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Xubuntu on a Thinkpad 240x

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Which was no mean feat, believe me :-)

carbonkid says:

evil peecee

8th Nov 2006, 01:57

Euphro says:

It may have IBM/Intel hardware (don't Macs have Intel processors these days), but at least it isn't running Windows :)

8th Nov 2006, 02:18

540air says:

Wow, well done for getting it to work E.

My attempts to resurrect my old laptop failed miserably, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be :)

8th Nov 2006, 10:44

Euphro says:

Thanks for the kind words :) It's like a new machine and one about four times faster.

Sorry to hear that your attempt was not successful. Where did it stumble?

8th Nov 2006, 11:04

shaaaaark says:

When you see a more vintage window manager these days, it really does go to show how far we've come with KDE and GNOME...

8th Nov 2006, 15:55

Euphro says:

Yes, but they are a bit "fat" for the systems I'm recovering. Xubuntu does nearly everything I need and makes this 300 MHz celeron machine feel as nippy as my 2.8 GHz desktop running Windows XP on a gig of RAM :)

8th Nov 2006, 17:25

540air says:

I think the stumble most likely came a year or so back when I tipped tea over it :)

I managed to get it to start almost to the point of running 98, but had to leave my desk for a few mins. When I came back it had switched off. I tried turning it on again but with each attempt the "alive" time was less and less.

Firing it up from the cd Kubuntu just made it switch off even faster, so I have no idea whether I can make it work.

Any clues?

8th Nov 2006, 17:27

Euphro says:

It sounds like something is overheating and tripping some sort of safe mode. What brand of laptop is it?

8th Nov 2006, 17:30

540air says:

Toshiba Satellite Pro 4300.

It's about 5 years old I think roughly.

8th Nov 2006, 17:47

Euphro says:

I suggest you take it apart :D

I'm sending you something to your gmail account that will help you in your mission, should you choose to accept it :)

8th Nov 2006, 21:00

540air says:

I think I might make it my pet project. That way if I can get it working, we can have more than one machine here at home which would save on the amount of time we all spend waiting for our turn :D

And thanks E, the help is much appreciated.

8th Nov 2006, 21:27

Euphro says:

My pleasure. I'm very happy to help and I now feel I have a small stake in the project succeeding :)

8th Nov 2006, 22:40

540air says:

If it succeeds I shall buy you a rather large beer or 7 ;)

8th Nov 2006, 23:33

Euphro says:

Good luck! Funnily enough the facilitator at the brainstormiing session I was at today had a Satellite Pro 4300 :)

9th Nov 2006, 23:31

540air says:

Haha, there's hope for mine yet then. I'm hoping to pull it apart over the weekend :)

10th Nov 2006, 15:52

shaaaaark says:


Brainstorming session?

Do you have a huddle zone as well? The workforce at Asda in Chelmsford does. :-)

12th Nov 2006, 18:19

Euphro says:

We didn't have a "huddle zone", but we do have to do these sorts of things quite regularly, even in science managment :D

12th Nov 2006, 20:01

lookysee(guest-dot-etc-at-googlemail-dot-com) says:

Hi there,

I just came across your blog, and was curious how the scrolling in firefox, etc was on your thinkpad 240, running xubuntu. I ask, because I myself have just installed it on my TP240. And, I'm glad it works, would like to make tweak it a little bit more. This being my first Linux install doesnt help.


8th Apr 2007, 01:46

Euphro (NLI) says:

As far as I can see everything works fine. I'm just about to upgrade to 7.04 (Feisty Fawn), i.e. tonight, which I hope will fix a video stuttering issue :)

20th Apr 2007, 16:37

Nandish says:


There are a fair few ppl strugling to get Xubuntu onto 240's - any chance of an idiots guide?


30th Apr 2007, 09:57

Euphro says:

You will need access to a laptop with a bootable CD-ROM drive in addition to your TP 240x and you will need to be happy with installation and removal of laptop hard drives.

The reason for this is that there is no way that I have found of booting a Thinkpad from a USB CD-ROM.

The first thing you need to do is remove your TP 240x hard disk and install it in the laptop with the bootable CD-ROM.

Then, make sure that the laptop with your TP 240x hard drive is set to boot from CD-ROM and insert the alternate install CD-ROM for Xubuntu.

Boot-up the laptop and follow the installation instructions to the point where you are prompted to reboot, at which point you should shut-down and transfer the partially set-up hard drive back to your Thinkpad 240X and continue from there.

When installation completes, the X subsystem will fail to launch, i.e. there will be no graphical user interface/windows display manager and you will see a terminal-session screen with some boot-related text but no cursor prompt.

When this happens type control-alt-F1 (which aborts the failed X session and gives you a cursor prompt) and login using the username and password that you created during the installation steps on the other laptop.

Then "sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg" and follow the instructions. You can accept the defaults for everything until you get to the graphics subsystem.

Your adapter will be correctly detected, but not the Thinkpad display.

Select "advanced"

For horizontal sync you need to enter: 31.5-37.9

For vertical refresh you need: 58-72

For default bit depth you need to choose 16.

Click OK when dpkg asks you if you want to write your configuration changes.

Then you need to reboot your system, at which point everything will work, in my experience :)

30th Apr 2007, 12:18

Nandish says:

Thanks!! Did 7.04 fix your video issues?

30th Apr 2007, 17:44

Euphro says:

You are welcome, and, yes, it does seem to have :)

30th Apr 2007, 17:56

Mikey(chinesefury-at-gmail-dot-com) says:

Hello - as a fellow 240X owner I have a few questions for you.

What size HDD are you using?

How much memory / ram do you have installed?

After installing Xubuntu, can you now access / use the cd-rom via usb ext'l drive? I ask because in WinXp you can not as far as I have found so far.

Thx in advance

10th Jun 2007, 04:48

Euphro says:

Hi, I've just installed Xubuntu 7.04 on a 60 GB HDD, although the 240X came with a 10 GB drive (that's now in my Satellite 4030 CDT).

I've got 192 MB of RAM installed: the soldered in 64 MB plus a 128 MB module (apparently, you can install more if you can find one of the PNY 256 MB PC100 DIMMs with 16 memory chips, although you need to remove the soldered-on RAM first).

Ubuntu does not overcome the BIOS limitation that you can't boot from USB; however, you can access external USB drives once the system has booted into Xubuntu. For installation, you have to physically remove the hard drive from the 240x and begin Xubuntu installation in another laptop with a bootable CD-ROM as I outlined above. Good luck :)

11th Jun 2007, 00:02

Sambo says:

Thanks for your instructions. I managed to install Xubuntu - Dapper on a TP 240. Just one question though - have you managed to install a wireless connection? I've only got a modem connection. Cheers

19th Jan 2008, 10:57

Euphro says:

That's great! The best card I've found is the Netgear WG511T which uses the Atheros chipset and works with the Madwifi drivers. It should work "out of the box", however.

I've also got that card working with an old Toshiba Satellite 4030CDT with Dapper and Feisty so it seems very happy with Ubuntu.

19th Jan 2008, 23:28

Sambo says:

Thanks for the tip. I managed to get a D-Link USB wireless stick working so I'm on the net! Things work relatively well. However it struggles with youtube. In fact you end up getting a slideshow of the video you're trying to to watch. Do you get the same problem? I'm looking to max out the RAM (presently 128mb), but just wanted your opinion as to whether it made a difference.

28th Jan 2008, 23:08

Alfie says:

E, I just installed Xubuntu on my desktop machine, and am having enormous difficulty getting sound to work. It worked fine the first two boots, but now is just dead. I have a brand new soundcard, out of the box linux compatible, so Im assuming I've done something odd manually. If you can, ping me on IM when you next see me?

28th Jan 2008, 23:20

Euphro says:

Youtube is a bit slow, but watchable. Iplayer is excellent. I've upped the RAM to 192 MB (which is the maximum) and it seems to make a difference.

29th Jan 2008, 23:01

Alfie says:

Cheers for the soundboarding today E - sorted the flash/amarok issues now (for now at least).

29th Jan 2008, 23:32

Euphro says:

Glad to hear it and, you're welcome! :D

29th Jan 2008, 23:44

Vik says:

Hi! I followed your instruction by booting my 240x hard drive into my X30 Thinkpad running the 7.04 Feisty Fawn Xubuntu Alternate Install CD, and stopping when asked to reboot. Now, when I put the HD into the 240x, i get the "acpi=force" error due to my bios apparently being of 1999 (and I do have the latest bios though). I followed your instructions above but I can't figure out what went wrong?

15th Feb 2008, 01:30

Euphro says:

You've done nothing wrong. Despite being a 2000 machine, and even with the latest bios, Feisty still treats the 240x the same way as ones with a 1999 and earlier bios.

There is an easy manual fix, although you will need to do it every time the kernel is upgraded:

Hit alt-f2 and type "gksudo mousepad" into the command box that appears. The system will prompt you to enter your password. Mousepad (a text editor) will launch, but you will now have the ability to edit system files.

Go to "File>Open" and browse to "boot>grub>menu.lst". Scroll down through menu.lst until you come to the lines that don't begin with "#". At the end of each one that ends with " quiet" add" acpi=force", making sure you put a space between "quiet" and "acpi". E.g. " quiet acpi=force". Save the file and reboot your system.

From now on it will shutdown automatically and have acpi enabled.

16th Feb 2008, 21:09

Vik says:

Thank you so much for the reply! I'm now enjoying Xubuntu 7.04 on my TP240x and it is awesome!

17th Feb 2008, 02:38

hencke says:

I had a very positive experience installing Xubuntu 7.10 on my ThinkPad 240 and I would like to share it with anyone interested. Hardware needed:

-ethernet card (and internet connection)
-ThinkPad 240 (or any other PC) with:
-preferrably 128 MB RAM (64 MB might be enough) or more
-Windows 98 or newer (should work up to Vista) (any linux distribution should also do, but I'm not going to go into that, please refer to the second search)
-no cd-rom or floppy drive needed

I made a small HowTo on If you search for "xubuntu thinkpad 240" (without quotes) you should be able to find it. (unfortunately I couldn't directly link to it)

Another alternative is googling "lubi unetbooting" (without quotes).

24th Feb 2008, 16:17

Larsen(ylar35-at-gmail-dot-com) says:

Hi. I was wondering what your xorg.conf looked like. im trying to get it installed on my thinkpad 240x but right before i can login the screen shuts off and i cant do anything. I'm trying to load Xubuntu 9.04 on it with no success. :(

10th Jun 2009, 08:33

Euphro says:

The part you need is:

Section "Device"
Identifier "Silicon Motion, Inc. SM712 LynxEM+"
Driver "siliconmotion"
BusID "PCI:0:9:0"

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Thinkpad 240x"
Option "DPMS"
HorizSync 31.5-57
VertRefresh 58-72

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Device "Silicon Motion, Inc. SM712 LynxEM+"
Monitor "Thinkpad 240x"
DefaultDepth 16
SubSection "Display"
Depth 1
Modes "800x600"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 4
Modes "800x600"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 8
Modes "800x600"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 15
Modes "800x600"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 16
Modes "800x600"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "800x600"

10th Jun 2009, 09:35

James(jameslarnerlee-at-yahoo-dot-com) says:

I want to sawp the 12 GB HD with a 250 GB one in my 240X.Can it be possible?

2nd Mar 2010, 08:12

James(jameslarnerlee-at-yahoo-dot-com) says:

I want to sawp the 12 GB HD with a 250 GB one in my 240X.Can it be possible?

2nd Mar 2010, 08:12

stavrosz(stavroszomo-at-hotmail-dot-com) says:

i have just installed Xubuntu 10.10 on my thinkpad 240x.
I have been able to make it work EXCEPT for STREAMING VIDEO which is the only thing i want to do !
And I cannot connect an external MONITOR

With the Mplayer, the issue is when the stream starts I get a row of inverse screens midway up the screen (i have a pix i can post) .
any ideas how to fix this ?

11th Jan 2011, 17:04

stavrosz says:

i was able to fix the video issue
now only if i could add an external Monitor !
when i hook up an old nec lcd the bios sees it, but once xubuntu loads it stops receiving video signal
any help ?

11th Jan 2011, 18:54

Euphro says:

Hi stavrosz, glad to hear that you solved the video issue. The problem may lie with the xorg.conf file, which is likely to be configured for only one output device.

I haven't attached an external monitor to my 240x, but there are some helpful general tips here:

12th Jan 2011, 10:25

stavrosz says:

thank you, i had almost given up
because i tried to use xrandr to fix the output issues and now i have lost the ability to stream again.
l will try your recommendations and post results

13th Jan 2011, 15:42

stavrosz says:

could you post your entire xorg.conf so that i can copy it, that may help and would be greatly appreciated

i do not seem to be able to turn off the effects of xrandr. it seems to activate VGA setting overriding the "screen" on my xorg.conf and thus my screen is not behaving normal

13th Jan 2011, 18:45

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