May 8

Installing Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) on a Lenovo R61

*** UPDATE 2008/11/28 ***

See a more complete review of Ubuntu 8.10 on this Lenovo R61 here


General Hardware Specifications of Lenovo R61

Hardware Components Status under Linux Additional notes
Intel Dual Core T7100 1.8Ghz Ok  
15.4 in 1280×800 LCD Ok Default resolution properly set.
Intel X3100 Ok No proprietary drivers available.I installed compiz manager and activated some nice desktop effects like desktop cube. Works perfectly.
2GB RAM Ok  
120GB Hard Drive Ok  
Integrated Network Card Ok  
Intel Pro Wireless 3945ABG Ok Beware to turn on the hardware switch BEFORE booting Ubuntu and if the card has been disabled within Windows, enable it before switching to Ubuntu.Note: The signal indicator on the display panel is is always off even if wireless is working/active.  Regarding this, this blog post has more information about it.After installation, I tried to setup my home network, but the network manager was not displaying SSIDs available in my area. A reboot didn’t help. I tried configuring by providing my SSID manually but still didn’t work. I realized that I disabled the card from my dual-booted Windows installation. So I rebooted into Windows, enabled the card, the re-rebooted into Ubuntu and to my surprise network was working (is it luck??).

*** UPDATE 2008/10/27 ***

I am using this laptop with Ubuntu on and on since the release of 8.04, keeping it up to date and I hadn’t much issues with Wireless.  It worked as expected when moving from one network to the other.  In Windows, I keep enabling/disabling the Wi-Fi depending on my needs.  No matter its state in Windows, when I boot Ubuntu it is enabled (as expected).  So changing it’s state in Windows does not impact the Ubuntu installation as it first seemed to appear before…

Internal 56k Modem I don’t know I never tried the modem
CD-RW/DVD-RW Reading:Ok
I’ve been able to read DVD/CDs, but I haven’t tried burning CDs or DVDs with it.
6 cells Lithium-Ion Battery Ok  
Integrated sound card Ok  
Mouse button Ok  
Mouse trackpad Ok
  • Mouse navigation: ok
  • Tap for click: ok
  • Tap twice for double-click: ok
  • Vertical scrolling: ok
  • Horizontal scrolling: not working (or not configured by default)
  • Drag’n drop: not working (or not configured by default)
PC Speaker Ok Note: You can easily disable PC Speaker beeps using System/Preferences/Sound in “System beep” tab.

Special Keyboard Keys

Key Status Additional notes
Volume Up / Down Ok  
Mute Not working  
Power button I don’t know  
Navigation Back/Forward Not working The browser navigation buttons near the arrow keys.
Fn + Light On / Off Ok There is a little light in the display panel that can be turned on to see the keyboad when using at night.
Fn + Brigthness Up / Down Ok  
Fn + Zoom Not working  
Fn + CRT/LCD I don’t know  
Fn + Sleep Ok  
Fn + NumLock Ok  
Fn + Scroll Lock I don’t know  
Fn + SysRq I don’t know  
Fn + Wireless (on/off) Partially It worked to turn wireless off, but I never succeed to bring the signal back until I did a sleep/unsleep of the system.

Installation Steps

The installation steps are the same that I used when I installed Ubuntu 7.10 on my Inspiron 8600

see additional configuration and conclusion on following page >>

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5 Comments so far

  1. MariK August 17th, 2008 8:08 am

    I’ve got latptop that is very similar to yours. My question is about processor. It is well known that core 2 duo is 64 bit architecture. So what distribution are you using: amd64 or 386. I’ve tried to install amd64 but I’ve met some problems like instability of ntfs-3g driver end X-server with evdev enabled. I wonder if the problems are due to bad support of core 2 duo in amd64 edition of Ubuntu. What do you think about it? Thank you in advance :-))

  2. Pascal August 17th, 2008 2:25 pm


    Since this laptop is for the job, I took no risks and installed the 32bits edition of Ubuntu. From what I read throughout the Internet is 64bits is not mature and stable (for the desktop) as 32bits.

    Also from what I’ve heard, unless you are pushing the machine hard, you shouldn’t perceive much difference in performance between 32 and 64 bits, in day-to-day work.

    With this edition, I had some glitches (especially when I was trying some heavy desktop effects) but with the lastest updates I feel it rock solid even when running Ubuntu Server JeOS under VMWare Server…


  3. kmh1 October 2nd, 2008 6:50 am

    What about the internal mic?

  4. Pascal October 3rd, 2008 7:20 am

    I do not use it very often (most of the time I am using Wireless), so far the internal NIC is working properly.

  5. hello February 9th, 2009 2:44 pm

    In The Name Of God

    Have tried any DVB card on R61?
    If yes i’ll be thankfull if you let me know whether it works fine ?and what is it’s brand/mark ?

    regards dehqan

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