Installing Windows 8 on an old X61s ThinkPad

[11 Nov 2012: added Bluetooth support]
[25 Feb 2013: Add warning against installing the newer ThinkPad Hotkey Features Integration driver for Win8]

Windows 8 installed fine on my old ThinkPad X61s and runs nicely and fast (the little old thing has an SSD though :-)).

Upgrade

First I did an upgrade install by selecting “Keep Windows settings, personal files and applications”.

  • I enabled Bluetooth before starting the upgrade because I read somewhere that it could not be  enabled in Win8 otherwise.
  • Win8 Setup asked to delete some incompatible applications (nothing I currently need), including MS Security Essentials.
  • Most of these applications could be uninstalled from within Win8 Setup by simply clicking a button.
  • A few I had to manually uninstall using “Programs and Features”.
  • Because I could not find a way to uninstall “Lenovo Auto Scroll Utility”, I uninstalled the ThinkPad TrackPoint driver. That stopped Win8 Setup complaining and it installed.
  • I had to manually install my EFS certificates.
  • I deleted the windows.old backup using the “Free up disk space…” to free disk space.

After these steps everything worked fine including the Fn keys. Only the battery manager reported to be not compatible

Refresh

Experimenting with Win8 I successfully did a Refresh:

  • Refresh took quite long (1+ h, hanging at 5% for about 30 min).
  • It removed all desktop application like Office, VS, SQL Sever, …
    And placed a RemovedApps.html file on the desktop.
  • It removed all ThinkPad specific drivers.
  • After deleting the windows.old backup using the “Free up disk space…” App (selection System files) there was a lot of free disk space.
  • After Refresh the X61 worked fine,
    including the TrackPoint and its buttons, the speaker buttons and the wireless switch.
  • Device Manager showed the device “Video Controller” not working.
    And connecting external monitors or beamers  via Win+P was not supported.
  • I installed Intel Chipset Support for Windows 8.
  • After this Window Update installed the chipset drivers.
  • Device Manager “search automatically” now found a driver for the Video Controller.
    Win+P now offers to connect external displays.
  • Bluetooth did not work yet.
    Because I wanted to use a ThinkPad laser mouse without an extra Bluetooth dongle I decided to get Bluetooth working. Because Lenovo did not offer Win8 hotkey drivers I installed the X61s Hotkey Features Integration for Windows 7.
    I set the compatibility of the setup.exe to Win7 and deselected the Lenovo Auto Scroll Utility” because Win8 reported compatibility issues with this. Win8 automatically installed Bluetooth with enhanced Data Rate. With FN+F5 working now I can enable Bluetooth my laser mouse works fine.

Issues

  • Win+”.” to split the Start Screen does not work.
    This is by Win8 design because of the low 1024 screen resolution of the X61s.
  • Installing the newer ThinkPad Hotkey Features Integration driver for Win8  3.84.1500 which was offered by Lenovo System Update did disable the hardware WiFi switch. I to revert to the older Win7 driver mentioned above by restoring to an older restore point using system restore.

About Peter Meinl

IT Consultant
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24 Responses to Installing Windows 8 on an old X61s ThinkPad

  1. Tom says:

    Hello Peter,

    Can you confirm your processor type on your x61s please? Is it L7500 ?

    Windows 8 Upgrade assistant has made me sort of doubtful about L7500 being supported by Win 8.

    Thanks
    Tom

  2. Peter Meinl says:

    Yes, definitely a X61s with Core 2 Duo L7500.
    The only thing not supported is Hyper-V and thus the Windows Phone SDK Emulator because these require the special hardware visualization SLAT. VMWare runs fine on Win8 on the X61s.

  3. adilson santos says:

    Hi Peter!

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I also installed Windows 8 on my X61s.
    I noticed something strange: My CPU is a C2Duo L7500, wich regular frequency is 1.6GHz.
    When I configure energy plan for HIGH performance, the CPU frequency goes to 1.8GHz (I checked this using CPU-Z software). I never overclocked this laptop, so there is no chance it could be an old configuration.

    Have you experienced something like this? Could you check on your laptop?

    PS: it have been 3 weeks since I installed windows 8 and I already experienced 3 BSOD. I suspect the wrong CPU frequency is the problem.

    • adilson santos says:

      Workaround:
      1. Enter energy plan advanced configuration
      2. find Processor Energy Management
      3. On submenus, change all 100% to 99% (don’t change the other ones that are configured for other values, like 5%).
      4. Repeat steps 1,2,3 for all energy plans you have

      It worked fine for me, now CPU does not reach 1.8GHz anymore, it stops at 1.6GHz as expected.
      Also the CPU temperature went down to 55(iddle)-70(full use) degrees Celsius. It still high, but considerable lower than before (60-75 degrees).

    • adilson santos says:

      So, i finally found out I was completely wrong😦

      Here are Intel L7500 Specs:
      http://www.cpu-world.com/sspec/SL/SLA3R.html
      It says it runs at 1.8GHz on IDA mode.

      There is a feature called IDA:
      Intel Dynamic Acceleration technology (IDA) is a feature that boosts CPU performance when the CPU is running single-threaded applications. This is achieved by temporary increasing frequency of one CPU core when another CPU core is idle, i.e. when the second CPU core is in Deep Sleep or lower power state. How much the frequency is increased depends on front-side bus speed of the CPU:
      533 MHz FSB – by 133 MHz
      800 MHz FSB – by 200 MHz
      1066 MHz FSB – by 133 or 266 MHz
      This feature was introduced in Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile microprocessor family and is applicable only to dual-core CPUs. Quad-core processors incorporate Dual Dynamic Acceleration feature, which works similar to IDA. Newer Intel microprocessors based on Nehalem core utilize improved version of IDA called Turbo Boost Technology.
      http://www.cpu-world.com/Glossary/D/Dynamic_Acceleration_technology.html

      So, I revert all my energy plans to default states and now I’m running it without being afraid😉

  4. Ernest says:

    Hello Peter

    When running Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant Report I got the message that my Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU L7500 @ 1.60GHz “doesn’t have NX turned on or might not support NX”.
    Can I just ignore this?

  5. Pingback: ThinkPad X6xシリーズ(X60 X60s X61 X61s) | 最速ノートPC激安情報

  6. Alphonse says:

    Hi Peter,
    could you please post the version no. of the Microsoft driver that got installed automatically? I tried doing the same, but ended up with a Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family (WDDM 1.1) driver v. 8.15.10.2697 that won’t even complete the Windows Experience Index check.

    Did I do something wrong, or did Microsoft just change the driver in the meantime?
    /alphonse

    • Peter Meinl says:

      I have the exact same display driver version.
      Did you run “Device Manager, select root node, action, scan for hardware changes” and force Windows Update to search for updates?

  7. Alphonse says:

    Actually I got the drivers directly through Windows Update during my initial update run. Just tried removing them and doing as you suggested, but the result is the same. Have previously tried contacting both Intel and Microsoft and neither of them have any solution to offer. Strange…

    • Peter Meinl says:

      If Windows Experience Index not running is your only problem and everything else works I would not worry. Had this problem with a Win7 machine and it just disappeared after a while.

  8. alphonse says:

    No other problems apart from the WEi. Will follow your advice and just give it a shot! Thnaks for the swift/friendly reply!

  9. Asher says:

    I’m facing the PCI and SMBus issues! Did yours work fine? D:
    Please reply ASAP.

    • Peter Meinl says:

      No issues here.
      Did you install Intel Chipset Support for Windows 8 as I described in my post and run “Device Manager, select root node, action, scan for hardware changes” and force Windows Update to search for updates?

  10. Pingback: My Windows 8.1 upgrade and usage experiences | Peter Meinl: Software Development Tips

  11. adilson santos says:

    For those who have installed Windows 8 and bluetooth was not recognized because it wasn’t enabled when you started the procedure: you do not need reinstalling windows 8. Just download Linux Ubuntu, create a bootable CD/DVD or Flash Drive, boot your laptop using it, choose option “try Ubuntu” (do not install, just try), then after Ubuntu have started, check if the bluetooth was recognized (do not forget to check if bluetooth is enabled on BIOS before doing this). If it was, restart the laptop. Boot on Windows 8 this time, and then the bluetooth will be recognized. I supose any other bootable SO that runs on a CD/DVD or Flash Drive and recognizes bluetooth in order to enable it will work. Linux Ubuntu is just an example.

  12. Martha says:

    This is great! I’ll try on my X61s. Thanks.

  13. Comma says:

    Great blog, like yourself I rejuvenated an x60 and x61 both tablets with SSD’s and 4GB of RAM happily crafting preferred alternatives to a MS SurfacePro since I wanted more USB ports.

    BUT… The TrackPoint device, the root mouse function of the integrated ThinkPad peg malfunctions after a handful of reboots and doesn’t seem to last more than five restarts before disappearing again.

    In devmgmt.msc, it is the “PS/2 TrackPoint” HardwareID ACPI\IBM3780 which I managed to find a Microsoft Update Catalog Driver:
    http://download.windowsupdate.com/msdownload/update/driver/drvs/2011/06/20047472_374bd7c5b705b532084310b7285f62606df48740.cab
    And listed at MS Catalog:
    https://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/Search.aspx?q=IBM3780

    I’m unsure if I managed to get the “latest” Lenovo Win7 or even Windows 95 version of a durable driver.

    I’m not even talking about the TrackPad utility, that new tab in control panel for managing the center button since the recurring failing peg precludes me from even modifying the center button despite my increased lingering middle finger pointed directly at both ThinkPads.

    Using what I believe is typically drivers of “last resort” from the MS Update Catalog, I’m left exhausted in the belief I’ve tried all reasonable drivers if I can trouble you for your TrackPoint driver version or any backstory on on how and where you found your TrackPoint driver and any other sotware beyond the chipSet to make yours work.

    The final option for myself is flinging the recalcitrant tablet into oncoming traffic, wasteful I know but immensely satisfying based on my prior experiences resolving the final option for Sony Vaio’s.

    Thanks in advance for any experiences or pointers on how to make the TrackPoint driver work longer than two days and five reboots.

    • Peter Meinl says:

      My TrackPoint X61s worked fine with the Windows drivers even after many reboots.
      I did install “Intel Chipset Support for Windows 8” (see my post for the link) to ensure Win8 recognizes all devices a specific as possible
      and then did
      – run Window Update and
      – Device Manager “search automatically”
      which installed some driver updates

  14. S Ann says:

    I have an X61s in perfect condition and I must say these are the perfect laptops for travel. I’m giving it to my daughter to use and will install Windows 7 64 bit on it.

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