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The ThinkLight is a little LED light integrated into the top edge of the display frame in the A, R, T, X, Z and i Series ThinkPad models. It illuminates the ThinkPad's keyboard so that one can type in the dark without using an external light source. The ThinkLight can be controlled via the FnPageUp key combination or via ACPI on some of the newer models. The LED is amber on some models (e.g. X30s, X40s), and white on others (e.g. T40s). Note that the ThinkLight is not available on the G series ThinkPads, nor on the X41 Tablet.

Linux Support

Controlling the ThinkLight with the keyboard works on all systems since it relies on the BIOS exclusively. Just press FnPageUp to toggle its state between on and off.

Software Control via ibm-acpi

Support for controlling the light with ACPI is provided by ibm-acpi. After installing it, a simple

# echo on > /proc/acpi/ibm/light

switches it on and a

# echo off > /proc/acpi/ibm/light

switches it off again.

This allows one to control the light in scripts. Unfortunately, no known ThinkPad comes with a light sensor (yet). ;)


  • gaim-thinklight: If you are using GAIM, the gaim-thinklight plugin will enable you to use the ThinkLight as an indicator for new messages. This depends on ibm-acpi.
  • gaim-lighthink: gaim-lightthink is an alternative to gaim-thinklight.
  • pidgin-blinklight:pidgin-blinklight is a replacement for gaim-lighthink intended for use with Pidgin.
  • rocklight: rocklight is a xmms visualization plugin that makes the ThinkLight flash to the beat of your music. The package also includes a standalone stroboscope mode program.
  • thinkblinkd:[1] Thinkblinkd is a python daemon to control the thinklight (and possibly other lights on your Thinkpad) it comes with the daemon and a control script.
  • The script for theft alarm using HDAPS optionally flashes the ThinkLight when the alarm is armed (disabled by default, to enable set $use_light=1).
  • kopete-thinklight:[2] This plugin for kopete will enable the usage of the thinklight as notifiaction for new messages.
  • stupid little hack to blink the ThinkLight: [3] A little C program that may be set SUID so that you can use it from non-privileged programs that needs to do a little notification.
  • thinkalert: [4] Another C program that may be set SUID to allow non-privileged programs to manipulate the ThinkLight. Adds some features over the "stupid little hack to blink the ThinkLight" program.

Windows support

Likewise, controlling the ThinkLight with the keyboard works without any additional software. The Hotkey Features software from IBM/Lenovo adds OSD icons that appear when the light is turned on/off.

Software control via Hotkey Features

The Hotkey Features software exposes an interface that allows (among other things) to control the ThinkLight. See Python script for Windows to control ThinkPad features for more information.

Models featuring this Technology