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Old 07-02-2013, 11:33 AM   #1
Woodsman
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Help with Thinkpad T400


I purchased a refurbished T400. This is my first laptop ever. Yes, that's true!

As a first time laptop user, I'm a tad lost, slowly working my way around the web looking for help and how-tos. I found the ThinkWiki site but haven't started investigating.

The laptop has XP preinstalled. Not really important but I might need that someday for professional reasons.

My main desire for the laptop is a web surfing machine, to sit in the comfort of the living room or outside in the screened back deck during summer. Likely as I get comfortable with the laptop I'll find other uses but for now that is my only focus. My primary machine will remain my office system.

The hard disk is 160G. Both XP and a PartedMagic CD show a 149G partition. For a web surfing system that is sufficient size. I plan to shrink the XP partition and then install Slackware 14.0. I defragged XP, but otherwise I really don't know my way around XP. Not that I need help or care with XP, as I want to get Slackware working.

The laptop model is a Type 6475 and does not seem to have a fingerprint reader or built-in webcam. Display is Intel, 1280x800. The PartedMagic CD did not have problems booting. 2G of RAM.

I appreciate links/comments to any related help:

* From what I gather there is no user manual per se. As I never used a laptop, I could use help finding a punch list or something similar that explains how to use all of the various laptop keyboard options.

* I read a few blurbs about some kind of special Thinkpad partition as well as an XP recovery partition. Gparted only shows one 149G partition. As the laptop is refurbished, perhaps those partitions no longer exist?

* I'm a long-time legacy grub user and plan to use that with the laptop. Anything special I need to know so I don't erase any Thinkpad or Windows related data?

* I plan to use both wired and wireless. I need how-tos or threads about toggling between wired and wireless.

* I'm clueless about configuring various power saving features, even something as simple as closing the lid.

Thank you!
 
Old 07-02-2013, 11:46 AM   #2
rokytnji
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Quote:
I'm a long-time legacy grub user
Antix 13.1 still uses grub legacy and is available in 64bit and 32 bit iso format. It is setup for using Debain wheezy, testing, or unstable, as your repos during the install process, your choice of course, (gui installer) . Full Iso is what I would go with since this is your first computer. 32bit iso I would go with also since you have 2 gig of ram.

Video for install

Wifi video

Dropbox video


Customize Desktop video


We are a friendly small group of linux users that teach new users of Linux how to run AntiX.

Edit: OOOOPs. Having just scanned you. I guess you don't need no coaching. I interpreted first laptop ever as first computer ever. Excuse me, My bad.

Happy Trails, Rok

Last edited by rokytnji; 07-02-2013 at 11:52 AM.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 12:05 PM   #3
Woodsman
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Thanks for the links, but I'm not interested in Antix.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 12:11 PM   #4
kikinovak
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Why not give this a spin? Works great on older laptops.

http://www.microlinux.fr/slackware/MLED-14.0-32bit/

Here's the HOWTO that goes with it.

http://www.microlinux.fr/slackware/M...bit/README.txt

Simply activate NetworkManager, and you'll be switching transparently between wired and wireless.

Cheers,

Niki
 
Old 07-02-2013, 12:15 PM   #5
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
I purchased a refurbished T400. This is my first laptop ever. Yes, that's true!

As a first time laptop user, I'm a tad lost, slowly working my way around the web looking for help and how-tos. I found the ThinkWiki site but haven't started investigating.

The laptop has XP preinstalled. Not really important but I might need that someday for professional reasons.

My main desire for the laptop is a web surfing machine, to sit in the comfort of the living room or outside in the screened back deck during summer. Likely as I get comfortable with the laptop I'll find other uses but for now that is my only focus. My primary machine will remain my office system.

The hard disk is 160G. Both XP and a PartedMagic CD show a 149G partition. For a web surfing system that is sufficient size. I plan to shrink the XP partition and then install Slackware 14.0. I defragged XP, but otherwise I really don't know my way around XP. Not that I need help or care with XP, as I want to get Slackware working.

The laptop model is a Type 6475 and does not seem to have a fingerprint reader or built-in webcam. Display is Intel, 1280x800. The PartedMagic CD did not have problems booting. 2G of RAM.

I appreciate links/comments to any related help:

* From what I gather there is no user manual per se. As I never used a laptop, I could use help finding a punch list or something similar that explains how to use all of the various laptop keyboard options.
Not familiar with those laptops, but the "special" keys should be accessible through a FN button that's USUALLY beside the Left Super/Win-key.

Quote:
* I read a few blurbs about some kind of special Thinkpad partition as well as an XP recovery partition. Gparted only shows one 149G partition. As the laptop is refurbished, perhaps those partitions no longer exist?
From what you've posted, correct, the recovery partition doesn't exist. Which IMO is no big deal, with XP about to be utterly unsupported, I'd completely ditch it anyway. That's how I'd personally deal with it though, if you want to keep it around, you've got enough space to do so.

Quote:
* I'm a long-time legacy grub user and plan to use that with the laptop. Anything special I need to know so I don't erase any Thinkpad or Windows related data?
If you're familiar with grub, then shouldn't be any major issues. Slack can use GRUB if you'd prefer, but of course defaults to LILO. While different ways of achieving it, if you're comfortable in classic GRUB, you'll be able to understand LILO without too much issue. Just read a quick howto on LILO to understand the basic differences.

Quote:
* I plan to use both wired and wireless. I need how-tos or threads about toggling between wired and wireless.
IMO, install WICD from extra. Fantastic, easy to use, network management that will let you effortlessly switch between wireless networks and wired networks.

Quote:
* I'm clueless about configuring various power saving features, even something as simple as closing the lid.

Thank you!
KDE has a graphical interface that you can configure those things. Mostly, the defaults are fine, my only issue is I don't like using power saving when plugged in, so I change that, and I don't like the default for when power button is pressed is to go to sleep, I prefer it to shutdown. But easy to configure in KDE's GUI (assuming your sticking with KDE in Slackware, of course).
 
Old 07-02-2013, 12:27 PM   #6
TracyTiger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
I purchased a refurbished T400. This is my first laptop ever. Yes, that's true!

I appreciate links/comments to any related help:
Referring to laptops in general, not the T400 specifically ...

Many laptops have cooling vents on the bottom. It's best not to cover these cooling vents by placing the laptop on fabric such as towels which may block the vents.

Quote:
* From what I gather there is no user manual per se. As I never used a laptop, I could use help finding a punch list or something similar that explains how to use all of the various laptop keyboard options.
Some of the laptop functions are labelled with a different color, such as blue. This will often be the color of the function key letting you know that you need to use the function key as a "shift" key to get that function to work. For example, making the screen brighter or dimmer.

Quote:
* I'm a long-time legacy grub user and plan to use that with the laptop. Anything special I need to know so I don't erase any Thinkpad or Windows related data?
I often remove replace the hard disk drive to install Slack and set the original drive with MS Windows aside. This keeps the original setup unspoiled. This option does require the purchase of the second drive however. It's easy to replace the drive on most laptops by opening a panel on the bottom or a drawer on the side. Other laptops however require the removal of the keyboard to get at the disk drive.

Quote:
* I plan to use both wired and wireless. I need how-tos or threads about toggling between wired and wireless.
Some laptops have a physical switch around the edge (usually the front edge) to turn on wireless. Others have a button at the top of the keyboard. Others use a function key combination with a regular keyboard key to turn on and off wireless. Other laptops don't have any physical switch or key regarding wireless operation.

Quote:
* I'm clueless about configuring various power saving features, even something as simple as closing the lid.
Beware of closing the lid and thinking the computer is off when instead it's merely in low power mode. If you put it into a case it's still generating heat which can cause problems. It may also "turn back on" and produce substantially more heat while in the closed case. Not good. You may also close the cover and think it's hibernating or suspended when actually only the screen has gone blank so the laptop is still generating heat. I personally don't put a laptop in a "sealed" environment unless it's powered off or I have confidence it's hibernating (powered off).

Again, this is just about laptops in general not your model.

Last edited by TracyTiger; 07-02-2013 at 12:50 PM. Reason: typo
 
Old 07-02-2013, 12:52 PM   #7
rokytnji
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Understood.

Maybe you can use these

Service Manual


Another PDF doc


http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/deta...cID=MIGR-70193

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php..._ThinkPad_T400
 
Old 07-02-2013, 03:32 PM   #8
Woodsman
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Quote:
Why not give this a spin? Works great on older laptops.
I wish I had more time to play with things like this.

I admire what you have done with your project. Yet I am lazily happy and content with Trinity. Although I don't provide packages, I remain active with the Trinity project. A while ago I tried quite hard to give KDE4 a go, but the number of "paper cuts" eventually ended my effort. I'm not real fond of the Xfce and GTK way of doing things. About once a year I give Xfce a go for a couple of days but I get frustrated. That said, I'd like to see somebody do with Trinity what you have done with MLED. I mean that as a compliment to what you have done with MLED. Probaby a candidate for slackbuilds.org.

That said, MLED still provides nominal temptation because for now all I want is a web surfing machine.

Quote:
Simply activate NetworkManager, and you'll be switching transparently between wired and wireless.
Quote:
IMO, install WICD from extra.
So the general approach is don't start networking with the rc.d scripts, but start networking after starting the desktop?

Quote:
Many laptops have cooling vents on the bottom. It's best not to cover these cooling vents by placing the laptop on fabric such as towels which may block the vents.
Thanks. Looks to me like the vents on the T400 are on the sides and not the bottom. The machine is very quiet, but of course, thus far I've only ran the device a couple of times in XP. I'm still building a check list of things to do after installing Slackware. Regardless, I should eventually be able to get the same quiet results in Slackware.

Quote:
Some laptops have a physical switch around the edge (usually the front edge) to turn on wireless. Others have a button at the top of the keyboard. Others use a function key combination with a regular keyboard key to turn on and off wireless. Other laptops don't have any physical switch or key regarding wireless operation.
A switch would be a convenient way to toggle wireless, along with something in my rc.local to detect the difference to start networking in the mode I prefer. As I have not yet looked for something that tells me how to use the various function keys, the little blue symbols on the function keys indicate that what you describe might be possible.

I wonder whether the laptop BIOS can set a preference order for enabling wireless?

Do I understand correctly that wireless uses more battery energy than wired?

Quote:
Beware of closing the lid and thinking the computer is off when instead it's merely in low power mode.
Noted. I think all I want is the ability to save battery energy when I walk away from the laptop.

Quote:
Maybe you can use these
Those might help. I bookmarked the Arch wiki page.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 05:43 PM   #9
TommyC7
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Quote:
Woodsman:
So the general approach is don't start networking with the rc.d scripts, but start networking after starting the desktop?
It's much easier to use wicd or NetworkManager since those will easily pick up new access points more easily than manually digging through iwconfig or what-not. On my laptop I personally do not travel to too many different places, so I just added more values in /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf (e.g. IFNAME[1]="wlan0" ... IFNAME[2]="wlan0" ... etc.) and have each AP's authentication method in /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf. But again, I don't travel to too many different places but if I was more mobile I would probably just use wicd.

Also, if I recall correctly the rc.networkmanager and/or rc.wicd scripts are started in rc.M.

Quote:
I'm clueless about configuring various power saving features, even something as simple as closing the lid.
There are some gui programs that can control this for you (someone mentioned some KDE thing). You can also control this with acpid.

One change I've made to my /etc/acpi/acpi_handler.sh is this:
Code:
[snip]...
    case "$2" in
      power) /usr/sbin/pm-hibernate
         ;;
       	lid) /usr/sbin/pm-suspend
	 ;;
...[/snip]
I made pressing the power button once run /usr/sbin/pm-hibernate so it just hibernates my laptop. Closing the lid will suspend my laptop. This is all of course assuming that acpid is running.

There's also a pretty good example in `man acpid':
Code:
EXAMPLE
       This example will shut down your system if you press the power button.

       Create a file named /etc/acpi/events/power that contains the following:

              event=button/power
              action=/etc/acpi/power.sh "%e"

       Then create a file named /etc/acpi/power.sh that contains  the  follow‐
       ing:

              /sbin/shutdown -h now "Power button pressed"

       Now,  when acpid is running, a press of the power button will cause the
       rule   in   /etc/acpi/events/power   to   trigger   the    script    in
       /etc/acpi/power.sh.  The script will then shut down the system.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 07-02-2013, 07:59 PM   #10
Woodsman
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Quote:
It's much easier to use wicd or NetworkManager since those will easily pick up new access points more easily than manually digging through iwconfig or what-not.
I see (in rc.M) that NM is run during the boot process.

For now I only intend to use the laptop in my home. I want to use both wired and wireless, in that order. That is, when wired is available (cable connected) then use that otherwise use wireless. Does NM intelligently handle whether to connect to wired or wireless?

I don't want to wait until I start the desktop to establish a network connection. In my rc.local I run various scripts, some of which sync with my primary machine to keep various system and data files in sync.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 08:18 PM   #11
TommyC7
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In the short time I worked with NetworkManager it did intelligently handle whether to use wired or wireless by first using the wired connection (unless manually told otherwise).

This was awhile ago and I have no idea how the newer NetworkManager's handle things, but I would assume functionality like that wouldn't change (just a guess, though).
 
Old 07-02-2013, 08:25 PM   #12
Woodsman
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Quote:
In the short time I worked with NetworkManager it did intelligently handle whether to use wired or wireless by first using the wired connection (unless manually told otherwise).
Great!

Now to figure out how to deactivate Computrace. Maybe that only works when using Windows? I detest the idea of anything "phoning home" even when the intentions are noble.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 08:45 PM   #13
Timothy Miller
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It is a windows installed software, but it works with the Intel security hardware on a laptop. So...it may not "phone home" in Linux, but if activated and tracked, it might very well still track something. I'm not familiar enough with exactly how it works with the hardware to determine beyond the shadow of a doubt. My inclination is once Windows is gone, it'll stop though.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 09:36 PM   #14
Woodsman
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Computrace is installed in the BIOS. Basically a rootkit. With respecting to Windows, the service cannot be deleted as the BIOS rootkit reinstalls the necessary files. Granted, the rootkit can't do that in a Linux based system and that effectively stops the crap. As far as I can tell, Computrace requires a subscription to actually track the computer and any user like me who configures their Linux system as the default in the boot loader will never see the software. I haven't read enough yet to learn how the software in the BIOS actually works. I don't know whether the laptop has to be booted into Windows to actually track. My guess is that even if a person does not have a subscription, that in Windows once the service is running there is GPS data being sent. A network sniffer would show for sure.

Seems a lot of laptop vendors install this sh-t. I haven't found any way to remove the rootkit. I have found suggestions to flash the BIOS with a newer version but have seen reports that does not always work.

I was leaning toward keeping XP insalled, for professional reasons, but if I can't remove Computrace then I might wipe the entire hard drive. Doesn't resolve the fact the software remains in the BIOS.

I am unable to deactive Computrace in the BIOS, which means a previous owner registered the service and had a subscription. Although I bought the laptop from a reputable dealer, theoretically the previous owner could report the laptop as stolen. Like I really need jack booted thugs breaking down my door at 3AM, shooting first and maybe (not), asking questions later.

Last edited by Woodsman; 07-02-2013 at 10:34 PM.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 10:34 PM   #15
Timothy Miller
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I would start with a newer bios. At the VERY least, it may fix issues with other things that you haven't noticed.

Honestly, if you can't get a newer version of Windows for it, I'd just get rid of it entirely. XP at this point is really nothing but a security headache unless it's NEVER put online. It only gets CRITICAL security patches, not routine security patches, and even that is only for like another 7 months or something. Just too outdated IMO.

With a bit of googling, SUPPOSEDLY, you can do this to get rid of it permanently:

Quote:
You need to contact Absolute Software. They will ask for some sort of proof-of-purchase along with the machine serial number and the motherboard serial number from the BIOS. They will then contact their registered owner. (the guy who originally bought computrace) Assuming it is not stolen, they will flag the machine for deletion in their database. The next time you connect to the internet, a miracle will occur and it will be gone.
Don't know the validity of that information myself, but thought it MIGHT be useful.

Last edited by Timothy Miller; 07-02-2013 at 10:40 PM.
 
  


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