CMOS battery causing startup problems

Q: I have an older IBM laptop model #385cd which has not been used for a while. I recently got it out to use it and it had error codes 161 and 163 on it (problem with the CMOS). Will a startup disk fix this problem? What are my options?

A: First, let me tell you that C-M-O-S, pronounced “see-moss”, stands for complementary metal oxide semiconductor. But don’t worry, noobies aren’t expected to remember that. What is important to know is that your computer contains a small amount of battery-powered CMOS memory to store such information as the computer’s date and time and the computer’s setup parameters.

ThinkPad CMOS batteryI did some research on error codes 161 and 163 and all signs point to you needing to replace the CMOS battery on your laptop. This is something you could probably do yourself but if you aren’t up for the challenge you may want a qualified computer repair center to do it for you.

To answer your question regarding the startup disk, I don’t think using a startup disk or installing a new operating system will help in this situation mainly because your issue is related to a physical component of your laptop, in this case, your CMOS battery.

This post was originally broadcast Friday, May 4, 2007 on Tech Talk with Noobie, a weekly radio show on WCBK 102.3 FM in Martinsville, Indiana. Tech Talk with Noobie airs every Friday between 11:30 a.m. and noon. If you have a question you would like Noobie to answer on the air, simply e-mail your question to [email protected].