Installing Ubuntu 11.04 on a ThinkPad W520

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Out-of-the-box Stats

Component Status
Optimus Unsupported - See the Bumblebee project
Intel Graphics (Integrated) Works out-of-box
Nvidia Graphics (Discrete) Requires drivers, updated kernel.
ultranav scrolling Requires tweaks - See below
Fingerprint Reader Requires tweaks -See below
ACPI - Suspend to Disk (Hibernate) Untested
Webcam Works out-of-box
Harddrive Active Protection Untested
VGA out Untested
DisplayPort out Untested
eSata Untested
Firewire Untested
Modem Untested
Wireless - Thinkpad Untested
Wireless - Intel Advanced N Untested
Wireless - Intel Ultimate N Works out-of-box
Audio in Works out-of-box
Audio out Works out-of-box
Wired LAN Works out-of-box
Thinkvantage Button Keypress recognized, but no corresponding action
Wireless killswitch Works out-of-box
Trackpoint Works out-of-box
Trackpad Works out-of-box
Trackpad scrolling (side or two-finger) Works out-of-box
Sound card Works out-of-box
Volume up/down/mute buttons Works out-of-box
Microphone mute button Keypress recognized, but no corresponding action
Microphone Requires tweaks - see below.
Optical drive Works out-of-box
USB 2 ports Untested
USB 3 ports Untested
Expresscard Untested
ACPI - Lid Open/Close Works out-of-box
ACPI - Suspend to RAM Works out-of-box
SD/MMC Memory card reader Untested
FN-F2 (Lock) Works out-of-box
FN-F3 (Battery) Works out-of-box
FN-F4 (Sleep) Works out-of-box
FN-F5 (Wireless Power Cycle) Works out-of-box
FN-F6 (Conferencing) Untested
FN-F7 (Display) Untested
FN-F8 (Mouse) Untested
FN-F12 (Hibernate) Untested
FN-Home/End (Brightness) Works out-of-box
FN-PgUp (Thinklight) Works out-of-box
FN-PrtSc (SysRq) Untested
FN-ScrLk (Numlock) Untested
FN-Pause (Break) Untested
FN-Space (Zoom) Untested
FN-Up (Stop) Untested
FN-Down (Play-pause) Untested
FN-Left (Previous) Untested
FN-Right (Next) Untested


Normal CD installation works fine. However, if Optimus is enabled, it may require a hard reboot upon completion.


  • Kernel 2.6.38-8 is the shipping kernel with Ubuntu 11.04. It is buggy. For example, a common issue is to see kworker constantly hit 20% cpu when running top.
  • Upgrade to a newer kernel by going to [1] and downloading the headers, image, and _all files for your type of machine. Install them (you can just double-click in the UI if you don't know the commands). Reboot.


  • BIOS
    • The OS Detect option does not work. If enabled, it will present Optimus to Ubuntu.
    • If graphics are set to Optimus, Ubuntu will default to using Intel graphics.
    • If graphics are set to Discrete, Ubuntu will default to using Nvidia. If dual-booting windows, this will cause problems with the default lenovo system image - possible (untested) fix is to manually reinstall nvidia drivers in windows.
    • If graphics are set to Integrated, Ubuntu will default to using Intel graphics.
  • The current kernel provided by Ubuntu conflicts with the Nvidia driver. Until Ubuntu upgrades to a newer kernel, you must manually install one.

Ultranav (Middle Mouse Button) Scrolling

  • run the command "sudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-thinkpad.conf"
  • paste this into the file
Section "InputClass"
	Identifier	"Trackpoint Wheel Emulation"
	MatchProduct	"TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint|DualPoint Stick|Synaptics Inc. Composite TouchPad / TrackPoint|ThinkPad USB Keyboard with TrackPoint"
	MatchDevicePath	"/dev/input/event*"
	Option		"EmulateWheel"		"true"
	Option		"EmulateWheelButton"	"2"
	Option		"Emulate3Buttons"	"false"
	Option		"XAxisMapping"		"6 7"
	Option		"YAxisMapping"		"4 5"
	Option		"ButtonMapping"		"1 1 3 4 5"
  • Restart X (logout and back in)
  • If you want to disable horizontal scrolling, remove the line
	Option		"XAxisMapping"		"6 7"
  • The above also disables middle button pasting and makes the middle button act the same as the left button. If you wish to enable it, remove the line
	Option		"ButtonMapping"		"1 1 3 4 5"

Harddrive Active Protection

Fingerprint Reader

Microphone Mute Button

Microphone Recording Volume