Ramblings from another nerd on the grid
If you decide to flatten your Lenovo ThinkPad T400 or W500 and install another operating system, the good news is that all of the core drivers are on the Lenovo Support Downloads and Drivers area. I installed two different operating systems to check this out. Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64 and Windows Vista Enterprise x64.
I did not install each and every software component you would normally see from Lenovo if you bought directly from them. For instance, I do not install the Keyboard customizer or the Productivity Center.
Usually for the server installs, I am perfectly happy installing the Ethernet driver, wireless, video drivers and a few other things and moving on. Demonstrating Hyper-V doesn’t require all the fancy custom software. However, the T400 and W500 require a little more work than my ThinkPad T61p.
The ThinkPad T400 and W500 can be ordered with “switchable” graphics. The only way to make the switch is to install the Power Management Utility. Since this utility uses the .NET frameworks, care must be taken to install the Lenovo drivers and software in the correct order, or at least you need to make sure all of the prerequisites are installed unless you want to see the Power Management utility appcrash. Since Windows Server 2008 does not have those prereqs installed by default, you will need to do that. It’s covered in a couple of minutes in the instructions below.
Instructions for Installation
The Windows Vista Enterprise x64 driver installs were much more straightforward. I installed all of the drivers including the built-in webcam drivers and tested that with Office Communicator 2007.
If you plan to use Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V with the ThinkPad T400, be sure to download the RTW version then add the role. I installed Hyper-V, created a 64bit Windows Server 2008 Enterprise virtual machine and tested external networking across the T400 Ethernet card. I didn’t spot any problems.
The only driver I have not figured out on Windows Vista x64 is the “PCI Simple Communications Controller”. I did a quick check on the internet and it appears I am not alone. After digging around it appears to be resolved by installing the Intel AMT drivers.
The process of installing Windows Server 2008 on the Lenovo ThinkPad W500 should be nearly identical except for the drivers you download and install might be slightly different. I will be running through the process again and will post any significant errata I spot. I already know you need to do the same thing with the Ethernet drivers, power management, etc.
Next up, installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop… wish me luck. Grin.
[UPDATE for 10/19] FYI, the SUSE install did not go well on the T400. I had to switch the SATA chipset from AHCI to Compatibility for the install to use the DVD drive. The install didn’t recognize the wired, wireless, or video chipsets. I really don’t have time to track down the kernel patches.
Instead of spending time on Linux, I decided to spend the time to test the Verizon EVDO chipset and see if the cell connectivity works with both Windows Vista and Window Server 2008 Enterprise x64. It does. Make sure you run 7xwc16ww.exe and unpack everything to c:\drivers\C:\DRIVERS\WIN\WWANQL. After that, be sure to run C:\DRIVERS\WIN\WWANQL\Driver\setup.exe and C:\DRIVERS\WIN\WWANQL\Firmware\setup.exe. Once you have those drivers in place, you can download the Verizon VZAccess Manager from http://vzam.net and install it.
One other thing, for those of you wanting to install on a ThinkPad W500, the instructions above work. The only driver difference I spotted was for the integrated webcam.
I was looking for some info to see if the T400 or the W500 will support Hyper-V and your article answered my question. Plus, there's very useful installation info which will help me heaps when I have to re-install with Windows Server 2008.
Thanks for this article.
It was very useful for me as I was trying to install the Ethernet Card drivers.
By the way, did the fingerprint reader program work on your Windows 2008 server install?
It keeps crashing on my T400 after the login
Thanks for the detailed instructions, Keith. Do you know of any compatibility /installation problems while installing Win 2008 Server 64_nbit under similar high-end laptops - namely Dell Precision Mobile M6400, or Dell Dimension XPS 1730 or eeven the ThinkPad W700 mobile? It's hard to even get correct information on the hardware compatibility of the graphics adapters for these laptops. Website www.WindowsServerCatalog.com gives a very small number of compatible hardware for Win 2008 Server (32-bit/64 Bit)
Okay, first I love this machine. I have another 320 gig hard drive installed in the multi bay and i can boot either Vista Ultimate off the first hard drive or Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V off the second hard drive (through the BIOS). Thanks for your blog as it helped my get the Windows Server 2008 up and running. By the way, just about everything works under Server and I find myself more and more in the Windows Server 2008 OS and less in the Vista install.