Joined: Sep. 2007
||Posted: Sep. 15 2007,16:21
Browsing through this forum while waiting to be allowed to post, I saw I'm not the only one trying to give old hardware new life using DSL. But my challenge is perhaps more extreme than most that I've seen so far... :-)
I have salvaged an IBM ThinkPad 760ED from a corporate garbage dump, which is about eleven years old. It is still functional, the battery even charges somewhat, and it boots Windows95 from a 1GB hard disk (manufactured August 1996...). It has 32 MB RAM (soldered chip - although there are also two empty SODIMM banks, finding EDO memory for the beast is probably neither simple nor cheap :-). The 12" screen is only 800x600, but I figured it would make a good digital picture frame if I could only run DSL on it and without the HDD.
So far so good - now the problems : No floppy. No CD-ROM. No USB, of course. Just the HDD, and a couple of PCMCIA ports.
At first I thought I might get lucky, because in the BIOS you can specify PCMCIA as a boot device. So I took a 1GB CF card, put it in a PCMCIA adapter, and used a better-equipped laptop to do a frugal install on it. Then I transferred it to Methuselah and tried to boot on it, but it looks like the BIOS only supports booting from removable drives (floppy or CD) that way ; at least that's what the drawing on the screen (no text) seems to be trying to say... A sort of 5" floppy sketch with an arrow pointing to an external reader, another arrow pointing to the F1 key on the keyboard, and when you press that an error number... Well I guess it would have been too easy :-)
Next I ordered a CF-to-IDE adapter to directly replace the disk. This is quite a chore, because the disk is hidden in a metallic case with a special connector for easy replacement. The case must be opened and the disk removed to get at the IDE connector, and then there are the gory details as it having no pin numbers, lacking a hole where the pin is present on the adapter, etc.
After some hacking and trial-n-error reconnecting, I have finally seen the start of a boot process... but it doesn't get very far, yet : after the POST, it just prints "GRUB" on a black screen and sits there forever.
I had similar adventures with LILO a long while ago, so I guess maybe this is a FAQ and I forgot to do something after the frugal install on the other laptop ; in which case I'm close to success... then again it could be a boot problem due to the 760 itself, in which case I'm stuck.
The only things related to Grub I can remember during the frugal install are the two questions at the end, to choose between Grub and Lilo then asking if the active partition was Windows (answered 'yes').
Can anyone suggest what to try next ?