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TrackPoint Press-to-Select

Every ThinkPad user knows that one can use the red little TrackPoint to move mouse cursor on screen. But do you know it can do more than that?

Go to Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, and open Mouse Properties Dialog box and then TrackPoint Properties Dialog box, tick “Enable Press-to-Select” (see the screen snapshot below). Now you can press the red little TrackPoint to see what happens. Enjoy your new way of working with ThinkPad TrackPoint!

BTW, If you don’t see the UltraNav tag in Mouse Properties Dialog box, you need to install Synaptics ThinkPad UltraNav driver.


ThinkPad leaks electricity even when powered off

When a ThinkPad is shut down, it may still consume electricity from the battery. This is because some devices are using energy even without performing their main function (normally for waking the laptop in some circumstances). This can kill the battery if the laptop is not used for a long period of time and unplugged.

To find out what devices are using energy when powered off, type the following command in Command Prompt window (cmd.exe):

powercfg /devicequery wake_armed

Then go to Windows Device Manager to stop the listed devices from waking the laptop (untick the option).

IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad BIOS Supervisor Password Removal & Reset Service

What is ThinkPad BIOS Supervisor password?

A supervisor password protects system information and configuration stored in a ThinkPad’s BIOS. The user must enter the supervisor password in order to get access to ThinkPad BIOS Setup Utility to change system settings. Lenovo said if the supervisor password is forgotten there is no way to remove or reset it. But I can help. ūüôā

How does the service work?

Send or bring in your ThinkPad (without AC, battery, hard drive) to my address in London. I will remove or reset the BIOS supervisor password and send it back to you. If the laptop has power-on password too, it will be removed or reset at the same time. For more information, please send email to:

Which ThinkPad model can you do the supervisor password removal & reset service?

It is a very long list, including but not limited to,

  • ThinkPad X60, X61, X200, X201, X220, X230
  • ThinkPad X60s, X61s, X200s, X201s
  • ThinkPad X60 Tablet, X61 Tablet, X200 Tablet, X201 Tablet, X220 Tablet, X230 Tablet
  • ThinkPad X300, X301, X1
  • ThinkPad T60, T61, T400, T410, T420, T430
  • ThinkPad T400s, T410s, T420s, T430s
  • ThinkPad T500, T510, T520, T530
  • ThinkPad T60p, T61p, W500, W510, W520, W530
  • ThinkPad R400, R500

I will not list them all here. You can send me the model of yours if in doubt.

Are you going to replace any parts of my laptop?

No. Everything inside your ThinkPad will be in its original state except the forgotten BIOS supervisor and power-on passwords, which will no longer exist.

How long does it take?

Normally I can do it in one day and return your ThinkPad on next working day. However, if I am busy or it is a difficult case, it may take up to 2 days.

What else can you do?

First, I can give your ThinkPad an inside out cleaning.

Second, I¬†can rebuild crashed or lost ThinkPad Rescue and Recovery partition with OS¬†(32bit XP, 32bit Vista, 32bit or 64-bit Win7) that matches your ThinkPad’s original Windows license. Please note all data will be wiped during this process, so back up your own data before sending the laptop! You need to send the hard drive with the laptop for this service.

Third, if you see the following¬†notice¬†every time you enter BIOS, it means your ThinkPad¬†has Computrace turned on. While Computrace can help protect your ThinkPad (click here for more information), it is completely useless after the protection subscription with Absolute expires. Then it can become annoying as your ThinkPad is still constantly monitored by a couple of remote control processes (rpcnet.exe, rpcnetp.exe) —¬†think about spywares and viruses that open a backdoor in your laptop . You cannot get rid of these processes by deleting the exe files¬†as BIOS will reload them every time you restart the machine. Flashing BIOS will not solve the problem either.¬†Again I can help.¬†However, please note that¬†I will not do it for a ThinkPad with active subscription unless you can supply a copy of “proof of purchase or ownership“, like a receipt.

These additional services take extra time and effort, so there will be a little fee. Contact me if you have any questions or want to discuss return postage options.

Genuine vs fake Lenovo ThinkPad AC Adapter

I received a message recently from a chap who¬† bought a ‘genuine’ Lenovo AC adapter from ebay but was in doubt whether the seller sent him a genuine or a fake product. I asked him to send the adapter to me to have¬†a look. It turned out that the adapter he¬†got is a counterfeit. The follows are pictures I took showing the fake adapter and four genuine adapters.¬† You may wonder ‚Äúhow can I¬†spot¬†a fake adapter?”. Well, I will give you some hints.

(Click to enlarge)

1. ThinkPad brand.
Most people knew that the ThinkPad brand was originally owned¬†by IBM. In 2005, Lenovo purchased IBM’s personal computer business and acquired the ThinkPad brand.¬†¬†To avoid losing loyal¬†IBM ThinkPad users, Lenovo kept the “IBM” logo on ThinkPad and related products in the first couple of years (2005, 2006) and then started to use ‘Lenovo’ on all ThinkPad¬†products. The ThinkPad 20V 90W (including smaller 65W) adapters were firstly introduced at the same time along with ThinkPad T60, X60 laptops released by Lenovo.¬† If you bought an old X60 or T60 laptop which comes with an adapter with the¬†IBM logo, it is probably right. But if you got an T400/T410/T420 or X200/X210/X220 laptop with an adapter which still has the IBM logo on it, that is definitely NOT right.

The first adapter on the left was purchased new recently by the chap¬†and it’s got “IBM” on it, so it is a fake. The second adapter has “IBM” logo and it was made in 2005! This is a genuine one, but I must say it is very rare. Most genuine adapters will look like the other three made in 2008, 2011 and 2011 respectively with “Lenovo” logo.

2. Bar code.
Every thinkpad adapter come with a unique bar code. The bar code has the following format:

11S + model P/N (7 combined digits and alphabets) + serial number (12 combined digits and alphabets).

So the length of the bar code is 22.  Those doggy guys who made the fake adapter obviously failed their math Рthe fake adapter normally has a shorter bar code. Please count the length of the first adapter in the enlarged picture yourself.

3. Weight
The genuine 90W adapters are made by a few factories in China. They vary slightly in weight bettween 350 and 380 grams. The fake adapters normally are much lighter and weight between 250 and 300 grams due to reduced and cheaper components inside.

4. Cable length
The length of the power cable of genuine adapter is about 180cm(6ft). The length of fake adpater cable is much shorter.

5. Velcro strap
Genuine ThinkPad 20V adapters always come with velcro straps at the power plug end.  The color of the velcro straps is grey.  Fake adapters either do not have velcro straps or have black velcro straps. Note that old IBM branded 16V adapters have black velcro straps.

You may wonder why you should bother about it given that fake adapters probably work well with your laptops. Well, you may notice a variety of logos and icons on a genuine adapter. It means this adapter has passed various tests and meets all the required safe standards. Obviously, the logos and icons on a fake adapter are fake too; therefore they means nothing in terms of safety. There are a few more drawbacks of a fake adapter. I will talk about them later.

The fake adapters are still on sell on ebay, so please open your eyes.

A step by step guide to build a ThinkPad X61/X61s with IPS screen

X6x series of ThinkPad is ideal for on-the-go users who need an ultrathin, ultralight notebook. However, all X6x laptops are officially shipped with normal TN LCD panels, which are notorious for dull cold colours, narrow viewing angles and poor contrast levels. Fortunately, there are a few models of 12.1″ XGA and SXGA+ IPS (Flexview) panels which fit ThinkPad X6x well. The following picture shows an X61 laptop with original TN panel (left) and a modified X60 (right) with IPS panel. Spot the difference! Note top left is the original sample picture.

Fig 1

Installing an IPS panel into an X6x laptop is not a straightforward task. One main problem is that the IPS panel has a completely different LCD cable/pin definition than the original LCD panel; i.e. you can not simply swap the two LCD panels. You need a convert cable which connects the original LCD cable and the IPS panel with correct cable/pin definition.

Apart from the cable problem, such a screen DIY project requires skills of disassembling laptop screen and also modifying LCD parts. It is not as easy as upgrading memory modules. Here I provide a Step-by-Step guide to help those who want to build their own X6x with IPS screen. Good luck!



Step 1: Preparation

First of all, you need a ThinkPad X6x laptop. X61 is recommended (X61 with T8300 is better and X61 with T9300 is the best), but X61s/X60/X60s are also fine. For those who have X60s/X61s, you need to found out if your thinkpad has a so-called ultralight screen. If it does, there is a little more trouble. I will come to that point and advice you later.

Now you need to find a 12.1″ IPS panel. You might be curious about what the IPS panels were originally made for, given X6x has no IPS option. Well, indeed these IPS panels were made for some ThinkPads. They are actually X6x’s siblings — X60 Tablet and X61 Tablet! However, to make things a little more complicated, not all panels in X60/X61 Tablet are IPS and not all IPS panels are suitable for the upgrade. You need to check the panel model number to identify a true IPS panel. There are three common IPS panels found in X60/X61 Tablet:

  • HV121X03-100, XGA resolution (1024×768)

  • HV121P01-100, SXGA+ resolution (1400×1050)

  • HV121P01-101, SXGA+ resolution (1400×1050)

Given these panels are made for ThinkPad tablet, obviously they cannot be used directly in any X6x. That is why we will do some modifications in Step 4 below. Also the 3rd model cannot be used for this project as it has a glass layer tightly glued on top of the panel – it is almost impossible to get rid of it without breaking/scratching the panel. You should open your eyes to the top two models only (Update: the 3rd model is also useable if you can find one without the glass layer). The best source of these panels is ebay. However, I must warn you that some dishonest sellers may send you a wrong model. Double and even triple check the model number with them before you place an order.

As explained above, you also need a special convert cable to connect the IPS panel with the LCD cable . You can either get one from my ebay shop or, if you are confidence in your soldering skills and have plenty of time, make one by yourself.

You also need a set of handy tools (knife, screw drivers and pincers). Get a tool set of good quality (certaily not something from a pound shop) to avoid turning your DIY project into a nightmare.

Although I am going to give you a detailed guide, it is always helpful to have the official Hardware Maintenance Manual to refer to sometimes.

Finally, you need hours of time, space and a cup of coffee. If you have kids, wife/husband, girlfriend/boyfriend or boring mates, do send them away by all means.

Is everything ready? Let’s rock and roll!

Step 2: Flash BIOS

This step is for those who want to upgrade to IPS screen with SXGA+ resolution. If you have an IPS screen with XGA resolution, you can safely ignore this step and jump to Step 3.

None of Lenovo’s official X6x BIOS supports SXGA+ resolution. Fortunately, a few geniuses have done an excellent job to inject the code necessary for X6x to recognise SXGA+ resolution into the BIOS. Before you start to crack the hardware, it is better to update the BIOS beforehand so that you can test the SXGA+ screen during the mod.

For some reason, I can not upload all BIOS files here. You may either look here or contact me if you need help with the BIOS update. I am not going to teach you how to flash BIOS, but here I provide some safe tips for you to avoid turning your X6x into a black brick.

  1. Before flashing BIOS, you need to make sure that the laptop has BOTH a charged battery installed and AC attached. You also need to remove any supervisor/harddrive/power on password(s) in BIOS.

  2. Flash BIOS under 32-bit Windows XP. If you don’t have XP system, I suggest you get a hard drive and install one from scratch.

  3. Close all programs (especially antivirus/antispy softwares) before you update BIOS.

  4. Update to the latest official BIOS before flashing the modified BIOS. Keep the official BIOS in the hard drive.

  5. During flashing the modified BIOS, do NOT interfere before it finishes. If something goes wrong, DO NOT shutdown/turn off power; instead, flash the official BIOS immediately if the system is still alive.

  6. Don’t be afraid of flashing non-official BIOS. But you should know what you are doing before you proceed.

Step 3: Remove the original TN panel

You can refer to the official Hardware Maintenance Manual for how to disassemble your laptop and remove the original LCD panel. Here is the order to remove the parts:

  1. Battery

  2. Keyboard

  3. Upper case (i.e. palmrest)

  4. LCD assembly (Although it is possible to do the mod without detaching the LCD assembly, it is still recommended to detach it from the base)

  5. Front LCD bezel

  6. Inverter card

  7. Bluetooth daughter card (some models may not have it)

  8. Hinges and LCD panel

Step 4: Modify the IPS panel

As I mentioned in Step 1 that IPS panels were originally made from X60/X61 Tablet, you need to take the panel out of the LCD assembly. I am not going to spend time on this topic. You can either follow the official X60/X61 Tablet Hardware Maintenance Manual or the excellent video made by Jeremy Powlus. If you already have a bare bone IPS panel, you can ignore this step and continue to Step 5. Now I suppose you have an X60/X61 tablet screen assembly in hand. We are going to modify it to let it fit in X6x.

First, we don’t need the transparent front glass (plastic?) plate with which the tablet pen comes into contact. This plate is attached to the metal LCD frame by four strips of sticky black foam. You can follow Jeremy Powlus’s video from 7:30 to remove this plate. You should be very careful not to scratch the LCD surface or bend the LCD.

Second, we don’t need the digitizer layer which is attached to the back of the LCD. Note this layer is either silver (Multitouch) or brown (Pen touch) with a small piece of circuit board on the left. You can follow Jeremy Powlus’s video from 10:30 to remove the digitizer. Note that on the top of LCD back there is another horizontal green circuit board which we will keep. You should be very careful not to press this circuit board in this step.

Third, we need to remove the 9 small ‚Äúears‚ÄĚ with screw holes on the left and right edges of the LCD. Some ears are plastic, so you can simply cut/break them off. As for the other metal ears, I suggest that you should carefully bend them towards the back of the LCD (see Fig 2). You should be very careful not to twist the metal LCD frame or damage the circuit board (which has two ears) in this step.

Now we should have an IPS panel ready to install. However, it will not fit in well because the top of the metal LCD frame is about 1mm thicker than the orginal panel’s frame (see Fig 3). If we try to install it now, there will be two gaps left between the front bezel and the screen cover on the top (see Fig 4). Besides, the screen latch may be stuck a little. We are going to deal with this issue in next step. Note this step is optional, because it is very dangerous and it is only for the purists who want to take the risk.

Fig 2: Top: original panel with 9 ears; Bottom: ears removed.

Fig 3
Fig 4

[This step is not recommended, as it may cause uneven backlight] Fourth, we will modify the metal LCD frame. The frame is clippped on the LCD, so we can peel it off. PLEASE DO IT WITH EXTREME CARE and always hold the other parts of the LCD together — without the frame, the LCD can easily fall apart! Once the frame is taken off, remove its top to make it a ‘U’ shape frame and install it back to hold the LCD. Now there is a new problem, light leaking from the top. The solution is simple: use a strip of black glue tape to cover the top edge that was originally covered by the removed metal frame. Again, you should be very careful not to damage the circuit board in this step.

Step 5: install the IPS panel (I am currently working on this section)

The orignal TN panel was held by two hinges if you remeber when disassembling the screen. However, the IPS panel does not have necessary screw holes to be held by the hinges again. Therefore, there is really no need to try to bind them together before laying them back into the LCD cover. A easy way of installing the IPS panel is

  • install the two hinges back first (screw them with the screen cover as they were, see Fig 5)
  • lay the IPS panel in between the hinges

Trust me, this way will save your life. LoL

Fig 5

Before you lay the IPS panel, you need to connect it with the original LCD cable using the convert cable. This is the trickiest step of all. However, there is also an easy way to save your life.

701cs Butterfly