ThinkPad Button

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Accessibm.png

The ThinkPad Button is a button situated in the upper left corner of the keyboard on modern ThinkPads. It is intended to be a means of quick access to help and support. Technically it is nothing else than a button that can be configured to launch a certain piece of software. While originally it was grey and labelled ThinkPad, IBM later made it blue and called it the Access IBM Button. Lenovo relabelled it as ThinkVantage after it took over the ThinkPad line from IBM.

System Boot

Pressing Access IBM or ThinkVantage at system boot can launch the Predesktop Area. This depends on a specific setting of the BIOS Setup Utility and on the availability of either a Hidden Protected Area or a Rescue and Recovery partition. See the linked pages for details.

Linux support

Using tpb

Under Linux, the IBM ThinkPad(tm) special keys can be enabled using tpb.

I.e., to make pressing the Access IBM Button launch ntpctl, add the following line /etc/tpbrc file:

THINKPAD    /usr/bin/X11/xterm -T ntpctl -e ntpctl

To make pressing the Access IBM Button launch the ThinkWiki homepage in Firefox, add the following line:

THINKPAD    /usr/bin/firefox http://www.thinkwiki.org

See the tpb page and the ThinkPad special keys HOWTO for more information.

Using KDE

KDE supports assigning actions to (some) ThinkPad special keys, through the ThinkPad buttons KMilo plugin.

It can be activated and configured in the KDE Control Center (kcontrol), under System Administration --> IBM Thinkpad Laptop.

Windows support (2000 or XP)

If you want to customize the program that is launched when the ThinkPad, Access IBM or ThinkVantage button is pressed while the machine is running Windows (2000 or XP) you can change the following registry entry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IBM\TPHOTKEY\8001

Here are the default values for the original IBM version:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IBM\TPHOTKEY\8001]
"File"="C:\\Program Files\\IBM\\Access IBM\\aibm.exe"
"DispName"="Access IBM"

And these are the default values for the Lenovo version:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IBM\TPHOTKEY\8001]
"File"="C:\\PROGRA~1\\THINKV~1\\PrdCtr\\LPL1.exe"

Related Links

Models featuring this Technology

"ThinkPad" button

"Access IBM" button

"ThinkVantage" button