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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:04 am 
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I just purchased this.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/IBM-THINKPAD-A31- ... 3cb9f5c9f3

I was hoping perhaps it was an A31p, or possibly an SXGA+ A31.

Is their anyway to tell from the picture? I note the screen looks like 15" and the text is small, I was hoping this was going to be SXGA+

I know its a long shot to identify :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:50 am 
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That logo picture is the same for all resolutions, so no indication of screen resolution here.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:57 am 
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With a little patience it will be easy to identify. Since you have already purchased it, wait a few days until it arrives. Then you will have no trouble at all telling what you have.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:14 am 
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>That logo picture is the same for all resolutions, so no indication of screen resolution here.

Many thanks. That is what I was looking for. I wasn't sure whether this was the case or not.

I have purchased quite a few ThinkPads lately, and from eBay sometimes it is difficult to ascertain the exact model (many people who sell TP cheap invariably fail to state even the model or configuration). Knowing things like this helps me in the future when I have to quickly decide based upon a grainy image :)

>With a little patience it will be easy to identify. Since you have already purchased it, wait a few days until it arrives. Then you will have no trouble at all telling what you have.

Thanks Neil, and yes I am a little impatient I admit :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:19 am 
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I noticed this interesting sentence in the listing: "LAPTOP CAN BE BUYED FOR SPARES AND PARTS LIKE SCREEN, BATTERY, INCHS AND MOTHERBOARD."

Did you buy it for the INCHS? I don't have that on any of my ThinkPads. :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:05 am 
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Code:
"LAPTOP CAN BE BUYED FOR SPARES AND PARTS LIKE SCREEN, BATTERY, INCHS AND MOTHERBOARD."
Yeah, I noticed that also. Does anyone have a clue what the seller meant by that? Just curious...thought maybe inchs has a different meaning in the UK than inches over here in the US...

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:08 am 
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Neil wrote:
Does anyone have a clue what the seller meant by that? Just curious...thought maybe inchs has a different meaning in the UK than inches over here in the US...


Hinges.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:04 am 
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pianowizard wrote:
Hinges.

You have an unfair advantage from too many years of correcting College level papers... :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:50 am 
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Yes I saw that... but even here in the UK it is meaningless..... hinges sounds a good choice though!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:54 am 
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Well, you should have checked with the seller for more specifics. BEFORE bidding. Not hard to do.

I always assume that if quality specs aren't listed, then it has the cheaper version of whatever component you're interested in.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:37 pm 
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Normally I would agree.

But obviously you are not UK based.

In the UK ThinkPads can fetch twice what they do in the US, so £35/$55 total including postage for an A31, no matter how incomplete is a very good deal.

Complete basic A31's are worth at least $120-150 here.

If I purchase an eBay TP from the US I can pay up to $150 postage (just check and see...) and never under say $50.

The sellers states it boots to BIOS (although that could still indicate a Southbridge failure) but is obviously not knowledgeable about TP's. I judged it to be likely complete but even if not I can use the parts and it would still be worth at least $50 here.

If I didn't buy it somebody else would have - as I purchased it within a few hours of auction start.

Sometimes it just pays to act first and think later.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:41 pm 
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roguetrooper wrote:

Quote:
The sellers states it boots to BIOS (although that could still indicate a Southbridge failure) but is obviously not knowledgeable about TP's. I judged it to be likely complete but even if not I can use the parts and it would still be worth at least $50 here.

Huh.

SouthBridge failures were not observed on A3x series. A variety of other issues may still be hiding in the tall grass, though...

The machine is definitely a 15" model, given the type of screen bezel. Anything and everything else is TBD once you get it.

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:12 am 
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Well the A31 was received and maybe I should have taken some good advice and checked first. eBay lesson #1 kids, it's whats missing from the description you should worry about!

A31 2652-P3G (July 2003 Production)

Good news
It looks almost new except for a crack on the side of the screen trimming (doesn't affect the LCD).
Has DVD/Floppy Ultrabay units. At least has some RAM (384MB, so likely 256+128). Has a battery but state unknown.
Think it has a WLAN card.

Bad news:
No PSU included
Supervisor Password Set! but Date/Time are OK
The Crack in the screen trim
It's XGA (not SXGA+).
No Disk Caddy and looks like some trim missing from under the PC Card slot (I don't think the caddy covers this area).

So I guess I can use it as "spares" to another A31.

I can get into the BIOS but make no changes. It shows the Disk as one of the first bootable items followed by the DVD. I tried to boot without the Disk (I have no caddy) but it doesn't get as far as booting off the DVD and displays "No Operating System".

Is this salvageable? Is the DVD failed boot due to the Supervisor Password?

I have learned my lesson from eBay though. It really is a gamble.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:23 am 
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Check here to make sure which password is set: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site. ... MIGR-59377

The hard drive cover does indeed extend up over the bottom PCMCIA slot.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:56 am 
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Upon booting, immediately press F12, that gives you a boot-menu where you can choose to boot from the DVD drive.
Contact (via PM) forum member Poshgeordie in Newcastle to help you further with the Supervisor password.

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Check out The Board Room for:
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:22 am 
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Yes, the password prompt only shows when I press F1.

Once in the BIOS I can see that the Supervisor password has been enabled and the BIOS changes has been restricted to the supervisor.

My boot list is:

!+Removable Devices
Hard Drive
! CD-ROM Drive
! IBA 4.0.11 Slot 0240

Does this mean that "Operating System not found" message is showing during boot due to the Hard Drive/Caddy not being present? I was hoping it would ignore that and boot off the DVD into a "live CD" allowing me to use Linux without the need for a hard drive.

Any CD I put in (including Windows XP) are ignored, both leds (the floppy and DVD) are permanently on.

Many thanks for some pointers. I tried this board but can't find anything that may assist here. I just wanted to know if it were worth buying a hard drive and caddy - even then - I guess I cannot install anything as the DVD is never reached!

I am not sure why the link supplied says:
"A forgotten Supervisor password will prevent access to the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility."

Because I can access it, just can't change anything!

Thanks everybody.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:36 am 
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Because you cannot change the BIOS settings, you MUST use F12 to select the CD/DVD drive to boot from!

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Check out The Board Room for:
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- SATA-mods for any T43/R52 with ATI GPU
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:14 am 
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I agree.

But F12 has been disabled in the BIOS!

So, I can't change boot order!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:32 am 
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If the HD is removed and the CD-drive is working, you should be able to boot from a CD!
If not, either return the machine for a full refund (seller failed to mention BIOS-lock), or get the password removed.

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Check out The Board Room for:
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- SATA-mods for any T43/R52 with ATI GPU
- other Services


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:13 pm 
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Well, the boot order is:

!+Removable Devices
Hard Drive
! CD-ROM Drive
! IBA 4.0.11 Slot 0240

I am not sure what the "!" means, perhaps that the device is present? Also the "+" symbol. I can't find in any reference guide.

All BIOS functions have been locked out by a supervisor password, so this boot order cannot be changed.

Powering on, it goes through memory checks, recognizes the DVD drive, but just displays "Operating System not found" despite a bootable CD.


It's to cheap to return... but I'd like to get it to at least boot :)

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:54 pm 
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The exclamation point in front of the drive description means that the device has been disabled from the boot order. From the looks of it, your system will only boot from the hard drive.

The plus sign means that there's one or more of those devices (removable, hard drive, CDROM, etc.) known to the BIOS.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:58 pm 
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I know this post is late to the party, but if you have any PC which only boots to hard disk there are ways around that problem in order to install an operating system.

Linux is by far the easiest. Slave the notebook drive into another computer or connect it to another computer by USB adapter. Linux installs are "portable" so a drive loaded in one machine normally boots fine in another. Bonus, you get Linux instead of Windows. Ubuntu LTS worked fine on my A31.

Windows on the other hand can be annoying. You could have a friend install it using another A31, or you could install using another PC then "sysprep" the hard drive after which you can plug it back into your machine, boot it, then let it detect and load your hardware. If your spare PC is a desktop, adapters to connect notebook PATA drives to desktop cables are only a few dollars and are a useful toolkit item.

Another method, allowing you to copy 2000 or XP to the hard disk, then insert it in your target PC, and install:

http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/578/wind ... harddrive/

Then there's the Hat Monster method, proven for many years now:

http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=42051

Lastly, the techniques to run "frugal" installs mean you can boot a live CD image from the hard drive, and those are easy to install via USB.
My A31 is mostly used with an install of FalconFour's 4.5 live multiboot PE/DOS/Linux CD since I now use it for a troubleshooting machine. When in the live PE environment, it runs "Portable Apps" from a folder I designated for the purpose.

http://falconfour.wordpress.com/2011/03 ... cdusb-4-5/

I've played with my A31 quite a bit, and it also boots fine from a SYBA SD-ADA45006 2.5" IDE 44-Pin To Dual Compact Flash Adapter .
My 31 doesn't see a card in the second slot, but the second card I tested was a Transcend which doesn't boot either in the primary slot.


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