So I'm trying to bring the old laptop (a pre-1999 Thinkpad 600e) back to life for the kids to play with. Having the weirdest problem. No matter what Linux I try to apply (always booting from CD, as this bios does not allow booting from USB) hard crashes and leaves me in a state where the numlock and capslock keys are blinking. Googling around tells me that this is a "kernel panic" crash, but what I can't figure out is what is crashing.
I have tried Puppy, Ubuntu, Knoppix and Nimble, either installing to hard drive or just running from CD, whichever was appropriate, and every single one of them exhibits the same failure.
I have already swapped out the hard drive, but that did not fix the problem. I have not yet run the memory test, but I'll do that next. I suppose if that passes, and it's not the HD (I did the BIOS test of the HD and that works, so I'm presumbing that the controller works as well) I guess I'll have to chalk it up to something in the motherboard, give up and throw the whole thing away. That'd be a shame, I've kept it this long :).
Absolutely last ditch effort would be to put the hard drive into my other, modern, working laptop. Then use USB/CD to install Ubuntu or some other directly onto the hard drive, then put the hard drive back into the old machine and see what happens.