Question about IBM ThinkPad R31 2656 Notebook

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How to activate my IBM recovery system F11?

My IBM R31 laptop is not working normally, always freezes. I would like to format my C Drive and turn my system back to the original windows system.

But, I can't use the build-in recovery programme which should be F11. Can you help me?

Long long time ago, I remembered when I turn on my laptop, before it went to WINDOWS system, I press F11 then the computer will go to recovery system, my C Drive will be turned back to the original system.

Thank you!


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  • RachRogers Feb 19, 2008

    Helen and Buschchris

    Thank you for your helps, but I still can't fix my system! Please have a look my questions, I have listed out my situations. As last time, I didn't mention all details.



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    Someone went into the Quick Pro Program and now the computer only shows a window that says the Windows Task Manager has been closed by the Administrator. I cannot see anything on the screen except the Windows XP login screen and the default sound for this screen, nothing more.

  • Rochelle Fox May 06, 2008

    I have a Toshiba Satelite A65-S626, Laptop and it has acquired a Spyware that has disallowed me access to the computer programs. The last program used was Quick Pro and I need to get into the computer to pull up some info there. What can I do????

  • Eifs Sep 28, 2008

    My IBM R31 laptop is not working . I would like to format my C Drive and turn my system back to the original windows system.

    But, I can't use the built-in recovery programme which should be F11. Can you help me?

    In Bios Enable recovery F11 is greyed out and not changeable

    I have 2 partisions C Drive and recovery 1.?? Gb

    when I turned on my laptop, before it went to WINDOWS system, I press F11 then the computer will go to recovery system, my C Drive will be turned back to the original system.

    Thank you!

  • luigirendon Feb 08, 2009

    im having the same problem, i cant activate the system restore..
    and i cant really get into the documents or any other program, it wont let me...
    i bought 2 same ibm thinkpads, around 3 yrs ago, and both of them crashed around the same time, like a yr after, one of them is gone, because it woudnt even let me log in. i would only get a blue system error screen.. but im hoping i can still save this one.... plz help..



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R31's have a hidden partition on the hard drive from the factory. So the first thing I would is download the latest version of Ultimate Boot CD. . (Google UBCD) Download and Burn a new CD with the UBCD iso file. Then put this CD in your R31 and power up. Press Enter when the message "Press enter to boot from CD" appears. Then choose File System tools. Select Partition Tools.You will find several tools there. Ranish Partition Manager should be near the top of the list. Select it. A version of Linux will load from the CD. You should see both of your partitions there the second one will be hidden. If you do, then the restore partition is still there. DO NOT change anything in Ranish Partition manager. Linux will lock the CD drive, so you will have to turn off your computer to remove the CD. Then turn the computer back on to re-boot and remove the CD. If you saw the MBR and TWO partitions, the Recovery partition is still there, and probably intact. If it is not there, you will need the Recovery CD's that may have come with your R31. If you do not see TWO partitions, and do NOT have the recovery CD's you will need to obtain a new copy of your operating system. You remember the procedure to recover your operating system, so , the only suggestion I will make is that if you change go into the BIOS on boot-up and change the boot order to put the CD drive first, the floppy drive second (the one you do not have), and the hard drive third, you should have enough time to press the F11 key before XP stops you.
As a final note I would buy a USB Flash drive that is compatible with USB 1.1 and save all of my important files before I restored the opersting system.


Posted on Mar 27, 2008

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Usually you have to have the recovery CD in the cd drive. In regualr Desktop machines, hitting F11 will go into the boot options menu allowing you to choose from booting to a network, through USB or CD drive or floppy.

On your laptop it may be set to load from cd but with no cd, no boot.

If its freezing alot you may be having a heating problem. If you suspect a Hard drive problem, run a disk check by double clicking " My computer" , right click on C:/ drive and click " properties" open the " Tools" tab and go to disk check and select all the options. It will say that it will do it on system restart. Do this and see if any errors come up.

Posted on Feb 17, 2008

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Hi Rachel
Assuming that you are using Windows XP, you can access System Recovery by dong the following:

Click Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Sysyem Restore

Follow the prompts.

Alternatively, are you sure you need to restore it? It may just need a good clearout. Have you tried getting rid of all the temporary internet files, defragmenting and running adware/spyware scans? You may find that is all you need to do?

Best wishes

Posted on Feb 17, 2008

  • Palmbeach
    Palmbeach Feb 20, 2008

    Hi Again Rachel

    Unfortunately you still haven't given enough information for me to really help further. For example, what is your operating system? Are you using Windows XP? Also does the computer freeze when you are doing different things or always when you are using one particular program?

    Because all the factory software and settings are held in system restore, you will not be able to do a full recovery back to factory settings, if you cannot access the restore software using

    Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore

    Your only other option would be to use recovery discs. If you do not have recovery discs, it may be possible to purchase them for your laptop. The discs will then allow you to put your computer back to how it was when it was supplied by the dealer.

    You say that your computer keeps freezing. There are four main causes for this.

    1) You have a virus (Make sure your virus software is up to date and carry out a full virus scan)

    2) Your windows software is out of date. (Make sure you visit microsoft and download all the latest critical updates. Some of these can effect the stability of windows)

    3) You have a program running that is taking up too much memory. (Boot into safe mode and see if the computer stops freezing. If it does, boot back into normal mode and locate the offending program. I can tell you how to do this if you do not know!) To boot into safe mode, follow my instructions at the foot of this response.) If you do have a program taking up too much memory, you will need to decide whether you want to keep it or not. If you do not need it just uninstall it. If you want to keep it, you will need to upgrade your memory to increase the RAM.

    4) You have a conflict or corrupt file with a running program. (The procedure for this is similar to the information I have given above. But it is probably better to uninstall the program, then reinstall it, then visit the manufacturer's website to download the latest drivers if there are any.

    Finally, make sure you have carried out full spyware and adware scans and delete all your temporary internet files. It may also be useful to run scandisc in command mode, but if you are not too familiar with computers I have probably confused you enough already.

    SAFE MODE - This allows you to boot your computer for diagnostic purposes. It loads only the software and drivers that are vital to launch windows. You should not run your computer in safe mode unless you are trying to solve a problem. To boot into safe mode, do the following:

    Start your computer.

    As its booting press F8 and hold it down. (On some computers you may need to tap F8 instead)

    When the 'Windows Advanced Options Menu' appears, use the arrow keys to select safe mode, then press enter.

    To return to normal windows, just restart as normal.

    That's enough to keep you busy Rachel!




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Okay i have a ibm thinkpad r31 laptop, i have use an utimate boot cd to reenable f11 recovery program. but it didnt work so i downloaded the recovery cd and it enable the f11 ibm program recovery, so now...


You don't say which Operating System you use, so my answer will be presented in general, Windows terms. If yours is a non-Windows Operating System and my answer seems to be of some relevance to you, please consider applying the logic and principles involved here to your own Operating System and, if in doubt, please feel free to add a Comment or Clarification to this Question. Please include information about its Operating System. Doing so helps us makes faster, more accurate and more assured Remote Diagnostics leading to better quality and more useful Advice, Answers, Guidelines , How-Tos and Solutions.

You also don't say what happened and what fault caused you to need to try to run the recovery program.

It seems the recovery CD has altered the Boot Sector of the Hard Drive.

If the data on the hard drive is important:

Unplug and turn off the laptop > remove the battery > use a small screwdriver to open the Hard Drive compartment with the picture of a small stack of CDs next to it > remove the retaining screw or clip > remove the Hard Drive > use a Hard Drive Dock or an External 2.5" Hard Drive Enclosure (for this you have to remove the small silver Hard cradle that holds the Hard drive fast in the laptop) or an IDE/SATA to USB Connection Cable to connect the Hard Drive to a 2nd Computer > Back up all important data to an external storage device.

Reinstall the hard drive into the laptop > insert the installation disk > install a Windows XP Disc > Boot from the CD > When you reach the 2nd repair screen, press R to Repair XP.

If you have a different Operating System follow the same process > select Start Up Repair (for Vista or Windows 7)

I hope this helps.

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When the system first starts, the following message will be shown on a blank screen:
To start the recovery program, press F11
This message will stay on the screen for about 2 seconds, this will be there every time you start it when it's powered off. If the F11 key is pressed while the message is displayed, then the system should enter the service partition.

Keep trying it because sometimes when the computer comes on you have to do it at the correct time until it catches. I've had that problem and I kept doing it over and over again. It also could mean that your recovery partition is not there. Have you had your system reinstalled before by not using the recovery or the disk? If so your whole hard drive could have been formatted so there won't be a partition to go to when pressing f11.

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typically your XP system has a restore for settings which is a program in windows.

F11 on boot is a type of recovery that bassically recovers your windows unless it specifies otherwise or is part of the system Bios.

It usually recovers from your install disk and restores your windows and leaves the personal files intact. This is if you accidently damage some windows files through tinkering and what not. Relying on the laptop as a back up is not a good idea because everything is on one Hard drive and if that goes, then your stuck.

Your better off getting an External Hard drive and connecting it, backing up all your personal files to it, and then leaving it stored in a safe place in case something bad happens.

There is also a way to use the windows CD to restore the windows files from the Windows installer when booting from CD which restores all the OS files and leave the personal files intact. Allthoug it does reset all the windwos prefferences.

As for ths F11, I have that option as well and fine it not to be reliable.

Hope this helps point you in the right direction.

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I don't mean to disagree with my associate, but DVD players for R series (or T, A, etc) can be found for less than 20.00 US (Ebay is a good example)
For that matter, we've got at least a dozen at our shop which we sell for 25.00
Installation is very simple as well, just pop the old drive out, put the new drive in.
Good luck

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