PC110

The IBM PalmTop PC110

The start-up sequence explained

 

 

 

Introduction

It is important to understand how the start-up sequence affects the operation of your PC110. If you choose wisely, you'll get free PCMCIA point enablers for your troubles!

To change the start-up options, you'll have to enter the BIOS configuration utility, Easy-Setup, by pressing <F1> as you power on the PC110, then select the Start up icon.

Please note that this page was designed using Netscape Composer, and checked visually with Netscape Navigator. You may see some odd effects from other browsers - sorry, but I haven't had time to check it thoroughly yet. Much of this won't make sense if your browser is currently set to ignore images.

Startup sequence options

The Startup sequence slection screen looks something like this:
  

 

1

2

3

4

RESET

 

FDD-1

HDD-1

Netwrk

FDD-2

HDD-2

PCMCIA

HDD-3

 

  
As you click on each device icon, it is added to the startup sequence selection. You cannot remove individual devices once selected; the Reset icon clears the whole selection so you can start again.

The options you have here are as follows:
  

FDD-1

Floppy drive

HDD-1 

Internal 4MB Flash drive; master drive on primary IDE controller

Network

RIPL from a token-ring card

FDD-2

Another floppy drive?! never available

HDD-2

CompactFlash slot; slave drive on primary IDE controller

PCMCIA

ATA device (Flash or hard drive) in a PCMCIA socket; master and slave on secondary IDE controller, lower slot should take precedence if two ATA devices are inserted

HDD-3

Another CompactFlash card?! never available

I believe that FDD-2 and HDD-3 are only there because the code for this was borrowed from another ThinkPad, where you could potentially install three hard drives and two floppy drives, if you had a docking station and enough cash! I certainly wouldn't take this as a sign that the PC110 has some undisclosed expansion features that would make a docking station with internal hard drive, or perhaps more PCMCIA sockets, a possibility. But I'm just a pessimist...

Point Enablers

Read my page on BIOS support for PCMCIA devices, if you haven't done so already, as this attempts to explain the effect of selecting various items in the start-up sequence.

Point enablers are basically simple PCMCIA drivers which load, configure a device, then unload, unlike the more weighty Card & Socket Services which you see these days. the beauty of the PC110 is that it loads some point enablers as part of the startup sequence, so your PCMCIA devices are magically configured to just work, without any need for Card & Socket Services drivers to be loaded.

This only works for ATA cards, modems, and token-ring cards.

Problems using PCMCIA drivers and booting from ATA cards

You will most likely run into problems (read: system hangs at boot up) if you try and enable the standard PCMCIA drivers for DOS/Windows, Windows 95, or Windows NT, whilst booting the operating system from a PCMCIA ATA device. Again, refer to my page on BIOS support for PCMCIA devices for an explanation of why this happens, and ways of avoiding it.

Suggested startup sequences

1) You want to boot from a floppy if inserted, then a PCMCIA device if inserted, otherwise from the 4MB internal flash drive.

  

 

1

2

3

4

RESET

 

FDD-1

HDD-1

Netwrk

FDD-2

HDD-2

PCMCIA

HDD-3

 

  

2) You want to boot from a floppy if inserted, then the 4MB internal flash drive, and install point enablers for PCMCIA ATA devices (if inserted)

3) You want to boot from a CompactFlash card, if inserted, or otherwise the 4MB internal flash drive, without installing point enablers for any PCMCIA ATA devices that may be inserted

I hope that you can see that this discussion could continue for quite a while whilst we consider all the permutations, but that should give you an idea of what's going on, and some suggestions for which setup is best for your situation.

Changing the drive controller order

If you don't like having the Flash controller as the primary IDE device, you can disable it using the PS2 _@ATA command to disable the Flash controller and therefore let the PCMCIA ATA devices be configured as the primary IDE controller devices.

OS/2 allows you to go one stage further. Rather than disable the Flash controller, you can just tell the IDE device driver to reverse the priority of the controllers as it initialises support for them. Neat! Look here if you want more detail on this.
 

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Written by Daniel Basterfield. Images found on the internet. Enjoy!