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IBM Thinkpad 240 - boot from USB or virtual drive via USB?

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thinkingpad11
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IBM Thinkpad 240 - boot from USB or virtual drive via USB?

#1 Post by thinkingpad11 » Sun Jul 23, 2023 1:09 am

I have found a nice 240 with a celeron 400, and it came without the drive; so I got a ide to sata and installed a 64 GB drive in it; but it seems that these machines do not have the bios set to boot from CD via USB. So if I plug a CD or a floppy via USB, it won't boot.

I could not find neither the floppy drive nor the Cd rom (both proprietary; the floppy is a weird cable and the CD rom use the PCMCIA port); so I am stuck basically.

The computer just boot and expect either a "legacy floppy" (the original IBM external floppy), or the main disk; the bios has nothing else. How do I solve the boot issue? I would like to make it a dual boot (dos and W98) machine; so I can use both environments, but as is now I can't even install one OS. Is there any updated bios that would let me use the CD rom or floppy as boot via USB? Or is there something else I can use to fool the bios to believe that it is using the official IBM floppy or CD rom? I was looking at this to simulate the CD rom; not sure if that would work: it seems that it can use ISO of CD roms as if it was a real drive, and can mount also IMA files from floppy and virtual drives
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B3HQMV5T

Ponow
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 240 - boot from USB or virtual drive via USB?

#2 Post by Ponow » Mon Jul 31, 2023 6:31 am

Try removing your SSD, then install it in another computer and install a bootable OS (Win98) onto that SSD. Then put it back on the Thinkpad 240. That should be bootable. I think Win98 has a DOS mode.

I haven't tried this though! So no guarantees.

ajkula66
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 240 - boot from USB or virtual drive via USB?

#3 Post by ajkula66 » Thu Aug 03, 2023 2:12 am

Ponow wrote:
Mon Jul 31, 2023 6:31 am
Try removing your SSD, then install it in another computer and install a bootable OS (Win98) onto that SSD. Then put it back on the Thinkpad 240. That should be bootable. I think Win98 has a DOS mode.

I haven't tried this though! So no guarantees.
The problem here will be finding another PC that will play nicely with 240's BIOS. ThinkPads of this era are not keen on booting from the OS on a disk installed in a different system.

Getting the proprietary IBM CD drive is about the only way out in my recollection, which may be faulty since I haven't toyed with 240s in about 15 years.

Good luck.
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axur-delmeria
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 240 - boot from USB or virtual drive via USB?

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Aug 03, 2023 10:49 am

ajkula66 wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2023 2:12 am
The problem here will be finding another PC that will play nicely with 240's BIOS. ThinkPads of this era are not keen on booting from the OS on a disk installed in a different system.
I think the underlying issue is the Thinkpad 240's BIOS and CHS parameters.
Newer computers (and USB->IDE adapters) will just use LBA addressing, but the 240 might still be using some sort of LBA -> CHS translation.
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