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Nostalgic Win2000 Quest needs Directions


Am midway through a nostalgic quest to revive a little Toshiba Dynabook SS Portege 3000CT and would appreciate some good advice about how to go about it.

When I turn it on I get the Toshiba flashscreen "In Touch with Tomorrow" (though in this case should probably say in touch with yesterday :-) - I can enter and exit the system setup via the F1 key that is also encouraging. But after that I get the message "IDE #0 error" Insert system disk in drive. Press any key when ready

Unfortunately I do not have the portable floppy drive that came with this system that I think is necessary for inserting the system disk whatever that means. That is the bad news.

The good news is that I have removed and tested the original super powerful 2.1 GB (no not kidding) IDE HD via an ide-usb connector on another x64 Win7 laptop and the HD seems to be working ok, as the computer finds this HD that starts spinning as expected. However the x64 Win7 laptop does not recognise the Dynabook's 2.1GB HD and just asks if I want to initialise it - that would wipe all the files off the HD, right?

I also have a bootable Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional CD that should work with this Dynabook that has an MMX processor and is a Windows 98/NT machine. But the Dynabook doesn't have a CD player.

So here are my questions:

(1) Given the above is it not likely that the main problem could be the boot-up files on the HD are corrupted and need to be reinstalled?

(2) Should I go ahead and initalise the 2.1GB HD on the x64 Win7 laptop so I can check the disk is working, reformat the HD and reinstall the system files - or would this be a dumb move?

(3) If I do re-initialise the 2.1 GB HD in what format should I reformat it?

(4) Is there any way I can install the files from the bootable Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional CD on the re-initalised 2.1GB HD so that it boots up and opens Win2000?


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  1. Sounds like the drive may be bad, get a new drive for the thing, or try to format the one you have for it. And yes formatting the drive will wipe the data, although initializing should not, depending on exactly what it means by that. It should tell you if it's about to delete anything off the drive, but looks like it may not be able to read it anyway, in which case it will try to format it so it can.
  2. Thanks hang-the-9 for the reply that encouraged me to go ahead and try to initialize the HD that I have removed from the Dynabook and connected via a USB-to-IDE cable to my friend's x64Win7 laptop.

    The result is not so encouraging. The device manager of the Win7 laptop continues to find the external HDD and identifies it as a disk drive when I open it in disk management - but when I try to go ahead and initalize the HDD it simply says: "the device is not ready."

    Could the problem be this old HDD is ok but not compatible with the x64 Win7 laptop. Maybe it is so old it is not even compatible with x32??

    Is it possible the HDD is dead even though the laptop can identify it as a USB HDD and the green light on the USB to IDE cable indicates the HDD is busy and I can even hear the HDD spinning when I turn the laptop on?

    Is there any tool I can download to check the disk or any way I can do this via dos commands and format this external HDD that is not initialized - maybe also from dos?
  3. Go to the vendor support site for whoever made the drive, they should have a low-level disk check utility. Just because the drive is seen as a drive, and gets power, does not mean the drive is usable. Take out the heating coil of an oven. It will power up, lights go on, dings.. no heat.

    From how things sound, your best bet is to find another drive to try. Laptop is old enough that a dead drive is very likely.
  4. Thanks! Good idea I will do this.

    Meanwhile I downloaded the HxD program to the Win7 laptop. It also found this currently external HDD when I checked via [extras] > [open disk] but when I clicked on [open the disk] all I got was a single line of blue text with the headings:

    Offset (h) 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F

    nothing else, so something is missing. Your oven analogy makes sense even to a newbie like me.

    I will try with another IDE HDD. Should I also add some files from the bootable Win2000 CD on this replacement HD before I try it, since I do not have the option to boot from the FDD and the Dynabook has no CD drive.
  5. Does it have USB? And an option to boot to that in the BIOS? You can make a Linux boot disk to install on the new drive using a USB flash disk.
  6. Yes it has a USB. However it does not have an option to boot to this in the bios - just FDD or HDD
  7. You need to get something to install an OS on the laptop, using another computer to install Windows causes lots of issues, many times it does not even boot.

    External CD drive, probably a parallel port one with DOS based drivers to boot from, or a CD drive for the bay (can probably replace the floppy if it's a modular bay).
  8. One CD drive I have is an internal IDE drive that I can only connect to the Dynabook via the USB that is not a solution. I also have a removable CD drive from the bay of an otherwise defunct Toshiba Portege laptop - but the Dynabook has no bay - the floppy drive connects via a strange port on the side of the computer.

    Have you ever tried to attempt to boot into safe mode after installing the os on another laptop?

    Perhaps best solution is patience - ie put this aside and start looking for an original external Dynabook FDD in some trash collection. If I do find a working FDD should it then be possible to download whatever drivers I need to create a bootable FDD system disk?
  9. Best answer
    Many times you can't even get to safe mode, it does not see the drive because of the difference in drive controllers on the motherboard.

    Look for a CD drive for that model. If it came with Windows 2000, it should have a CD as an option at least.
  10. Knowing what is the likely problem (faulty HDD), which path NOT to waste time exploring (trying to load win2000 boot files on the HDD via another computer) and what to do next (look for a CD or FDD for this Dynabook) is a huge step forward. It will take time for me to get hold of a CD or FDD but when I do I will report back. Meanwhile thanks very much for all this VERY helpful input.
  11. Best answer selected by lowep.
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