Problem with non-ThinkPad hard disks

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Problem Description

When replacing the system disk with one that is not a ThinkPad option designed for the specific model, the BIOS will display an "Error 2010" warning during every boot. The system may still boot successfully, but may be unreliable or slow.

Additionally, the following ATA commands are implemented by ThinkPad-branded drives but are not supported by most other laptop drives:

Affected Models

The "Error 2010" issue exists only on the following models:

Missing ATA commands affect all ThinkPad models which normally offer these features.


The error is displayed when the system drive is not one of the few approved disks listed inside the BIOS, and may indicate a real problem. These systems have a SATA disk controller, and employ a SATA-to-PATA bridge in order to use PATA (IDE) drives. It is rumored that this bridge requires changes in the drive firmware, and the BIOS checks for this adapted firmware. If bridge is bypassed while using SATA, device will likewise be tested against whitelist.

Recent BIOSs provide the option to disable the need to press Esc after the message (for ThinkPad T43 models 26xx, BIOS version 1.24 or higher).

There are no such issues for disks used in the UltraBay Slim 2nd Hard Drive Adapter.


Use unofficial modified BIOS

On Nov 21, 2010 was released unofficial modified BIOS which removes '2010 ERROR' from POST when the machine boot-up with non-approved HDD - an HDD without proper IBM/Lenovo firmware. This modified BIOS is identical to the official IBM/Lenovo BIOS but the '2010' error message, 2x beep and delay is removed out. Discussion about this modified BIOS can be found on Thinkpads forum site here or on MDL forum here. Here are direct download links (saved by the Internet Archive) for each BIOSes. Please select correct BIOS according to your system type!

ThinkPad T43/T43p - Machines only: 2668, 2669, 2678, 2679, 2686, 2687. Version: 1.29. Errors removed: 1802, 2010. Download

ThinkPad T43 - Machines only: 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876. Version: 1.29. Errors removed: 1802, 2010. Download

ThinkPad R52 - Machines only: 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1958. Version: 1.29. Errors removed: 1802, 2010. Download

ThinkPad R52 - Machines only: 1846, 1847, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1870, 1957. Version: 1.29. Errors removed: 1802, 2010. Download

ThinkPad X41 - Version: 2.09. Errors removed: 1802, 2010. Download

ThinkPad X41 Tablet - Version: 2.06. Errors removed: 1802, 2010. Download

When you are doing an BIOS upgrade in your ThinkPad, be sure that your battery is fully charged and properly attached. AC adapter must also be attached into the ThinkPad and ThinkPad must signalize a power! Unexpected shutdown during the BIOS upgrade process may permanently damage your laptop!

Disable the message

A recent BIOS for your machine may provide the option to disable need to press Esc after the message (under Startup -> Boot after message for Hard drive...). However, the delay and beeps are still enforced. Note that the error message could indicate a real problem, which will not be resolved by disabling the message.

Use dedicated ThinkPad option parts

Use a ThinkPad-branded option drive listed as designed for your specific ThinkPad Model.

Upgrade the drive firmware

IBM provides firmware upgrades (old, new) for some of its option drives to make them compatible with the affected ThinkPad models. The upgrades are available only for certain drive models, and may work only when the drive is sold as an IBM options (see below). Most drives do not have such upgrades, and some manufacturers have refused to adapt their firmware to the limitations of ThinkPad systems.

Unfortunately, not all firmware revisions will work even if the model is listed on the IBM firmware upgrade page. There is a (not so easy) workaround if you have such a drive, but be aware that your drive HAS TO BE one of the listed models. See the Example of an update on a drive with unsupported firmware.

Drives that work out of the box

  • Seagate ST9120821A (120GB 5400RPM)
  • Seagate Momentus 7200.1 ST980825A (80GB 7200RPM) on T43 with BIOS 1.23
  • Seagate Momentus 7200.1 ST910021A (100GB 7200RPM) (one user reports success, another reports failure; see here too).
  • Seagate Momentus 5400.3 ST9160821A (160GB 5400RPM) with firmware 3.ALE on T43 and R52 with BIOS 1.29 and EC 1.06. The infamous 2010-error comes up during bootup, but the drive works fine and hdapsd can issue unload immediate to the drive.
  • Fujitsu MHV2040AH (040GB 5400RPM) this is the default disk for T43s
  • Fujitsu MHV2060AH (060GB 5400RPM)
  • Fujitsu MHV2100AH (100GB 5400RPM) on T43 with BIOS 1.23
  • Fujitsu MHV2120AH (120GB 5400RPM) on T43 with BIOS 1.27 and R52 with BIOS 1.29

For a list of drives that provide the UNLOAD IMMEDIATE feature needed for HDAPS (whether or not they trigger the 2010 error), see Problem with APS harddisk parking.

Even drives with identical part numbers may carry firmware with different compatibility status, so do not blindly rely on this list.

Drives that will work after a firmware update

Note that Windows is necessary for the firmware update, but may not boot before the firmware update is applied. Therefore a second machine or an Ultrabay HDD adapter may be required for the update.

  • Fujitsu MHT2080AH (80GB 5400RPM), using this firmware update
  • Hitachi 5K100 and 7K100 drives using this instructions. This has been verified and seems to work correctly on all drives if applied in the right way.
  • Hitachi Travelstar HTS726060M9AT00 (Lenovo version), using this firmware CD: MIGR-62282

This picture is showing two identical drives, one docked into the ultrabay (not updated) and the other one in the primary slot showing up with the IBM ("I") and not the OEM firmware. Updated drive.jpg

Drives which produce an error and are not known to have working firmware

  • Hitachi DJSA-220
  • Hitachi HTS726060M9AT00 (non-Lenovo version)
  • Seagate ST9100823A (100GB 5400RPM)
  • Seagate Momentus 7200.1 ST910021A (100GB 7200RPM) (one user reports success, another reports failure).
  • Seagate Momentus 5400.3 ST9120822A (120GB 5400RPM)
  • Samsung HM160JC (5400RPM 160GB M80)
  • Samsung HM160HC (5400RPM 160GB)
  • Western Digital WD3200BEVE (5400RPM 320GB)

The following drives have firmware updates, but the firmware update software has been reported to refuse updates for no obvious reason:

  • Hitachi HTS548080M9AT00 (80GB 5400RPM)
  • Hitachi HTS541080G9AT00
  • Toshiba MK4019GAX (40GB 5400RPM)
  • Toshiba MK1032GAX (100GB 5400RPM)

It has been reported that for Hitachi drives, firmware update is possible only with drives manufactured for IBM. Other Hitachi drives may use PROM instead of EPROM for the firmware and thus cannot be updated.

Use an Ultrabay adapter

You can use most PATA drives through an Ultrabay Slim HDD Adapter (or the equivalent for your system or docking station). This can be a convenient configuration to use the second HD as a data drive. Another useful configuration is having the second drive bootable to a different OS, since it insulates you from many, though not necessarily all dual boot problems related to multiple OSs on the same physical volume. Most modern BIOS provides a boot manager function ahead of any OS load, so the "alternate" OS need not even know that another OS is present. In the case of the T43, installing the second OS onto a drive in the 2nd HDD Adapter is problematic since that bay is where the CDROM/DVDROM normally sits, so some extraordinary procedure is needed. This might be from a bootable USB-connected CDROM/DVDROM or a network source if your OS supports it; it may also be possible to mount the CDROM/DVDROM in a dock and do the install from there. Be careful of OS installations or disk management functions that attempt to write identification information to the disk that isn't theirs.

BIOS downgrade

Tell IT systems is claiming that a BIOS downgrade to v1.01 will solve the problem, and provide instructions (which, incidentally, copy portions of this page in violation of copyright). The instructions are specific to certain ThinkPad R52 and T43-1xxx models. A similar report is made here. This procedure is not recommended. It requires downgrading to an ancient BIOS version, which may have adverse effects. Also, while the old BIOS version may not include the code to generate the warning, the underlying problem will probably still exist. See the discussion page.