Installing OPENSUSE 10.3 on a ThinkPad T61p

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Experiences installing OpenSUSE 10.3 x86_64 on a T61 as a dual boot system with Windows Vista.

Partitioning and boot loader

OpenSUSE suggested to shrink the windows partition to 60GB which was fine since I spend most of mytime in OpenSUSE. However, the linux partitions needed some changes from what was proposed as a default (everything under an extended partition) to ensure dual boot. After the windows partition, I chose:

  • A primary partition of 100MB (Ext3) as /boot (check that "set partition to active" is flagged) to install GRUB
  • An extended partition for the rest:
    • Partition for /
    • Partition for /home

For GRUB, I chose to install to /boot and kept the default choices.

Graphics card

OpenSUSE 10.3 recognizes the Nvidia Quadro FX 570M card, but this gives a somewhat false feeling of safety. The installation of OpenSUSE completed without a glitch. At the end of the installation, OpenSUSE directs you to the graphical login screenm which resulted in a blank screen.

Pressing ctrl-alt-backspace gets you out of the X11 server and shows a nice prompt. After spending some time searching for the problem I came up with the following: Check in the BIOS that under Display, the display to boot is set to "Thinkpad LCD" (mine was set to Analog(VGA) which tries to use an eternal screen). Afterwards I ran xorgconfig chosing the generic Nvidia driver.

Next I installed the Nvidia driver available from the Nvidia website.


Download the latest alsa packages: alsa, alsa-utils, also-tools. At the time of this writing these were the 1.0.16 versions. Next run alsaconf.