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ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

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HenWen2000
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ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#1 Post by HenWen2000 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:12 am

Hi guys,

This is my first post, so apologies in advance if I break any rules - hopefully not.

I have a 380Z that I'm trying to restore - everything about it is fully functional, but was running foreign language Windows 98 and I want to switch to something English, and ideally factory settings. It has 64MB of RAM, 2.1GB hard drive, Pentium II. I use a Mac as my daily driver and I have a CD burner and USB floppy drive. I can run most PC/Windows software in emulation, as well.

I could just install Windows 98 (English) on the 380Z and then manually add the IBM drivers, but I'd really prefer to use a recovery CD. I first tried to use a 380/380D recovery CD, formatted the hard drive, but then got stuck with a DOS error of "Configuration too large for memory" before I could even get into the recovery process. So I'm working with a blank hard drive/no operating system at the moment. But NOW - I actually have a 380XD-380Z recovery CD but no boot disk. I do however have two files BOOTIMG.BIN and BOOTCAT.BIN. I'm 99% sure that BOOTIMG.BIN is a binary file with the contents of the 3.5" floppy boot disk based on what I can see when I read it with a text editor (it seems like it has all the usual PC-DOS/MSCDEX/driver type files that are included on ThinkPad recovery boot disks) - also the file size is right to fit on 1 floppy.

That said, I don't know how to go from having this BOOTIMG.BIN file to having an actual working bootable 3.5" floppy disk that I can restart the 380Z with.

Has anyone had to create a system recovery boot disk in this way?

Thanks!
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#2 Post by HenWen2000 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:50 am

Update - talking to myself on the forum : )

I figured out that by just changing the file extension on "BOOTIMG.BIN" to "BOOTIMG.ISO" I can now mount it on my Mac desktop and see all the files clear as day. :lol:

The only catch now is that I need to get all the files onto a floppy, which I can use my USB floppy drive for. However, last time I just copied files over it didn't work as a boot disk, so I'm a little concerned that it needs to be some kind of like bit-for-bit image/copy, which might require some kind of ISO -> Floppy disk image writing software. May not exist for Mac, but seems like a few exist for Windows. I'll just buy another ThinkPad so I can run it : )

As an alternative, I was also trying to get Dos Box to work with my USB floppy drive so I could run the official IBM bootdisk exe file that's in the Drivers section on this forum (it's under 380XD), but the problem is, Mac OS assigns some crazy UNIX path to the mounted drive instead of just like "A:" with DOS. Trying to figure that out today. This is what I get for not knowing UNIX. It also lets you extract the file to another folder but you have to send the key "Ctrl-Break." Just for fun, you can't do that in Dos Box without a patch and recompiling the software. Yeesh.

Moral of the story is that I should have more Windows PCs around...
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:42 am

Create floppy from iso/image: http://www.pamarsystems.com/raw
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#4 Post by HenWen2000 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:35 am

Thanks very much! Nice command line interface on this.
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#5 Post by HenWen2000 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:18 am

Just in case others are having any issues creating boot disks for recovery CDs without a 3.5" floppy Windows system handy, I'll share some of my trial & error here. All this was done on my Mac:

1) I tried to run the self-extracting recovery bootdisk .exe file from the drivers section on this site for my 380Z in DOSbox. Super duper clean program (great old DOS graphics), but I couldn't get it to recognize my USB floppy drive/disk or write to a folder somewhere else. Would have probably worked totally fine on a real windows/DOS machine.

2) I tried to run rawrite.exe from DOSbox and kept getting an error that it couldn't figure out the disk geometry (sectors/clusters etc)...again probably would have been fine on a real windows/DOS machine.

3) I saw that it seemed like people were having some success using "dd" in the command line/terminal of Linux/Mac OS machines for boot disk creation; I ended up doing this on my Mac and it seems to have worked in Terminal. Here's the steps I took:

diskutil list [this showed me the volume/path name for where my mounted USB floppy drive/disk was; "/dev/disk2" on mine]
unmount /dev/disk2 [kind of weird that you unmount it first but okay]
dd if="filename to be copied".bin of=/dev/disk2 [this didn't work at first because I kept getting a "Permission denied" error, something about password/admin permission]

So...then I entered the following in Terminal and it totally worked:

sudo dd if="filename to be copied".bin of=/dev/disk2 [this then prompted me for my system password and wrote the .bin file right to the floppy disk...nice!!!]

Bit of a journey, but possibly helpful for any others who are trying to make a bootdisk for PC from an image and are on Mac/Linux & don't have a Windows/floppy machine handy.

I haven't actually tried the bootdisk yet in my 380Z yet LOL but 99% confident it will work (if not, I'll do it again with a brand new blank floppy disk maybe)...
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#6 Post by HenWen2000 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:59 am

Update - as suspected, the boot disk that I created with "dd" totally worked. It recognized it as a system disk and started loading. Nice to know that "dd" can write boot disks.

BUT.......

Then it went into an infinite restart loop.

I'm wondering if it has something to do with the fact that I previously wiped the hard drive with a 300/300D recovery boot disk but abandoned that process since I got an error of "Configuration too large for memory."

Here's exactly what it the screen shows before it goes into a reboot loop back to the ThinkPad logo screen/RAM check. It also goes through this each reboot:
___________________

IBM ThinkPad


IBM IDE CD-ROM Driver Version 3.10
Copyright (C) IBM Corp. 1994, 1995, 1997 All rights reserved
Device Name . . . . . . . . IBMCD001
Configuration. . . . . . . . Primary/Slave
Product Name. . . . . CRD-S372B
Product Revision . . . 1.24
Sleep Mode Enabled
Driver was installed successfully
[then it reboots]
___________________

Has anyone had this issue and solved it?
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#7 Post by HenWen2000 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:20 pm

Update - I managed to use F5 to at least get to a command prompt (although it bypasses both Autoexec.bat and Config.sys -- I think) and have full access to the A: drive and all the files from the 380Z Recovery Boot disk.

Has anyone manually run the files from the Recovery Boot disk to load a CD driver (is this even possible if it didn't run config.sys?) and then initiate the recovery process?

Based reading the AUTOEXEC.BAT (below), it seems like the first thing that is supposed to happen is that it prompts a language choice for the on-screen instructions leading up to formatting/partitioning the hard drive. I'm not sure which programs that formatting process calls for exactly though...90+ files on the disk. Half are the in-language txt instruction messages that get displayed on screen (.IT = Italian, .SP = Spanish, etc). Something about my configuration (maybe it's the empty hard drive) is throwing an error that's sending Autoexec over to REBOOT.EXE (or something similar) and causing the reboot loop. I also think RESETC.COM has something to do with it since my previous recovery attempt ended part way through and this program is supposed to be run to reset the recovery process in case of a crash (not sure how/where that happens on an empty hard drive though).

My backup plan is to just install DOS and then try booting again to see if having a more normal/formatted/partitioned hard drive helps.

These are all the files on the floppy:
ANSI.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, BSECR.EXE, CARDID.INI, CARDID.SYS, CARDXTND.SYS, CHKD.EXE, CHOICE.COM, COMMAND.COM, CONFIG.SYS, CORE.COM, COUNTRY.SYS, CS.SYS, CSALLOC.EXE, CTCNFCD.SYS, DISK.EXE, DISPLAY.SYS, DISVIRUS.COM, DRVLOAD.BAT, DYNALOAD.COM, EGA.CPI, EMM386.EXE, FDISK.COM, FMTDRV.EXE, FORMAT.COM, GENATA.CLB, HIMEM.SYS, IBMDOSCS.SYS, IBMDSS04.SYS, IBMDSS14.SYS, IBMTPCD.SYS, MACH.EXE, MODE.COM, MOUSE.COM, MOUSE.INI, MSCDEX.EXE, MSGBR.DAT, MSGDK.DAT, MSGFI.DAT, MSGFR.DAT, MSGGR.DAT, MSGIT.DAT, MSGNL.DAT, MSGNO.DAT, MSGPO.DAT, MSGSP.DAT, MSGSV.DAT, MSGUS.DAT, NOPAR.COM, OPTOPTS.DAT, OPTOPTS.DRB, OPTOPTS.GEN, OPTOPTS.KN4, OPTOPTS.MNO, PANEL_1, PANEL_2, PANEL_3, PANEL_4, PANEL_5, PANEL_6, PANEL_7, PANEL_8, PANEL_9, PCMCD20X.SYS, PCMCIA.EXE, PKUNZIP.EXE, RAMDRIVE.SYS, READ.BR, READ.DK, READ.EXE, READ.FI, READ.FR, READ.GR, READ.IT, READ.NL, READ.NO, READ.SP, READ.SV, READ.US, REBOOT.EXE, RECOVER.EXE, RECOVERY.SYS, RESETC.COM, RESETDIR.COM, SETCP.BAT, SLEEP.EXE, SSCBTI.SYS, SUBST.EXE, WALL.BMP, XCOPY.EXE, XFER.BAT

Here's the CONFIG.SYS:
FILES=75
BUFFERS=25
SHELL=COMMAND.COM /P /E:512 /H
DEVICE=HIMEM.SYS
DEVICE=EMM386.EXE NOEMS X=C800-CFFF
DOS=HIGH,UMB
LASTDRIVE=Z
DEVICEHIGH=IBMTPCD.SYS /D:IBMCD001 /P:170 /R
DEVICE=DISPLAY.SYS CON=(ega,437,(1,2))
DEVICE=RECOVERY.SYS

And here's the AUTOEXEC.BAT (I deleted the foreign language sections to save space here):
@ECHO OFF
@SET PATH=A:\;D:\;
rem @loadhigh smartdrv.exe C+ 4096 /B:65536
@mode con cp prep=((850) ega.cpi) > nul
@mode con cp select=850 > nul
call mach.exe
if errorlevel 1 goto second
:first
@cls
@echo (1) English
@echo (2) Suomi
@echo (3) Italiano
@echo (4) Norsk
@echo (5) Nederlands
@echo (6) Espa§ol
@echo (7) Dansk
@echo (8) Deutsch
@echo (9) Svenska
@echo (A) Franáais
@choice /C:123456789A
@if errorlevel 10 goto FR
@if errorlevel 9 goto SV
@if errorlevel 8 goto GR
@if errorlevel 7 goto DK
@if errorlevel 6 goto SP
@if errorlevel 5 goto NL
@if errorlevel 4 goto NO
@if errorlevel 3 goto IT
@if errorlevel 2 goto FI
@if errorlevel 1 goto US
:US
@CLS
@CALL READ READ.US NextØ
@cls
@echo.
@echo ** Warning**
@echo All data on hard drive will be destroyed.
@echo Recovery process is designed to restore to one (1) hard drive.
@echo Ensure the hard drive to be recovered is located in the ThinkPad
@echo and not attached to the Ultrabay or Docking station.
@echo The data on all other hard drives risk data corruption or loss.
@echo.
@echo.
@echo.
@echo 1) Do Not Continue with Recovery, Exit to DOS.
@echo 2) Continue with Recovery.
@choice /c:12
@if errorlevel 2 goto next
@if errorlevel 1 goto reset
:next
@echo.
@echo.
@echo 1) Do Not Continue with Recovery, Exit to DOS.
@echo 2) Use Existing Partitioning and Format C: Drive Only
@echo 3) Factory Default Partitioning and Format All Drives
@choice /c:123
@if errorlevel 3 goto next2
@if errorlevel 2 goto cont2
@if errorlevel 1 goto reset
@goto next2
[IT REPEATS IN ALL THE LANGUAGE OPTIONS HERE - SAME CONTENT]
:next2
rem Partition harddrive
call disk.exe
@if errorlevel 99 goto errprt
reboot.exe
goto cont
:cont2
call disk.exe 1
@if errorlevel 99 goto errprt
reboot.exe
goto cont
:second
call fmtdrv.exe
CORE.COM
MOUSE.COM
@loadhigh dynaload ramdrive.sys 4000 512 150 /e
@if errorlevel 1 goto errprt
call chkd.exe
goto cont
:errprt
@echo **** Severe Error: Terminating Process *****
goto cont
:reset
resetc.com
:cont
@cls
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#8 Post by HenWen2000 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 6:08 am

Update -- still no luck.

I installed MS-DOS 6.22 just to have an OS on there and then I tested that with the 380Z recovery diskette and it went into a reboot loop. Then I tried to reboot and it had wiped the OS, so I reinstalled MS-DOS 6.22 and I created the boot disk that exists in the Drivers section of this website. It also went into a cycled reboot loop though.

Makes me wonder if there's an issue with my Recovery CD for 380Z. Not sure if it's weird that BOOTCAT.BIN and BOOTIMG.BIN are on there but not listed in the "CONTENTS.LST" file (BOOTIMG is an image of the recovery bootdisk floppy). Here's all the files on the Recovery CD:
BOOTCAT.BIN, BOOTIMG.BIN, CONTENTS.LST, EZUSFA0.IMZ, EZUSFA1.IMZ, EZUSFA2.IMZ, EZUSFA3.IMZ, EZUSFA4.IMZ

Anybody familiar with all the usual/actual files on Recovery bootdisk floppies/CDs?

My backup plan is to install Windows and just load up the drivers...hard to give up on the Recovery CD quest though, especially when it was so close...
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#9 Post by HenWen2000 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:52 am

Update - I installed Windows for now but have been digging around to understand why the recovery wasn't working and instead kept going into an infinite reboot loop.

I'm pretty certain now that because I attempted a recovery with the 300/300D recovery disks earlier that was abandoned midway through, the issue has something to do with my Master Boot Record (MBR) and the RESETC.COM file.

I've tried using F5 to get to a command prompt and I have run the RESETC.COM program (though I'm not sure what it does exactly -- I think it resets some sort of log file). It still goes into infinite reboot loop though.

I'm thinking that I maybe need to present it with a totally clean drive that's unpartitioned or perhaps with a fresh MBR, but I'm approaching the limit of my knowledge of the FORMAT command as well as FDISK and the MBR. I'm guessing I need to just do FORMAT C: but not sure if I need to mess with FDISK /MBR or something.

Anybody have any experience with above trying to prevent a reboot loop on recovery?
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#10 Post by HenWen2000 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:59 pm

Small update that I managed to prevent the reboot loop by using F8 at startup to confirm each line of CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT to be run before it runs.

It turns out that I was only making it through part of the CONFIG.SYS file before reboot and not even making it to AUTOEXEC.BAT.

The file in CONFIG.SYS that was causing the reboot was "RECOVERY.SYS," which, when I pull it up in a text editor says that it's some sort of Recovery CD driver. Not sure if that's something totally separate from actually CD-ROM hardware drivers, because certainly don't need one of those since IBMTPCD.SYS is fully functional.

This time, I made it through the AUTOEXEC process and actually got it to go through and format the hard drive, but then it went back to the A: prompt and I wasn't sure what the heck file to run to get the actual recovery process (not just hard drive formatting) up and running.

Some files that the AUTOEXEC calls for that I have pretty much no idea on - it calls for "CORE.COM," "DISK.COM," and "CHKD.COM." I presume CHKD is some kind of Chkdsk type hard drive check, but not sure about the others.

I just don't know what is supposed to happen sequentially in the Recovery CD process or what's holding it all up. The files on the CD aren't executables or batch files, but rather big compressed ".IMZ" files. I'm not sure if the Recovery Floppy calls for those files to be uncompressed and copied onto the hard drive or if there's supposed to be some other program that is supposed to launch on the screen with other prompts...
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#11 Post by HenWen2000 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:58 am

I DID IT. :banana:

I was really close with my last post, thinking through the fact that there were these big, (presumably) compressed ".IMZ" files on the CD that needed to be extracted to the hard drive. I was going insane and trying to read through all the files on the floppy with hex editors and going down crazy rabbit holes. I was thinking "what program is the recovery process trying to launch that will just get these CD files over to the hard drive? where is it buried!?" And I realized that "pkunzip.exe" was just sitting on the floppy - omg, duh it just uses PKUNZIP to expand the files from the CD over to the hard drive. How could I have not seen that before!?! What does ".IMZ" stand for..."IBM ZIP" perhaps?? I remembered how PK and IBM were super tight back in the day. Regardless, I unzipped everything to the hard drive, rebooted, and Windows 95 setup launched!

So here's the full process to get to a fresh, recovered Thinkpad (at least a 380XD or 380Z). I probably have a few mis-steps or unnecessary bits along the way, but this is generally the flow:

1) Get the recovery CD for your model or one close to it

2) Create a boot disk -- if you're loading on a model that doesn't boot from CD (I think everything before 600's?); there's a great .exe bootdisk creator on this forum in "Drivers" at the top; or you can use "dd" from the Terminal if you're on Mac or Linux to write a disk image to a USB floppy

3) Put the boot disk and CD in the drives and restart

4) After the first boot-up screen with the IBM logo and Thinkpad graphics wait for the bootdisk to kick in and the text "IBM Thinkpad" to appear, and then press/hold F8 (it'll just beep if you hold it too long but not a problem)

5) F8 initiates line-by-line confirmation of CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT; say yes ("Y") to each line of CONFIG.SYS-- EXCEPT FOR RECOVERY.SYS!! Say "N" to that!

6) When it asks if you want to run AUTOEXEC.BAT, just say no and get to a command prompt (all AUTOEXEC does is mindlessly guide you through a hard drive erasure/formatting/partition process that you can just do manually).

7) From the A: drive, use "FDISK" to erase any old partitions and create a new partition, use "FORMAT C" to erase/prep the drive

8) This next bit is a little bit of a mystery since AUTOEXEC calls for all these wackadoo programs (CORE.COM, MOUSE.COM, DISK.COM, etc); I just ran them all and it did something but not sure; guess it can't hurt, but whatever.

9) CONFIG.SYS loaded our CD driver (IBMTPCD.SYS), but we can't access the CD yet because we need to execute MSCDEX; so run from the A: drive: MSCDEX /D:IBMCD001 /M:10 /L:Z.

10) Give the C: drive and Z: (CD-ROM) drive a gander to make sure they are both working now (C will just say like "no files" or something, but if you get a read-error you need to format)

11) Switch to the A: drive and run PKUNZIP (I think the original recovery program creates a RAMDRIVE for god knows what reason-- to go faster? -- but I didn't need it).

12) Run PKUNZIP -# -d -Jhrs -o Z:\*.IMZ C:\

13) Wait a while for the hard drive to be populated with all the unzipped .IMZ files

14) Run the program "BSECR.EXE" from the floppy (I don't know if this is mandatory or not but I did it -- zero clue what it does)

15) Take out the bootdisk and CD and reboot and it should launch Windows 95 setup and just go through like normal

BOOM.
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#12 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:46 am

In 5] if you don't like RECOVERY.SYS, you can edit config.sys and put "rem " in front of it (rem+space).

Make a small change to 7]
use "FORMAT C: /s" to erase/prep the drive and copy all System files to that drive (note the : after C)

forget about 8], that's done by the " /s" in 7].
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HenWen2000
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Re: ThinkPad 380Z have recovery CD but can't seem to create boot disk

#13 Post by HenWen2000 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:23 am

Thanks for the builds! It's nice to know someone is reading my crazed ramblings. Something about RECOVERY.SYS was the culprit leading to the endless reboot loop. I'm not sure if it looks at the BIOS for something, but whatever it was it smelled something it didn't like and went loopy. Maybe it's some kind of failsafe if you try to install the system image onto a Packard Bell or something :)

There's SO much to explore in the recovered system - tons of cool IBM stuff that will keep me busy for weeks to come.

In case any other recovery-in-progress folks have any questions, I'm happy to address my trial&error along the way as well.
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