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I'm not interested in spending money on Windows. I was thinking of keeping XP installed only for limited professional reasons. I'm not hell bent on keeping XP installed. Yet removing XP does not resolve the fact that Computrace is embedded in the BIOS.
I don't know whether flashing an updated BIOS will remove Computrace. I'll take a wild guess not, although I downloaded a BIOS Update CD image.
I found a blurb about deactivating Computrace in the BIOS by submitting a web request ticket, but I have no idea whether the laptop ever was previously reported stolen, reputable dealer or not. The dealer would not know either. I suppose I could return the laptop and ask the dealer to deactivate and let the dealer take the heat if so reported. Deactivating still does not remove from the BIOS.
Any Thinkpad owners out there resolve this problem?
Apparently it does in SOME instances (not the same model as you, but always possible):
So I downloaded the newest BIOS update from the Lenovo support site, flashed the BIOS, and no more Computrace! So this might work for you if you have the same problem. (Just search for "drivers and downloads" and look for a BIOS update and follow the instructions. I still have a copy of the file if you really can't find it.)
I'm not interested in spending money on Windows. I was thinking of keeping XP installed only for limited professional reasons. I'm not hell bent on keeping XP installed. Yet removing XP does not resolve the fact that Computrace is embedded in the BIOS...
If you don't allow the computer to automatically connect to the Internet, it can't call home until you make you connection, so, if you can find a copy of the Kerio Personal Firewall, version 2.1.5, you can set it up to stop anything in windows from calling home. It uses a GUI and the first time an attempt is made it gives you the option of denying or allowing and setting a rule, one way or the other, if the same request is made in the future.
Kerio is "free" for personal use. If you can't find a copy, let me know and perhaps I can bundle it up in some sort of zip file and get it to you. It is only about 2.3 megs in size, but as it is an .exe file it can't, usually, be e-mailed unless hidden in another file.
Last edited by cwizardone; 07-03-2013 at 12:32 AM.
On the laptop I have (Dell N5030) that has Computrace on it you have the option of disabling it in the bios. From what I read in the manual this is a onetime option if it had ever been enabled then you could not disable it. Now it was awhile ago I got interested in the whole thing but I remember reading that there were many complaints so they had to put this option in by law (I could be wrong but it is in my BIOS). Like you stated it only works with windows running! And, it can rewrite itself if you for example where to format your hard drive and reinstall win. Some people complained that it used resources and slowed things down in win while it was running. You should have no problems running Linux!
While reading these threads I got the impression that most of the people had obtained their laptops in questionable ways. My opinion
Interesting though is the laptop I was speaking of belongs to my sister-in-law she had bought it from TV shopping network Q** (you all can figure out which one). The HD crashed so I took it out to run some test/tools from my computer (worked, managed to repair it at least long enough to get data off of it), something was fishy so I asked her if she had ever sent it in for repairs she stated that she had not. It was missing screws and at close inspection I found a RMA sticker on it. I believe they sold her a used laptop that had been repaired as a new one. Something to think about, a little upsetting but on the other hand it does work and I guess it is burnt in so to speak.
I have a copy from many years ago. Life as a pack rat.
May be able to disable Computrace in the BIOS
From what I have read, no, not possible once activated. That said, I believe this laptop is running the original BIOS from 2009 (2.07). The Lenovo site has version 3.24, which I downloaded. Possibly, if local deactivation is now possible, the newer BIOS will support that. My great concern with flashing such an old BIOS with a much newer version is bricking the device when I don't have a copy of the older BIOS. Seems there are workarounds, but they all require Windows.
As I wrote, not running Windows solves the phone home problem but does not remove the rootkit from the BIOS. The more I read the more I believe that is not possible. What likely is possible is editing the NVRAM to reset the BIOS so the rootkit is not permanently activated.
I can wipe XP from the drive, but as this is my first laptop, I kind of want to keep XP on the disk for a while because so much information on the web for this laptop is geared toward that. Down the road after I learn my way around the device I can wipe XP. Until then my only option is to ensure the networking services are always disabled in XP. I could create a grub boot CD to access Windows and then not list Windows in the boot loader options on the hard drive.
Apparently this "approved" rootkit is installed on the majority of laptops. Let the conspiracy theorists loose!
A Lenovo T400 has been my primary workstation for the past 4 years (apart from the desktop computer which I share with the rest of the family and which runs Windows during daytime).
I do not think it is an "old" laptop at all. I run Slackware64-current on it all the time using KDE as my desktop environment, and let NetworkManager manage my roaming connections (wireless mainly, wired only when I try another install of slackware from scratch).
I love this laptop. The Intel graphics drivers work perfectly, no need for proprietary stuff here, like when you have a Nvidia or Ati card.
I deleted everything that looked like Windows or service partitions from it - you won't need it. Luckily my employer lets me run an internally tailored version of Linux on it (it is a dualboot machine, RHEL6 during work hours, Slackware in my free time).
Thanks Eric. I don't consider the laptop old either. Because the device will not be a primary computer, I was looking for a used or refurbished laptop, especially as this would be my first, and one that is well seasoned with Linux support (not bleeding edge stuff). I bought the T400 after verifying Linux compatibility. During that research I discovered good video support, as you mentioned.
* What version BIOS are you running?
* Do you have any wiki how-tos for the T400? Or general Slackware related laptop usage, such as configuring suspend and networkmanager?
Only setback thus far is discovering the battery module is poop. Battery power lasts only about 5 minutes.