Quick 'n Dirty System Programs

Running SP from Floppy Drive
   Running from the refdisk is the easiest way to run System Programs. However, it takes quite a bit longer to load the programs into memory off a floppy.

Starting SP from the Hard Drive
   On the flash BIOS based systems, when the Surepath BIOS splash screen pops up, press F1. On IML 95 systems, at CP 62 the cursor *should* jump to the top / right position on the screen. Press the keys CTRL + ALT + INS. The interval for this is pretty short though - only a few seconds.- all other models show the CP-Codes in the bottom line of the screen. However: some are not shown logically, during the time the screen is blanked and the video subsystem is disabled.
   On other IML systems, the cursor *should* jump to the top / right position on the screen on all IML-machines. Press the keys CTRL + ALT + INS. The interval for this is pretty short though - only a few seconds. 

CP Codes Sent to LPT1
   On PS/2 Models the CP-codes are also sent to the LPT-port ! If you can handle a solder iron you could create a little adapter to enable you reading the CP codes - either with a separate hardware logic or another PS/2 machine. For details see here !

Menu Manuevers
   Most screens use F1=Help, F3=Exit, F5=Previous setting, F6=Next setting, F10=Save changes. To move from field to field, use the up arrow or down arrow.

Main Menu
Start operating system
Backup/Restore system programs
Update system programs
Set configuration
Set features
Copy an options diskette
Test the computer
Advanced Diagnostics
More utilities



Start operating system
  Exits from system programs and loads the operating system. You can use this if you are having minor problems with your setup. Example- You want to try a different complex type, but don’t want to go through the drag of restoring the system partition and wiping the drive in the process...


Backup/Restore system partition

Backup the System Diskettes Makes a backup copy of the reference and diagnostics diskettes off of the refdisk and diags disk.
Backup the System Partition Copies the information in the system partition onto two 1.44MB floppies. It will create a reference and a diags disk.
Restore the system partition Installs the system programs and other critical startup files from diskette to the system partition. Note: This does NOT wipe out the system partition. Old files that are not on the refdisk and diags disk will remain. This sometimes leads to bizarre problems that defy logic. The most trouble free method when creating or restoring a system partition is to LLF the drive, then restoring the system partition.

   Some people claim they can restore a system partition without destroying the other data on the drive. I personally don’t share their optimism. 

Spooky sez
   Boot with a fake refdisk, QBMCA works fine, start fdisk and you see the partition table of the System partition, you can safely erase it and create a new one without LLFing the whole disk.

   System partitions created for Type 1 through Type 3 systems are invisible to the OS (some special cases prove the rule). Type 4 systems use a “convenience” partition which IS visible to FDISK.



Update system programs
 Copies a new version of the system programs to the system partition


Set Configuration

View configuration Displays current configuration. Display only, no changes possible.
Change configuration Lets you change configuration information. Only information enclosed in brackets ([....]) can be changed.
Backup configuration Copies configuration information from NVRAM to the hard drive.
Restore configuration Retrieves configuration information from hard drive to NVRAM.
Run automatic configuration Restores the settings of the installed options to their default values. If you have manually set configuration settings, write them down before running Autoconfig. You can then change the settings back to your manual configuration if you experience problems with the autoconfig settings.
Set and view SCSI device configuration Only information in brackets ([....]) can be changed.
   SCSI configuration verification If, during POST, the SCSI configuration has changed (devices not present or not operational), you can either have the system respond to the changed SCSI information, or ignore it Enable / Disable (NOTE: Possibly flash BIOS systems only)
   SCSI adapter  ID Can’t change ID from this screen, go to Change configuration.
   SCSI Device
      Device Type
      Device address (ID, LUN)
      Device size MB, ???? if device removed and Not present set to “Keep” Also ???? if 1GB or larger drive is on downlevel complex bios/SCSI bios. 
      Presence error reporting (Enabled/Disabled) If device is not present or not powered on, Disabled keeps system from running autoconfigure. Use with external devices (scanners, etc)
      Not present (Keep/remove) Use Keep for external devices which may be powered off separate or removed. Example- a scanner. This can be a problem IF you had a device marked “Keep” that is now removed. Example- a CD Rom drive was marked as “Keep” and you change the ID. The setup program will still maintain that there is a CD Rom at the old address, PLUS a new CD Rom at the new ID. Cool, huh?
Display Memory Map Displays memory addresses assigned to adapters. It does NOT show upper memory useage by drivers!
Operational Error reporting If devices are not present or not operational, you can either have the system respond to the changed SCSI information, or ignore it Enable / Disable (NOTE Possibly flash BIOS systems only)



Set Features

Set date and time Date (MM-DD-YYYY) Time (HH:MM:SS 24Hr!)
Set password and unattended start mode
   Set power-on password
   Change power-on password
   Remove power-on password
   Set unattended start mode Power-On password must be set first. The use of the unattended start mode ( Also called "Network Server Mode") on PS/2 systems will disable the mouse port. This is normal system operation and should not be considered a defect. Disabling the mouse port is required to maintain security of the system when using unattended start mode. IBM's explanation HERE  
   Remove Power-On password when you know password
     Turn on system
     Wait for password prompt (key symbol)
     Type current password followed by a space then hit Enter.
   Remove Power-On Password w/out Password
Set keyboard speed Speed that a character repeats when a key is held down. Normal / Fast
Set console Display and keyboard or Display only
Set startup sequence Select the sequence of drives that the computer will read from when you turn it on. Note: If you remove the floppy drive from this list, there is a "safety" feature. The system will still boot with a reference disk regardless if the floppy drive is on the startup list or not. A normal boot disk will not work. Note: Sometimes autoconfig will slip RPL into the startup sequence. Remove RPL from this list if you do not want to RPL. Note: Some systems let you choose a CD Rom as a startable device. You can try it, but I haven't heard of anyone being able to boot from a CD. I couldn't.
Set power-on features Type 4 or flash systems only!
   Serial port power-on mode System powers up if a ring is detected on serial 1. Enable / Disable
   Real time clock power-on mode Enable / Disable If you use a asterix "*" in a field, that means you don't care. So you could set the date to "**" and the system will power on every day whatever the power on time is. Or you could set the day to "*5" and it will power up on the 5th, 15th, and the 25th. NOTE: You CANNOT leave all fields for date and time as *s. The system will not enable Power-on if you do.
      Power-on day of month valid values are 0-31
      Power-on time HH:MM:SS 
NOTE: This is for flash BIOS systems only!
   System error restart System won't check for errors in error log. If the error log is full, the system will put new errors into the error log, and remove the oldest ones to keep the total of errors at four. NOTE: Flash BIOS systems only!
Set ignore error log System will not report errors upon startup Enable / Disable  NOTE: Only systems that support error logs will have this option.
Set fast startup mode Does a quick check during POST, instead of the full POST routine. Enable / Disable NOTE: Flash BIOS systems only.
   For home users, this is fine, but if I was running a business off this system, I would WANT the system to do it's full POST testing routine. The extra two minutes may mean the difference between a system running 24/7 for months, or one that has a memory module just waiting to dump your system into never-never land when the program tries to use it.



Copy an options diskette
   The CORRECT way to copy a new ADF to the hard drive or to the refisk. Have the new(er) ADF plus any ADP or DGS files on a floppy. Run Copy an options diskette, follow the prompts. From personal experience, just copying an adf to the refdisk will FAIL every time.
   If you will be adding a different adapter, I suggest you copy the options diskette FIRST, so the new ADF is already on the refdisk/sysem partition. Otherwise, you will screw around with “ADF not found” then still having to copy the option disk anyways...


Test the computer 
   Not my preferred way of running diagnostics. Use Ctrl-A to run Advanced Diagnostics. Advanced diags lets you test one component at a time, while Test the computer does ALL the damn tests. Non stop.


Advanced Diagnostics
  Doing a Ctrl-A from the main menu will bring up the advanced diagnostics.

Run System checkout
   Run system checkout Allows you to run diags on single components. For a device to be shown, there has to be a DGS file for it. FAIK, IBM was the only one to make DGS files for their adapters / devices. Other makers just made stand-alone diagnostic programs. SCSI drives are covered by the IBM DGS, and so is memory.
   First screen is a list of installed devices. Only devices with a *.dgs file will be shown!
   Second screen:
      Run tests once
      Run tests continuously
      Log or display errors
         Send error log (EL) to the default disk, Send EL to printer, stop the EL, View the EL
      Display device list
Device Test List This shows after you choose Run Tests Once 
      This is it! The big kahuna! The list may show:
   Complex Will show Type 1 L2 cache if installed.
   System board (planar)
   Memory  Location, MMK ID, Size (MB), Speed (nS), Type 1 or 0 (1 is parity, 0 ECC) Full test can take up to an hour with 128MB, the quick test about 13 minutes with 128MB.
   Keyboard Needs KB attached! You WILL press every key before it's done!
   System board parallel port It just does an internal loopback unless you have a wrap plug
   Diskette drive asks for a blank floppy for read/write tests
   System board async port It just does an internal loopback unless you have a wrap plug
   Mouse port Need mouse attached!
   Information panel  95s only. It lights up EVERY individual LED by the time it's done.
   SCSI I/O adapter
   Hard disks Here goes the big one!
     Select the SCSI hard disk to test  Size in MB, Slot#, SCSI ID of device, LUN, and BUS
      SCSI hard disk tests
         Device Inquiry- Sends Device Inquiry to HD. Tests ability to recognize HD.
         Unit ready test- Resets HD and sends "Test unit ready" . Tests if HD accepts supported medium access commands.
         Device Capacity Sends "Read capacity". Displays size in MB
         Self test Sends "Self diagnostics". HD self test . Performs R/W to HD test area.
         Seek test Sends "seek" Exercises seek mechanism of HD
         W/R/Compare Test Writes random data to HD buffer, reads it back, then compares the two. This tests the integrity of data transfer between system and HD buffer.
         Data integrity test sequential read verify test. Verifies sectors for readability. NO writes to HD are performed. NOTE: IBM says "This test is relatively long" 

Format the hard drive This will LLF the SCSI drive you select. 
   Select SCSI hard disk to format Shows Size in MB, Slot#, ID, LUN, and Bus
   Next screen asks Save grown defect list -or- Erase grown defect list
   When you choose the drive and select save or erase grown defect list, the LLF program asks you twice if you want to continue. Read the message box- the first time you answer "Y", the second time it asks you if you want to stop, answer "N".
   NOTE: The system will refuse to format a drive with an active partition. You might have to use FDISK to turn the active partition ino just a partition, or delete it. This was on a Type 4 system, YMMV.



More utilities

Display revision levels Shows BIOS levels, refdisk and diags levels, planar and complex ID.
Stand alone utility information As useful as something on a boar.
Set and view system identification
     Set system identification Enter Vital Product Data (VPD). Model code, submodel code, computer serial number, and part-identification codes for the planar and complex (if applicable)
      View system configuration View VPD
Display system error log Shows you up to four stored errors. You can delete errors from this screen NOTE: Only on systems that support error logs!
Set character font Choose from #1, which is a "linedraw" font, sans serif, or #2 which is a serif font. NOTE: Flash BIOS systems only???

9595 Main Page