T21 Laptop Freezes on Win 2K Startup

By Steve_zeo ·
Hello All -

My son's T21 Laptop freezes on normal boot at the very same point. It does boot up in Safe mode...would anyone have any thoughts as to what would cause this (i.e. video driver, bad motherboard, etc.)? There has been no changes that I am aware of to the machine.

Thank you all in advance for your kindness...

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T21 Laptop Freezes on Win 2K Startup

by dlptv In reply to T21 Laptop Freezes on Win ...

Hi Steve, seems like since it does this at the same point tells me that what ever it happens to be loading at that time is the problem. Could be a needle in a haystack.

Driver/software/or even spyware causing it.

You could go to safe mode and look in the start up list (start/run/type in MSCONFIG then click the startup tap and disable one at a time till it boots but that would take a LONG time.
Could be spyware/virus but do this to make it simple...

Assuming it is software....just pop in your OS CD.. XP home/Pro. and just do a "repair" install.
Then if that works,(I say it will), then run virus scans/spyware scans, most likely just spywares.. I like 3.. XoftSpySE Spyware killer pro. and the free one...spybot.

To to a repair, you most likely will NOT loose anything (data,etc..)if you have a folder(s) of new stuff on your desktop, just cut and paste it to your documents for now and when it is done, you can move it back incase it did take away stuff.

Anyway, to do a repair on XP (assuming you have XP home or Pro.),do this:

When the Press any key to boot from CD message is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD.

Press ENTER when you see the message To setup Windows XP now, and then press ENTER displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen.

Do not choose the option to press R to use the Recovery Console.

In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.

Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press R to repair Windows XP.

Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.

go to the Microsoft update page and gets your updates.

Hope this helps and fixes your problem.

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Error log.

by lastchip In reply to T21 Laptop Freezes on Win ...

Take a look at the error log in Computer Management. It should give you a clue as to what is failing.

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It's been a while since I worked on W2K but...

by Ashby In reply to T21 Laptop Freezes on Win ...

I think your troubles are more likely software related, rather than hardware. The basic motherboard, memory, hard disk and graphics card/chip are likely to be OK, since you will use all those to boot successfully into safe mode.

Have you tried safe mode with networking? That would eliminate the onboard network devices and give some internet access to help with diagnostics.

I can't remember if W2K has a boot prompt mode. If it does, try it and reply yes to everything. The last load when it hangs could most likely be the culprit.

Try a boot logged mode also, which should give you an error log that you can subsequently look at in safe mode. Depending where it hangs, the regular system error logs may not be enabled yet.

Have you done a full virus and spyware scan in safe mode? If not that is a must. If safe mode with networking works, you might also try the online scans available from most of the reputable AV companies.

That apart, I don't see any alternative to working through the startup lists as suggested by a previous poster, disabling a service at a time until you find the culprit.

By the way, I assume you have used safe mode to back up all of your data? If not, I suggest you do it now, just in case the only alternative is a system reload. But treat the backup files as suspicious until you have confirmed they are virus and spyware free.

Good luck.

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It freezes at what point?

by gil_gosseyn In reply to T21 Laptop Freezes on Win ...

The first thing to do is boot into the BIOS with F1, and load the default settings with F9. Then hit F10 to save & exit the BIOS. Let Windows try to boot normally. If it fails, move on to the next step.

If you hit <Esc> while the Windows splash screen is showing, you may be able to see the Windows modules as they load. If not, and you have another computer, search on Google for "msconfig.exe" and download it to a floppy disk, USB flash drive, or copy over your LAN (if "Safe Mode with networking" works), and transfer to the T21. Put it into the C:\WINNT\system32 folder. Then click on Start->Run and type in msconfig, click Run and select "Diagnostic startup." Restart, and choose "Start Windows normally." You'll then be able to see the files & drivers as they load, and get a clue where it fails.

If you need to replace a driver, go to:

and put your Type-Model (####-xxx) in where it says "Enter a product number," then click the "Go" button. This will give you a hardware profile of your Thinkpad, so you can select the proper driver for your device. Then type MIGR-4JSQHB in the search box in the top right corner of the page, and search. Click on the first result, for the page "Drivers and software - ThinkPad T20, T21", referred to as the "driver matrix," which has the most recent versions of the BIOS, hardware drivers, and ThinkVantage (IBM) applications for your Thinkpad. Save the .exe file on your Desktop.


The .exe file you download DOES NOT INSTALL THE DRIVER. It is a self-extracting package file, and when you double-click it, it extracts the driver files & setup program (if one is included) to a default directory. MAKE A NOTE OF THAT DIRECTORY! Then you can open Windows Explorer (Start->Programs->Accessories->Windows Explorer), click the plus sign (+) beside "My Computer", and navigate to the folder containing the extracted files. If there is no "Setup.exe" in the folder, update the driver from Device Manager.

If you can't fix it, the only other option is to re-install the Operating System. Are you still using the IBM preload? The way to tell is to open the System Properties window. If the IBM logo shows on the General tab, it's the preload. Assuming it is, and you've backed up the user data in Safe Mode or by connecting the HDD to another computer, you can try accessing the hidden recovery partition by tapping the blue "Access IBM" button 2 or 3 times (or F11 rapidly & repeatedly) IMMEDIATELY after turning the laptop on, WHILE the IBM splash screen is showing. Then choose the option to "restore the system (or hard drive) to original factory state," and follow the prompts. If you miss the IBM splash screen, wait until the system freezes, do a hard shutdown (hold down the Power button until it turns off), and try again.

If you can't re-install from the hidden partition on the hard drive, you can use the recovery CD that came with the laptop, if you still have it. Put the CD into the drive, reboot, & start tapping the F12 key to get a "Boot Device Menu." Select "ATAPI CD-0" as the boot device, and choose to "restore the system (or hard drive) to original factory state."

If the partition is corrupted or the recovery fails, you can install a retail or OEM copy of Windows, and get the hardware device drivers from the matrix (see below).

But before re-installing the Operating System, you should run a hardware diagnostic test on the hard drive, to be sure it isn't failing. If your hard disk drive (HDD) is made by Hitachi (usually called a Travelstar), the best test is the Drive Fitness Test (DFT), which you can download at:

Another diagnostic can be found on the Lenovo Web site by searching for MIGR-4YZM3F "PC Doctor for DOS - ThinkPad T20, T21, T22, T23." Follow the instructions on the download page to create the diagnostic diskettes, then run the "Fixed Disks" test. If you get more than 1 failed sector, or get Read or Write Verify errors, the drive is failing, and should be replaced. Search for MIGR-45956 "Hardware removal and installation - ThinkPad T20, T21, T22, T23" for instructions to remove the HDD.

If you are still in warranty, call 800-426-7378 (800-IBM-SERV), option 1, option 5, then option 1, for a free replacement. They can't send W2k recovery CDs, but you can send the system to the repair depot to be loaded with XP Pro for a charge of $175 (Microsoft's rules, not IBM/Lenovo). The major advantage of this is that you will still have the hidden recovery partition, but with XP Pro. This charge applies, whether the laptop is in or out of warranty.

If you're out of warranty, and don't want to pay IBM/Lenovo for the XP preload, you can just replace the drive and use a retail or OEM copy of Windows. The easiest way to get the IBM drivers is to install ThinkVantage System Update v3.01, but you should have a broadband connection to use it. The NIC in most Thinkpads don't like the Windows Ethernet drivers, so you may have to download the Ethernet driver on another computer, then copy it over to the Thinkpad and update it manually.

ThinkVantage System Update scans your Thinkpad's hardware drivers & BIOS versions, then connects to the Lenovo Packet Server to look for newer or more appropriate versions Search for TVSU-UPDATE "ThinkVantage System Update 3.0." The software requires the Microsoft .NET Framework v2.0 to install & run. There are instructions for getting the .NET update on the TVSU download page. After installing the .NET framework and rebooting, come back to the TVSU page and click on the download link. When the dialog box asks what to do, select "Run." The program will install itself, then tell you to reboot.

After booting, there will be a "ThinkVantage" folder on the "Programs" (or "All Programs") menu, with "System Update" in the folder. Run System Update, install the downloads, and reboot. Do this 3 times, or until System Update doesn't find any more updates.

At this point, the BIOS, all the drivers, and the ThinkVantage applications should be up to date, and you will have full use of any hardware options on your system.

And, yes, as you may have guessed by now, I am one of the laptop Tech Support Reps you get when you call 800-IBM-SERV (800-426-737. Good luck.

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Thank you all

by Steve_zeo In reply to It freezes at what point?

Thanks to all of you who replied with your expert advice. I am presently sorting your recommendations out and will apply your insight and will get to the root of this problem. Thanks to you all!

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It freezes at what point?

by Jxoco In reply to It freezes at what point?

Wow, A lot of good stuff in this reply by gil_gosseyn, I'll be using it in the future I'm sure.

My experience:
I've had a T21 for a long time and have had the same type of thing happen on at least three occasions. I found that it wasn't stopped actually, it was just using 100% of it's cpu doing something.
Control alt delete to bring up the windows task manager, processes tab, right click on the processes taking up the cpu and set the priority to 'LOW'.
After doing this to a couple of tasks I had a running pc but it was a little slow.
The first time it was Symantic Anti-virus, realtime scan, that must have gotten itself into a loop somewhere, the next two times it was ITunes updater/installer that was chewing up the cpu.
I was able to uninstall Symantic AV and ITunes (and Quicktime) and then, in the case of SAV reinstall it. ITunes needed to have the stand alone version of Quicktime installed first and then the standalone Itunes installed. ( maybe during the ITunes install you just uncheck Quicktime, I can't remember ).
I never click 'yes' when it tells me there is a new version of ITunes and do I want to upgrade.
Best of luck, my family has a T20, T21 and T23 and they are very hardy machines, in the event that they become obsolete/unusable I would gladly replace them with another of the T series.

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Try another profile (user account). if same, check for

by sgt_shultz In reply to T21 Laptop Freezes on Win ...

1) file system corruption (use chkdsk)
2) spyware (use Ad-Aware)
3) viruses (use AVG)

Your symptoms are almost for sure due to spyware or a virus is my two cents.
Create another user while in Safe Mode to try. Perhaps the account profile has become corrupt. But higher probability of spyware or virus, IMHO. also do all windows and office updates (choose Safe Mode with Networking for internet access)

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