Installation instructions for the ThinkPad X61

From ThinkWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

External sources

There are informative Ubuntu forum threads on Feisty and Gutsy for the X61.

A very detailed report on the X61 under Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon is here. The report was written describing Tribe 5, the last prerelease, but describes the release version of Gutsy Gibbon equally well.

There is also fairly complex instalation HOWTO for openSUSE 10.3 here on ThinkWiki.

link title

Problems and solutions

X61 won't boot from the CD-ROM/DVD drive (Solved)

Follow these instructions to enable your optical drive:

  1. Reboot your X61. Press the ThinkVantage button quickly when you see the ThinkPad screen and then press F1 to enter BIOS.
  2. In BIOS, select Configure -> Serial ATA.
  3. Now, select Compatibility instead of AHCI.
  4. Exit BIOS and start your computer normally.

Do this only when booting does not work. This is not always necessary!

Suspend/Resume doesn't work out of the box (Solved)

Under GNOME, you may find that Suspend/Resume doesn't work out of the box. Fn-F4 does suspend and lid open does resume, but the backlight is off after resume.

To fix this, do the following:

  1. In the file /boot/grub/menu.lst, find the line beginning with "# kopt=". This is where grub sets the options for your kernel. Append to this line the following: " acpi_sleep=s3_bios". (That is, these words should be preceded by a space separating them from the existing options. Do not remove the initial "#" from the line.)
  1. Run the command update-grub as root.

This fix is needed under Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn), but is not needed under later versions (Gibbon, Hardy, Ibex). It seems likely the difference is due to the GNOME upgrade.

In general the the backlight problem can be solved by suspending with

s2ram -f -a 1

or using vbetool to restore your video state. for hibernate-scripts put into /etc/hibernate/ram.conf

TryMethod sysfs-ram.conf
EnableVbetool yes
VbetoolPost yes

Please see also this link for adding the s2ram to your acpi scripts.

Sound doesn't work (Solved)

Sound won't work under the stock ALSA 1.0.14 shipped with Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, but will in later versions including the patched 1.0.14 shipped with Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon.

Your speakers default to being muted. To fix this, run alsamixer in a terminal window; right-arrow over until the Speaker column is visible, and press the "m" key to toggle it from mute ("MM") to on ("OO").

You may have to go to System->Preferences->Sound->Devices and select PCM to enable your Volume button to work.

The mute button always mutes rather than toggling; you have to undo it by hitting the volume-up button.

Known Issues under Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04

  1. Sound doesn't work under Feisty, but does under Gutsy/Hardy/Ibex.
  2. Wireless doesn't work under Feisty, but does under Gutsy/Hardy. It breaks again under Ibex. No fix yet.
  3. 2D graphics works fine, but there is no 3D acceleration yet. (3D acceleration works in Hardy/Ibex)
  4. Fingerprint reader doesn't work yet.

Immediate Resume after Suspend

If your X61 starts to resume a few seconds after you suspended it to RAM, then you might need to unload the USB modules uhci_hcd and ehci_hcd before going to sleep.

For hibernate-scripts you can put this in /etc/hibernate/common.conf

UnloadModules uhci_hcd ehci_hcd

USB ports on right side don't work

Can be fixed with a firmware update (from Lenovo); or using irqfixup.

See this thread on ubuntuforums.

BIOS/firmware upgrade difficult without UltraBase

BIOS upgrades are available from Lenovo online in the form of a bootable CD image. However, USB CD-ROM drivers are not included on the disk, such that external CD-ROM drives will not work with the BIOS upgrade. Due to the lack of internal CD-ROM drive in the X61 series of laptops, this makes upgrading the BIOS difficult without a 32-bit version of Windows (for which there is an executable BIOS upgrade program).

A CD-ROM drive in a Thinkpad UltraBase will be able to boot Lenovo's unmodified ISO and upgrade the BIOS/firmware. Failing this, it is possible to upgrade the X61 BIOS using a bootable USB stick, as per the instructions detailed here.


If bluetooth is disabled, just hit Fn-F5.

Other (non-)problems

The stock drive in the X61 of October 2007 appears not to have the click-of-death issue noted on some other ThinkPads. Note, this could potentially change if Lenovo changes drive suppliers.

The X61 is apparently very similar to a T61 internally. You may be able to find helpful tips in the installation instructions for the Installation instructions for the Thinkpad T61 for problems that are not solved here.

Multiple monitors

To clone the screen, just plug in a second monitor and hit Fn-F7.

See: Xorg RandR 1.2 and Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 for more details on setting up two monitors.

To keep compiz effects, the largest Virtual screen size you can have currently is 2024 x 2024 (combined size of both monitors). This is apparently a software limitation, and may be extended in future. See Xorg RandR 1.2 for details.

You can change screen setup settings with these GUI apps:

  • gnome-display-properties (called "Screen Resolution" in System | Preferences menu)
  • grandr (not installed by default. try the command line tool xrandr if grandr doesn't do what you want.)
  • gksu displayconfig-gtk (Warning: displayconfig-gtk may mess with your xorg.conf in a bad way. Keep a backup and/or avoid this program!)