disto would be best for the X41. Windows XP IS a dead-end OS anyway, even though I still use it on most of my systems (I'm typing on an A31p right now). I would assume that for any fairly recent Linux system, it will be able to handle a new SSD and properly configure it. Some of the members here are quite knowledgeable about that OS. Let's hope one of those Linux experts happens along. As such, to increase the visibility of your post to those people, I've slightly edited your original post to include "Linux vs. Windows".
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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk - Linux and/or Windows?

#11 Post by axur-delmeria » Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:17 am

I'd suggest a newbie-oriented distribution like Linux Mint, specifically Mint 17.2 Xfce.
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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk - Linux and/or Windows?

#12 Post by shawross » Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:20 am

Peter I am not a linux user but I understand Thailand. I would inquire at a local Computer shop about them installing which ever Linux Distro you decide onto the X41.
Thai's that you would find in Chiang Rai would be very trustworthy and I guessing a bit here but you maybe able to get it installed for 200 - 300 baht. From what people say, Thinkpads are very linux friendly so I don't think it wold cause them any undue problems.
For the future look at some sort of backup option so you can retrieve things yourself. I would get the drive partitioned initially so you have a location for an image or whatever.
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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk - Linux and/or Windows?

#13 Post by PAL_Thailand » Sat Dec 12, 2015 2:46 am

I am in touch with a Linux Forum working out of Singapore for suggestions as to which distro their experts would suggest for using on the ThinkPad X41 with its new SSD 128 drive (which is still in its anti-static envelope). Better to have the right tools than to be sorry later. Right?

Having an appropriate Linux distro will certainly facilitate the remaining work of making the ThinkPad work with the new SSD.

Will keep you all posted as to their suggestions.

Regards,
PAL_Thailand

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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk - Linux and/or Windows?

#14 Post by danikayser84 » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:27 pm

Once you install the SSD, don't forget to apply the TTAV134 BIOS that provides an SLIC 2.1 table (for Windows 7 OEM installation), removes error 1802 (allowing third-party WiFi cards), and also removes the error 2010 (allowing third-party hard drives and SSDs like the Kingspecs or the mSata-to-IDE and ZIF-to-IDE adapters without having to hit ESC every boot/resume) ;)
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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk - Linux and/or Windows?

#15 Post by evening_hunger » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:41 pm

You can find some (probably a tad outdated) info about linux installation on x41 here.
Generally, nowadays the procedure is like this: you get a installation media which in 2015 will most likely be an .img file that you need to copy over to an usb key. You boot off that key, connecting your x41 to the internet (preferably by ethernet, as wifi will not work out of the box in most cases). Then the installation is rather simple, especially on aforementioned distributions. You choose the usage scenario, and the installer pulls the data it needs from the net. That is convinient in that you only install what you need (provided you know what it is:)).
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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk - Linux and/or Windows?

#16 Post by ramuk » Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:50 am

I have similar issue as PAL_Thailand. I have got the SSD and now looking for the OS. Will rkawakami help me with the recovery CDs ?
I am in India and I have broadband connection.

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Re: Replacing a dead X41 hard disk - Linux and/or Windows?

#17 Post by jaspen-meyer » Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:46 pm

Xubuntu (32-bit) would work fine on the X41 - I haven't tested it on an x41 but it runs fine on my x21.

The processor doesn't have PAE and so when booting xubuntu you need to tell the kernels not to use pae.
Search for "ubuntu forcepae --forcepae"

Once the system is installed be sure to install a kernel whose name ends "-pae".
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