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Is it possible to recover T400 factory setups of Win XP or 7?

T400/T410/T420 and T500/T510/T520 Series
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PhoenixR
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri May 17, 2024 2:35 pm
Location: Riga, Latvia

Is it possible to recover T400 factory setups of Win XP or 7?

#1 Post by PhoenixR » Fri May 17, 2024 3:25 pm

Hi guys,
So, the question is as above - Is it really possible to recover T400 factory setups of Win XP or 7?
Because I couldn't despite many attempts. I addressed the question to the official Lenovo recovery support and was sent to go hiking forums on the grounds that T400 has been EOLed by Lenovo. Well, and here I am.
I downloaded the images and burnt them to a flash USB with Rufus.
1. https://archive.org/details/ibmlenovo-t ... 00t500r500 - XP images
2. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... UpMzdth9Kp - Win 7 images
Both claim to be official recovery disks (2 pieces & 3 pieces respectively). But the XP installation aborts right at the start saying "No convert.cmd file present on the disk"
(I found another mention of this very issue on the net for T61 as well - https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... cs_broken/)
As to the Win 7 installation it just freezes for eternity on the very 1st step of the hard drive preparation.
I don't have the screenshots handy but could provide if needed. I tried several times (have changed BIOS settings, changed the HDD & SSD drives, whatnot) to no avail. :?
I read feedback (especially on Win 7 set by the 2nd download link) claiming that set was flawless and reliable for a factory OS recover but couldn't make it actually work. Puzzled now, never seen anything like this before.
Would be very grateful if anyone pointed in the right direction :)
T400 P9600 8Gb/480 SSD/Hybrid graphics/WXGA+

PhoenixR
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri May 17, 2024 2:35 pm
Location: Riga, Latvia

Re: Is it possible to recover T400 factory setups of Win XP or 7?

#2 Post by PhoenixR » Thu May 23, 2024 2:31 am

Well, it looks like no one has encountered the issue I am describing here so the best way to get help is to help myself :D Which I did, & I think I have solved the problem. I'm going to describe it & the solution here after a confirmation soon, this might be interesting :D
T400 P9600 8Gb/480 SSD/Hybrid graphics/WXGA+

Enig
Freshman Member
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu May 20, 2021 10:53 am
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Re: Is it possible to recover T400 factory setups of Win XP or 7?

#3 Post by Enig » Thu May 23, 2024 3:04 am

Hey PheonixR,

Sounds pretty much like the experience I've had trying to put recovery images to USB. It stalls the moment it starts the drive prep.
I chalked it down to whatever program the initial loader tries to start fails as it has no clue how to access the USB stick - but that is just a guess.

What has worked for me consistently has been to burn the images to DVDs (or CDs for older Thinkpads).

If you do find a way to make this work with USB sticks, then I am all ears :lol:

Best,
Peter
Thinkpads: Too many. Currently playing with an IBM 535

PhoenixR
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri May 17, 2024 2:35 pm
Location: Riga, Latvia

Re: Is it possible to recover T400 factory setups of Win XP or 7?

#4 Post by PhoenixR » Fri May 31, 2024 12:03 pm

Hello Peter,

You guessed right. The part of the problem is exactly in using USB flash cards for recovery - simply put it doesn't work at all no matter what you do. But only IF we have them several USB flash recovery disks. We launch installation from a USB card ok, it's the time to insert the 2nd disk - whoops the launcher does not see it and that's it... On the contrary if we use just a single unit - it works fine & perfect. Not an option for an original ThinkPad recovery as it consists of many but still an option for a barebone OS installation. So, for an original multi-disk recovery burning the DVDs is the only solution in this case as it turned out. Had to recall the burning experience of a decade ago. :) Which was quite refreshing I have to say.
But like I said it was just a part of the problem. In my case the problem was two-fold. Another rather interesting part was that my newly inserted old HDD had been used for Arch Linux before and this created a difficulty. The file system was different of course namely ext4, but it was quite logical to think that the installation program would detect a physical drive and just try to format into any suitable file system, ntfs, fat or whatever - the way it works with Linux installers when they see ntfs or fat disks and just reformat them into ext4 or another. However, the logic failed this time and miserably. Not only the recovery installer failed to discover an ext4 HDD, but it also consecutively failed to discover this very same HDD re-formatted into NTFS, into FAT32, into FAT, into exFAT, with gPart utility (as I began suspecting where the root of the problem was) & with Windows built-in format utility - which was what puzzled me the most. The only saving move was to re-format the drive in a Win 7 barebone installer and then run the recovery process once again. So, when someone encounters this very behavior when the recovery freezes at the start for eternity or it misses some file & couldn't find it like described by some others on reddit or some other places - it's not because the recovery disks are broken and miss files, it' because this installer is very picky as to where & how the drive has been allocated, partitioned & formatted before. :screwy:

Best,
Mark
T400 P9600 8Gb/480 SSD/Hybrid graphics/WXGA+

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