ThinkPad Button

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The Access IBM 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.

On earlier models this button is labelled "ThinkPad", Lenovo relabelled it again as "ThinkVantage" in the newest models.

System Boot

Pressing the Access IBM Button at system boot can either launch the Predesktop Area (HPA) or the Rescue and Recovery partition. This depends on a specific setting of the BIOS Setup Utility and the availability of either a Host Protected Area or a bootable diagnostics partition. See the linked pages for details.

Linux support

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, add the following line:

THINKPAD    /usr/bin/firefox

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

Windows support (2000 or XP)

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


Here are the default values:

"File"="C:\\Program Files\\IBM\\Access IBM\\\\aibm.exe"
"DispName"="Access IBM"

Related Links

Models featuring this Technology