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Minus sign in BIOS in front of USB HDD listing.

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joe123
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Minus sign in BIOS in front of USB HDD listing.

#1 Post by joe123 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:29 am

I have been unsuccessfully attempting to create a bootable USB thumb drive setup for my Thinkpad. I’ve used disk part, the HP flash utilities, and some pretty specific directions from a number of web sites.

During the checking of my BIOS to confirm that my machine has that ability, I noticed a minus sign in front of the USB HDD. Does this mean that the ability of the machine to boot from a USB HDD has been disabled?

I’ve seen this question asked twice (2004 and 2008) in this forum, and a couple of times in other forums, for a variety of Thinkpads. No one has provided an answer, so far. If you have an answer, you are the master of PC arcania! Thank you. Joe
Thinkpad T60p 2007C8U, T2600 CPU @ 2.16GHz, 2GB RAM, dual 100GB hard drives, 15" 1600x1200 LCD, 512MB ATI FireGL V5200, CDRW/DVDRW optical, Intel 802.11abg wireless, Win XP Pro with SP-3.

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Re: Minus sign in BIOS in front of USB HDD listing.

#2 Post by davidspalding » Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:50 pm

No mystery about this. On my T43 and X32, under hte BIOS "Startup" section, you move bootable devices up and down the priority list with F6 and F5. "X" moves a device to the "excluded" list. You can only have 8 bootable devices, so if you try to move something from "Excluded" and hear a beep, move one of the "included" boot devices to the excluded list.

Voila.

Tell us what kind of Thinkpad you have (the 7-character MTM model # on the bottom) and we could give you model-specific info. ... My guess, if the boot isn't working, it's possibly your flash drive image.
2668-75U T43, 2GB RAM, 2nd hand NMB kybd, Dock II, spare Mini-Dock, and spare Port Replicators. Wacom BT tablet. Ultrabay 2nd HDD.
2672-KBU X32, 1.5GB RAM, 7200 rpm TravelStar HDD.

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Re: Minus sign in BIOS in front of USB HDD listing.

#3 Post by rkawakami » Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:26 pm

This has had me wondering too... so I booted my T41 and looked at the Boot menu. There are eight entries enabled, with "-USB HDD" being one of them. I shut down the system and attached my (free :) ) 320GB Seagate FreeAgent Go drive and re-booted. The boot menu entry now shows "+USB HDD", so my assumption is that the "-" means that no drive is/was detected and "+" means that a drive has been detected and available for booting.
Ray Kawakami
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joe123
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Re: Minus sign in BIOS in front of USB HDD listing.

#4 Post by joe123 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:06 pm

The order of the boot devices in the BIOS appears to be independent of the minus sign before USB HDD. No matter how you rank the drive, it appears with a minus sign.

The observation that the minus sign changes to a plus sign when a drive is hooked in is a very valuable clue. I appreciate the effort that you made.

Thank you, gentlemen! Joe
Thinkpad T60p 2007C8U, T2600 CPU @ 2.16GHz, 2GB RAM, dual 100GB hard drives, 15" 1600x1200 LCD, 512MB ATI FireGL V5200, CDRW/DVDRW optical, Intel 802.11abg wireless, Win XP Pro with SP-3.

joe123
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Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:26 am
Location: Bandon, Oregon

Re: Minus sign in BIOS in front of USB HDD listing.

#5 Post by joe123 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:50 am

rkawakami wrote: This has had me wondering too... so I booted my T41 and looked at the Boot menu. There are eight entries enabled, with "-USB HDD" being one of them. I shut down the system and attached my (free :) ) 320GB Seagate FreeAgent Go drive and re-booted. The boot menu entry now shows "+USB HDD", so my assumption is that the "-" means that no drive is/was detected and "+" means that a drive has been detected and available for booting.
This evening I completed a BartPE setup using my OCZ flash / thumb drive. Once it was setup and my test boot was successfully completed, I restarted and went to my BIOS's boot device listing. Bingo! The USB HDD, which formerly had a minus sign in front of it, now has a plus sign in front of it. Mystery solved. Good job, Mr. Kawakami!

Incidentally, my OCZ ATV Turbo 4GB USB 2.0 flash drive (part # OCZUSBATVT4G) takes me from my Thinkpad splash screen to my BartPE splash screen in 38 seconds. I don't know how that stacks up with other USB flash drives, but I'm sure comfortable with that speed.

Thanks! Joe
Thinkpad T60p 2007C8U, T2600 CPU @ 2.16GHz, 2GB RAM, dual 100GB hard drives, 15" 1600x1200 LCD, 512MB ATI FireGL V5200, CDRW/DVDRW optical, Intel 802.11abg wireless, Win XP Pro with SP-3.

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