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Showing posts from 2009

External Thinkpad USB Keyboard

Thinkpad USB keyboard with Trackpoint.
Available for users who like their Thinkpad keyboard and would like to have a comparable external keyboard. This compact, slim design has the same look and feel and even includes the built in Trackpoint and function keys. Its part number is 55Y90030B47190 and costs about $50 US dollars.

Find additional information from Lenovo.

Also available on while they last.
Find them here: 
Lenovo ThinkPad Compact USB Keyboard with TrackPoint - US English

Lenovo SimpleTap

The future of laptops will include a capacitive touch screen. Lenovo's SimpleTap technology enables quick and easy access to hardware controls by simply touching on-screen tiles. This menu of tiles is user configurable and can adjust such things as the ThinkLight, volume controls, screen brightness. The technology is available today for the Thinkpad X200 Tablet and the Thinkpad X400s, both of which feature a multitouch display.

Lenovo's website show a demo of the technology.

The software reached end of life.

Thinkpad Hard Drive Firmware Update

You upgrade the BIOS on your Thinkpad; you install Windows updates, but have you updated the firmware on your Thinkpad’s hard drive?

As recent as January of this year the latest hard drive firmware was released for IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads. The firmware is downloadable as an .iso file and you select one of two different files depending on the model of your machine. Burn this .iso file to make a bootable cdrom; then boot from the cdrom and follow the instructions to update the firmware. The whole firmware update process only takes about thirty seconds.

The first firmware update file: Version: FWSH33Release Date: 09/20/2009

Supported Thinkpads:

ThinkPad R400, R500
ThinkPad T400, T500
ThinkPad W500
ThinkPad W700
ThinkPad X200
ThinkPad SL300, SL400, SL500
ThinkPad R60, R60e, R60i
ThinkPad R61, R61e, R61i
ThinkPad T60, T60p
ThinkPad T61, T61p
ThinkPad X60, X60s, X60 Tablet
ThinkPad X61, X61s, X61 Tablet
ThinkPad Z60m, Z60t
ThinkPad Z61e, Z61m, Z61p, Z61t Supported Hard Drives:

"x" mea…

Thinkpad WWAN Broadband Option - ATT 3G Info

I've been using a Lenovo W500 with the SIM card reader in the back, under the battery, and wanted to find some information on how to use this function and what additional accessories I may need.

After searching for awhile I discovered this information was not easy to uncover. So after searching a little more, I finally found the part number of a Mini PCI Express card option I would need to purchase and install to get the 3G wireless working.

You install this card option and insert a SIM card and you're on your way to accessing the ATT 3G network. Of course, you have to have a service contract with ATT and airtime charges will apply. You should make sure your Thinkpad has the latest BIOS to ensure the PCI card is recognized properly.

Below I copied the information and specs on this Mini PCI Express option as posted on the Lenovo publications website.

Thinkpad Broadband wireless WAN-ready option offers cost-efficient remote access solutions
Lenovo United States Hardware Announceme…

Windows 7 on a Lenovo W500 Thinkpad

Review of Lenovo W500 Thinkpad running Windows 7 operating system.

Hardware: W500 Thinkpad model:4061-AC4
Software: Windows 7 beta 32-bit build 7000

This is my third review of the Lenovo W500 Thinkpad. The first was an overall look at the hardware and the W500 Thinkpad Specifications. I continued with an additional and what I though at the time was going to be the last review titled, W500 Further Review and OS Install. It covered my experience installing and running Windows Vista and the ‘switchable graphics’ feature I wanted to try out. But, it turns out that when I obtained the new Windows 7 beta operating system release I couldn’t resist installing it on the W500 to see how it looked and ran.
--> Man is it nice. Microsoft has refined the install which is much more clean and easy. All this means is there is less user interaction, it installed and had rebooted before I knew it. Upon the first login it had the same great visual looks as Vista, but I found the usability to be much im…

Lenovo W500 Further Review and OS Install

This is a continuation of my previous look at the Lenovo W500 Thinkpad. Please read my first posting which lists the specifications and my initial impressions. In this review I cover installing Windows Vista, device drivers and software applications, including ThinkVantage System Update. Then I’ll wrap up with my final thoughts.

In the previous post I said the Thinkpad W500 model number is 4061-AC4 with the following specs:

*Processor is an Intel Core 2 Duo P9400(2.53.GHZ)
*ATI Mobility FireGL V5700 graphics
*Switchable Graphics(see below)
*15.4 inch WUXGA(1920 X 1200) LCD widescreen display
*160GB 7200rpm SATA hard disk drive
*4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 memory
*Mini PCIe 802.11 wireless – Intel 5300
*Intel 82567 1GB ethernet

It had Windows XP installed and was working great, all the components were recognized and was a stable system. I decided however to install Windows Vista because of the ability to switch between the graphics chipsets on the fly from within Vista. Windows…

Automatically Update Your Thinkpad With ThinkVantage System Update

Want to install updates to your Lenovo machine but don’t know exactly what you need or where to find the files you need?

ThinkVantage System Update 3.14 can automatically install and apply updates to software, drivers, firmware and BIOS all from one application. It can be configured to run fully automated where it downloads and installs updates on a scheduled basis or manual mode, where you control how and when it runs.

System Update installs under Windows 2000, XP and Vista and requires Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0 or better to work correctly. The newest release of System Update, version 3.14, seems to be more stable and work much better. I had the previous release installed and frequently received an error message while gathering information and the application would stop. This new release has run flawlessly for the several times I have run it. I usually like to download and install updates myself and am cautious about applying updates to drivers from Windows Update, but so…

Recycle Your Lenovo and Get Paid

NEW Lenovo recycle information can be found of this post.

People today are concerned with protecting the environment more than ever before. We look for ways to be energy efficient and are encouraged to recycle, reduce and reuse. Companies are no different and many are getting involved in their own recycling programs.

Lenovo has partnered with ECO International to offer an easy solution to recycle used electronics. ECO either reuses equipment or dismantles and recycles it, there is a zero landfill policy. There is free shipping on all Lenovo products and on select IBM products. Plus, you can also recycle other manufacturer’s electronics and receive a reward for any device that can be reused.

Just follow a three-step process to enter information about your electronics. ECO will estimate a dollar reward based on the information entered and if they can reuse it. Once they receive the equipment they send you the money. Shipping is free for all Lenovo products and all products that qualify…

Lenovo W500 Thinkpad Specifications

I finally got hold of a Lenovo W500 Thinkpad. On the outside it looks very similar to a T61 but under the hood are some new and improved upon features. It’s price certainly distinguishes it from the Thinkpad pack by starting at around $1200.00 and adding available options will drive the price higher. Thinkpads are known for their quality, innovation and reliability, so any model you choose you know you're getting your money’s worth. The full features and specifications are listed on Lenovo's website.

The W500 I’m working with is a 4061-AC4 and the specs are as follows:

*Processor is an Intel Core 2 Duo P9400(2.53.GHZ)
*ATI Mobility FireGL V5700 graphics
*Switchable Graphics(see below)
*15.4 inch WUXGA(1920 X 1200) LCD widescreen display
*160GB 7200rpm SATA hard disk drive
*4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 memory
*Mini PCIe 802.11 wireless – Intel 5300
*Intel 82567 1GB ethernet

*Switchable Graphics has both an integrated Intel graphics chip and an ATI discrete graphics chip…

T60p Expansion ROM Not Initialized - Intel NIC boot issue

A Thinkpad T60p with an Intel integrated NIC boot error recently came across my desk. The T60p on boot-up would pause with the following message:

Initializing Intel(R) Boot Agent GE v1.2.31

PXE-E05: The LAN adapter's configuation is corrupted or has not been initialized. The Boot Agent cannot continue. Then after a couple of seconds would beep and display another message:

Expansion ROM not initialized - PCI on Motherboard
Bus:00, Device:00, Function:00

Press [ESC] to continue So after hitting the [ESC] key I entered the BIOS to look around at the settings. Everything was set properly but I changed the ‘Internal Network Option ROM’ setting to disabled just to see what effect it would have.
On reboot I still saw the same error message so I decided to upgrade the BIOS, but to no avail. The error was still there..

Decided it was time to search this issue on the web and see what other people were experiencing. Seems this is a fairly common problem and for some unknown reason th…

Thinkpad and Lenovo 90W Slim AC/DC Combo Adapter

Lenovo Laptop Charger
If you travel frequently with your Thinkpad you know well the aggravation and discomfort of lugging around a computer bag full of weighty items. Even if you own an ultraportable notebook the accessories that accompany it can be bulky and not easily packed.

Lenovo now offers a multi-purpose AC/DC power adapter to make life a little easier. The Thinkpad and Lenovo 90W Slim AC/DC Combo Adaptersupplies power to your Thinkpad and charges the battery at the same time. The adapter plugs into a standard AC wall outlet, an automobile power plug or an airplane in-flight power connector.

The thin slim-line adapter is easy to carry and weighs just under a pound. Included interchangeable connector tips provide 20v or 16v output and an option is available to power your notebook as well as another device such as a cell phone simultaneously.

The price for the adapter is $119.95 and includes a carry pouch, AC and DC cables and the voltage tips to power different notebooks.

The s…

Keyboard removal for the IBM/Lenovo T60, T60p

IBM T60 Thinkpad laptops are one of the great quality products put out by IBM. The keyboard can easily be removed if needed to access inside components.

These procedures describe the steps required to remove and re-install the keyboard and palm rest for T60 series Thinkpads.

- Turn off the computer and disconnect the AC adapter.
- Close the display and turn the laptop over. - Remove the battery. - Remove four screws that have a drawing of a keyboard securing the palm rest and one screw securing the keyboard.

- Turn the machine over and open the display cover. - Carefully push on the palm rest and lift it away from the computer.

- Detach the connector from the palm rest to the motherboard.
-Lift the keyboard out of the laptop paying attention to the connector cable attached to the motherboard and detach this cable.

-Reverse these steps to re-install the components.

Lenovo Thinkpad USB Portable Secure Hard Drive

Data security is an important issue in today's world and Lenovo's latest offering provides both security and portability. The Lenovo USB portable secure hard drive is a small, lightweight and easy to use data protection device.
It is available with either 160GB or 320GB hard drives, USB 2.0 and full disk 128bit encryption. It has standby, admin and user modes which are accessed through the numeric keypad on the case. The device's default mode is standby when plugged into a USB port and is also locked which means the computer does not recognize it yet. Simply enter either the admin password or one of 10 programmable user passwords to unlock the device and make it ready for use.

If the drive does get stolen and someone attempts to reset the device, all the data becomes inaccessible and is erased. Both are on the pricey side;the 160GB is $179 and the 320GB is $219; but just might be worth it for the security they provide.

ThinkPad USB Secure Hard Drive - 160GB --…

Thinkpad Movies

A nice collection of Thinkpad movies covering everything from general descriptions to detailed views of components. They serve as a nice visual guide to the location of the components and as general reference.

T40/40p, T41/41p, T42/42p, T43/43p:
Locations overview movie
Hard disk drive movie
Battery removal movie
Keyboard removal movie
Memory removal under keyboard movie
Palm rest removal movie

T60/60p, T61
Locations overview movie
Hard drive removal movie
Battery removal movie
Keyboard removal movie
Memory removal movie
Palm rest removal

IBM/Lenovo T40/40p, T41/41p, T42/42p fan assembly removal

Is your fan noisy or just fails to start anymore? These instructions guide you through the fan removal process for T4x series Thinkpads.

Remove these parts in order to remove the fan assembly.
-Remove the battery
-Remove the hard drive
-Remove the keyboard
-Remove the palm rest

With the keyboard out of the way you can see the fan assembly on the left side. It is attached with three screws holding the heat sink to the motherboard. The heat sink covers the CPU so be careful in the following steps.

-Remove the three screws holding the assembly
-Either carefully pry or gently wiggle the fan assembly until you can lift it out. It will come out at an angle since it is under the side lip of the machine. You will also need to disconnect it’s connector from the motherboard.

To reinstall the fan assembly you need to apply a small amount of thermal grease to the pad under the assembly.

Palm Rest Removal - IBM/Lenovo T40/40p, T41/41p, T42/42p

Simple instructions for removing and replacing the palm rest for T4x Thinkpads.

Remove these parts in order to remove the palm rest.
-Remove the battery
-Remove the hard drive
-Remove the keyboard

Turn the Thinkpad over. There are five screws on the lip of the machine covered by black plastic tabs. You will need to remove these tabs, I use a razor blade and then save the tabs to re-apply them. After the tabs have been removed take out the screws and take note of their size and placement. The screw on the right side is a little longer and will need to be put back in the same place. There are also several other screws to remove a little farther up on the machine. They will have a small drawing of a memory chip next to them. These screws are different sizes as well so make note of their placement.

-Turn the Thinkpad over and open the display
-Remove the touchpad connector from the motherboard
-Pull the palm rest toward you slightly and lift it up and out.

Reverse the steps to install th…

Hard Drive Testing (free tools)

Think your hard drive might be going bad?

There are many reasons you might think your Thinkpad’s hard drive is going bad. You may be experiencing bluescreens, the hard drive may be noisy, or the operating system will no longer boot. Whatever the reason, let’s go through some tests you can run on the hard drive to help determine if it is a hardware issue.

If you are unable to even boot to the hard drive we should make sure the Thinkpad sees it in the BIOS.
- Turn on the computer and press F1 to enter the BIOS
- Select ‘Startup’ from the menu and then ‘Boot’
The list should show the installed drive. If not, the computer is not recognizing the drive and you will not be able to run tests. Reseat the drive and check again to see if it has been recognized in the BIOS. If it still is not seen then this is a good indication the drive is dead. You should look at the connector pins on the drive to make sure they are all straight and not bent or otherwise damaged.

Tests to run on a dr…

Docking Causes Thinkpad to Shutdown Due To Static

Several models of Thinkpads have been reported to shut-off when inserted into a Dock, Mini Dock or Port Replicator.

Hopefully you're not having this problem yourself but here’s the information about the issue.

Thinkpads affected are the R60, T60/T61 series, and Z6x series. When the system is powered on and inserted into a dock or replicator it shuts off. I’ve seen this happen with a couple different T60 Thinkpads and sometimes the machine would reboot instead of just shutdown. It also seems to happen more in the winter, probably because there is more potential for static build up. I talked to someone who got around this problem by touching some metal to discharge himself and then inserting the Thinkpad into his dock..

Lenovo says the reason the Thinkpads power off is due to an electrostatic discharge between the system and the docking station or port replicator. Their solution is a field kit consisting of rubber caps. These caps are applied to metal prongs on the dock or replica…

T40, T41, T42,T43

Need some information on howto work on your Thinkpad?

I thought I would provide links I have come across describing the various upgrades and/or replacements you can perform on T4x series Thinkpads. These are all useful guides I hope you will find helpful.

The first place to look that covers all the information you will probably need is the IBM / Lenovo support website. Just enter your model number and go from there..

A very handy guide also from the IBM/Lenovo site is the Hardware Maintenance Manual. This manual provides detailed instructions from replacing parts to error codes..

Now for the website links I've found useful..

Thinkpad T60/T60p Tour

Want to see a nice overview of the T60/T60p? Check out the demonstration movie below giving a nice tour of all the features and options.

T60/T60p 3D Tour

This links to the Lenovo site and provides a 3D tour detailing the features of the T60 and some options. Some models run the Intel Core Duo processor and support up to 4GB PC2-5300 memory. They also contain a 1GB ethernet port and an 802.11abg Mini PCI Express wireless adapter. The hard drive options still only go up to 120GB however and the graphics controller ranges from Intel to ATI Radeon or FireGL.

UPDATE: Several T60 models I have worked on have had fan and overheating issues. The new models of the T61 have had a re-work in this area. They have a larger and more efficient re-designed fan assembly to alleviate overheating. These fans also seem to be a little more quiet as they supposedly have lowered the noise level by 3dB..

T60, T60p, T61 Memory Upgrade

These procedures describe removing and installing memory modules.

Following is the memory configuration:
T60, T60p -- PC2-5300 CL5 DDR2 667MHZ 4GB maximum 2 200-pin sockets
T61 -- PC2-5300 DDR2 667MHZ 4GB maximum 2 200-pin sockets

This model of Thinkpad has two memory slots located under the the palm rest.
- Turn off the computer and disconnect the AC adapter.
- Close the display and turn the laptop over.
- Remove the battery.
- Remove four screws that have a drawing of a memory chip.

- Turn the machine over and open the display cover.
- Carefully push on the palm rest and lift it away from the computer.

- Detach the connector from the palmrest to the motherboard.
- Install memory modules in the two slots at an angle and press down until it locks in place.

- Reverse the steps to re-install the palm rest and screws.
- Check that the machine recognizes the memory by pressi…

T40, T40p, T41, T41p, T42, T42p, T43, T43p Memory Upgrade

Need to remove,add or upgrade memory for your Thinkpad? These procedures describe removing and installing memory modules for the various type of T4x.

Following is the memory configuration:
T40, T40p -- PC2100 DDR SDRAM 266MHZ 2GB maximum. 2 200-pin sockets
T41, T41p -- PC2700 DDR SDRAM 333MHZ 2GB maximum 2 200-pin sockets
T42, T42p
T43, T43p -- PC2-4200 CL4 SDRAM 533MHZ 2GB maximum 2 200-pin sockets
This model of Thinkpad has two memory slots; one accessed on the back of the machine and the other under the keyboard.
- Turn off the computer and disconnect the AC adapter.
- Close display and turn the laptop over.
- Remove the battery.
- Loosen the screw that holds the memory cover; then remove the cover.
- The memory cover is located below the battery slot on the back of the laptop.
- Install the new memory into the socket at an angle then press downward unti…

Hard Disk Drive Upgrade/Replacement

Upgrading the Hard Disk Drive on IBM®/Lenovo® Thinkpads®

You can purchase a new hard disk drive(hdd) from an authorized reseller or from IBM/Lenovo.

Take precautions when handling a hdd. Don’t apply pressure to the cover of the drive.

Replacement Procedure:
- Turn off the computer and disconnect all cables.
- Close the display and lay the Thinkpad face down so the battery is away from you.
- Remove the battery as a precaution.
- Remove the screw on the near left side of the Thinkpad that holds a cover to the hdd compartment.

- You’ll have to open the display cover slightly to detach the cover from the hdd compartment.
- Pull the cover and the attached hdd out of the Thinkpad.
- Detach the cover from the hdd and install it on the new replacement hdd.
- Insert new hdd and cover into Thinkpad and make sure it is seated firmly.
- Reinstall the screw and battery.

IBM/Lenovo T40/T40p, T41/T41p, T42/T42p Keyboard removal

IBM T40, T41 and T42 series of Thinkpad laptops have a great keyboard. Occasionally you may want or need to remove the keyboard to access the internals. The process is simple and straight forward.

The keyboard is pretty easy to remove and re-install. You remove a few screws from the back of the machine which hold the keyboard in place. Then open the Thinkpad and take off the keyboard remembering there is a connector about mid-point on the underside that connects to the motherboard.

Step by step:

- Turn off computer and disconnect the AC adapter.
- Close display and turn laptop over.
- Remove the battery.
- Remove the screws on the back of the machine that have a small drawing of a keyboard. There are either 3 or 4 screws depending on the model.
- Open the display to remove the keyboard.
- Push forward on the keyboard so the lower end can be lifted up and out toward you; then detach the connector on the underside of the keyboard that goes to the mainboard.
- Reverse the steps to ins…

This is what we are about

For this blog I intend to relate information pertaining to IBM and Lenovo Thinkpads -mainly but not exclusively.

The information will cover upgrades and replacement of laptop memory, laptop hard disk drives, howto's on replacing the LCD panel and replacing keyboards and internal fans, etc.

I've expanded to include topics covering server installations and lab network setups. Anything hardware and software related that I think would be of interest to you.

 I've worked in the IT and Computer Support field for over 20 years. The server hardware in my computer labs has mostly been IBM, but I've supported Dell, HP and various other hardware.

As far as desktop PC's and laptops, again it is mostly IBM/Lenovo laptops which have been some of the most reliable. We also use and support Dell, Apple MacBooks, pretty much you name it we've come across.

In addition, as part of my lab administrator responsibilities, I've learned, supported and repaired/upgraded n…