Quick 'n Dirty System Programs

Main Menu
Start operating system
Backup/Restore system programs
   Backup the System Diskettes
   Backup the System Partition
   Restore the system partition
Update system programs
Set configuration
   Set and View SCSI Device Configuration
     H09805 Non-Fixed Disk SCSI Devices not removed during Auto-Configuration
Set features
   Set Startup Sequence
Copy an options diskette (The CORRECT way to add an ADF!)
Test the computer (Runs ALL tests! Use Ctrl-A to bring up Adv Diags instead!)
Advanced Diagnostics (Individual tests, LLF Hard Drives)
   Run System checkout Runs individual tests
   Device Test List This shows after you choose Run Tests Once
     Hard Disk>Select the SCSI hard disk to test brings up SCSI hard disk tests
       Device Inquiry, Unit ready, Device Capacity, Self, Seek, W/R/Compare, Data integrity
   Format the hard drive This will LLF the SCSI drive you select.
More utilities

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. 

Is Auto-config Right For You?
  If you have installed an adapter and haven't added the ADF by choosing Copy An Options Diskette, the system will brightly ask if you want to automatically configure the system .I tell it NO, insert the floppy with the ADF into the drive, pray that the system programs accepts the ADF on the first try, and then use Set and View Configuration>Change Configuration.

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.

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. Obviously, you need the reference AND diagnostics diskette...

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 says:
   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.
Note: Leave Unauthorized Access Monitor DISABLED. This requires an administrator password which CANNOT be erased! If you set it and forget it, you will NEVER be able to change configuration with that planar again. This uses LogicLock to detect attempts to open the system without a key.

Backup configuration Copies configuration information from NVRAM to the hard drive. 

Restore configuration Retrieves configuration information from hard drive or diskette (if you booted with them) 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 Auto-config. You can then change the settings back to your manual configuration if you experience problems with the auto-config 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 auto-configure. Use with external devices (scanners, etc). If you are having problems with a system which has been stripped or reassembled, check this!

   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? If you are having problems with a system which has been stripped or reassembled, check this!

Display Memory Map Displays memory addresses assigned to adapters. It does NOT show upper memory usage 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) 

H09805 Non-Fixed Disk SCSI Devices not removed during Auto-Configuration
Auto Configuration will not remove SCSI non-fixed disk devices from the configuration table, even when the device has been physically disconnected. A 162 or 174 POST error results if Auto Configuration is used to de-configure a disconnected, non-fixed disk device, such as a tape drive or CD-ROM.

SCSI Auto Configuration Rules:

A. SCSI Auto Configuration configures any attached SCSI device.
B. SCSI Auto Configuration ONLY de-configures >fixed< disk drives.
C. Non-fixed disk SCSI devices must be manually removed from the configuration table when the device is disconnected.

Remove Non-Fixed Disk SCSI Device 

A. Boot reference diskette or IML the System Partition.
B. At Main Menu select Option #3, "Set Configuration."
C. Select Option #6, "Set And View SCSI Device Confg."
D. Find appropriate SCSI device on the list and select the "Presence Error Reporting" line.
E. Using F5/F6 keys, toggle to "Remove."
F. Save configuration with F10 key.
G. Follow instructions on screen and re-boot system.

The disconnected SCSI device should now be gone from configuration table and normal operation should occur.

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. For more detail. go to Select Drive.

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 auto-config will slip RPL into the startup sequence. Remove RPL from this list if you do not want to RPL. If the system has RPL in the sequence and you do not see a SCSI hard drive, you had better check Set Configuration to see if the SCSI adapter is installed, and then Set and View SCSI Device Configuration  to see if the SCSI hard drive is installed. 

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.

Example:  Default Startup Sequence 
           This example shows the default startup sequence when one hard disk is installed.
           Startup Number          Device 
           1............[2.88MB 3.5-inch diskette drive 0] 
           2............[SCSI ROM Device slot 1 Bus 0 (ID,LUN)..:6,0] 
           3............[Not selected] 
           4............[Not selected] 

Set power-on features Type 4 or flash systems only!
   Serial port power-on mode System powers up if ring detected on serial 1. Enable/Disable
   Real time clock power-on mode Enable / Disable If you use a asterisk "*" 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 Quick POST check, instead of 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

This is the CORRECT way to copy a new ADF to the hard drive or to the refdisk. More information HERE.

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, up to an hour with 128MB, 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 

Save Grown Defects keeps the list. I'd keep it. I had some interesting problems with an AIX install where some stuff wendt missing. LLF'd it, saved the list, the system then worked. YMMV.

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 refuses to format a drive with an active partition IF you booted from the convenience (system) partition on that drive. To remove an existing system partition, boot with a refdisk.

Warning: The advanced-diagnostic format program (referred to as a low-level format), is different from the operating system format program. The operating-system format program will not erase the System Partition; the low-level format program will. It also will erase the system programs and completely clear the hard disk.

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?

Content created and/or collected by:
Louis F. Ohland, Peter H. Wendt, David L. Beem, William R. Walsh, Tatsuo Sunagawa, Tomáš Slavotínek, Jim Shorney, Tim N. Clarke, Kevin Bowling, and many others.

Ardent Tool of Capitalism is maintained by Tomáš Slavotínek.
Last update: 08 May 2024 - Changelog | About | Legal & Contact