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Showing posts from January, 2009

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

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 install the keyboard and re-tighten the screws on the back of the machine.

As always refer to the hardware maintenance manual if you need more detailed information about the process.


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…