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Introduction and Disclaimer
Well, another day, another laptop... Toshiba Sat Pro 4300, IBM ThinkPad R40, Lenovo ThinkPad T43, and now a Lenovo T61. The excuse this time is that I needed a 64-bit capable processor to test device driver compilation. The dual-core CPU, fast(er) memory, large hard drive, and dual-layer DVD burner are nice bonuses.
This write-up comes a little late. By now lots of folks have described *nix installs on the T61 and catalogued what works and what doesn't. I don't expect to add a lot to the discussion but will forge ahead out of force of habit. I had an entertaining time installing Solaris and Linux along-side Windows XP in a multi-boot configuration. The real fun was figuring out how to do so without breaking the hidden Lenovo rescue and recovery partition. I mostly succeeded at that, but in the end decided that for my purposes, a fully-XP installation with several unixen running as VMWare virtual machines was the way to go. Since I can't plug my hardware devices into a laptop anyway, there was no real need to run directly on the iron.
Keeping the configuration essentially stock makes it easy to preserve the rescue and recovery utility partition as a bootable option, and allows doing full backups of everything (including the *nix virtual machines) using the provided Lenovo tools.
I also had an interesting time figuring how to run an iso image of Knoppix as a bootable CD in a VMWare virtual machine that had no installed operating system. Kind of weird, but useful when remastering Knoppix with no actual unix partition available.
Along the way I swapped the hard drive for a 200G 7200RPM unit and tested 2 different drives against the stock drive. I also pulled one of the 1G memory sticks and replaced it with a 2G stick - for a total of 3GB.
Like the R40 and T43, the T61 has a hidden area of the drive contains the full XP install/recovery image and a set of utilities. With the T61, it is an actual partition that seems to be FAT32, with an ID of 12 that means something like "Compaq service partition" and isn't visible from within Windows Explorer. Like the earlier macines, no recovery CDs are shipped with the unit. Unlike the R40, IBM will not ship free recovery CDs on request. Instead, the user can make a set of recovery CDs or DVDs by using the installed recovery utility. You should do so immediately on receiving the new machine. The factory recovery image takes (in my case, anyway) one CD and one single-layer DVD. Start with the CD. That will hold the recovery utilities. The DVD will hold the actual image, as nearly as I can tell.
Start->ThinkVantage->Create Recovery Media (Recovery Disks)
You only get to do this once. Some kind of silly MS licensing thing. Not to say you can't copy the resulting media - and you should. You will get to do it again if you upgrade the rescue and recovery software at some point.
My multi-boot experimentation almost immediately made the recovery partition unbootable via the ThinkVantage button. At least I had the recovery media, so I could put the machine back to factory stock after each attempt.
Do not take any of this as guaranteed fact. I hope the little bit of information I provide here will prove helpful, but I take absolutely no responsibility for any misfortune which may befall you or your laptop. Please do your own homework before making any irreversible modifications to your computer.
I welcome comments, additions, and corrections (please!). You can reach me at williamDOTwaddingtonATbeezmoDOTcom
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