Installing Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) on a ThinkPad T60

After much trial-and-error and googling, I finally got Ubuntu 7.04 working on my Thinkpad T60 in a way that I wanted:

  • Dual boot with Windows XP
  • Preserve the ThinkVantage button functioning which makes system recovery and updating a lot easier
  • Keep the partition of the hard disk that contains system backup (for repair and recovery)

Pre-Installation Steps:

  • Make Thinkpad rescue and recovery discs (Start->All Programs->ThinkVantage->Rescue and Recovery)
  • Backup MBR (in case you install GRUB into the MBR by accident) . Follow instructions here.
  • Make Ubuntu 7.04 LiveCD for temporary booting into Ubuntu only
  • Make Ubuntu 7.04 Alternative CD for actual installation (Note that checkbox under the “Start Download” button). This is used instead of LiveCD because I want to preserve ThinkVantage functions.
  • USB memory stick for transferring boot file

Installation Steps:

Follow step-by-step instruction here except the following steps (very important, things can become very messy if you dont)

  • In “fig 29 ntfs” step, set the Ubuntu partition”bootable” flag ON. Otherwise, the GRUB will not install onto the Ubuntu partition.
  • In “fig 65 ntfs” step, choose NOT to install GRUB onto MBR (select NO to the question in that step)
  • In the next screen after you select NO to install GRUB on MBR, you are asked to enter the partition to install GRUB. You should type (hd0,1) to indicate first hard drive and second partition (the Ubuntu partition). If you have multiple hard drives, you need to figure this out by yourself. DO NOT use the /dev/sda3 option as indicated on the screen. That does not work. If you do that, GRUB will be install onto the MBR.
  • Boot the laptop with LiveCD and run gparted. Set the Window partition as bootable.
  • Follow instruction here to make boot file for Ubuntu. Run “dd if=/dev/sda3 of=ubuntu.bin bs=512 count=1”
  • Copy ubuntu.bin to USB stick or use the shared partition as discussed here.
  • Boot up in Window XP and copy ubuntu.bin from USB or shared partition to C:
  • Update window bootloader as discussed here.
  • You re done!


  • ATI graphic card. It is a bit tricky to get it work. Follow the instructions here.
  • WLAN connection. My T60 uses an Atheros chip and it works out of box with network manager. Other T60 uses Intel chip and it also works out of box. The wireless connection is not as reliably as in Windwos. The network manager disconnects often and I cannot connect to some WLAN APs (such as the one in our library).

Final thoughts: after this experience of installing Ubuntu on T60, I start to appreciate what Windows has to offer that I never realized …

8 comments so far

  1. asy on

    why not installing GRUB on the MBR ?

  2. empraptor on

    He didn’t install GRUB on MBR because GRUB can’t load Windows XP. At least the last version of GRUB I used couldn’t.

    You need install GRUB elsewhere and make an image of the block it’s installed on. Then put that image on the Windows partition and edit “boot.ini” to point to the image so one of the Windows boot options will load GRUB. That’s my setup anyway.

  3. empraptor on

    And I think Windows sets its own partition as active partition every time it runs. Something like that, so you can’t point to GRUB’s partition as active partition because it’ll just be reset when Windows runs.

    If it were otherwise, you could just have GRUB start up and have menu item that chain-loads MBR or something. I forget the details, but it won’t be hard to find online.

  4. Life A Venture on

    if you load GRUB on the MBR,

    1) the ThinkVantage button will not work

    2) the backup and rescue partition on the Thinkpad is lost.

    If you dont care about the above two, you can load GRUB on the MBR and the installation becomes much simpler – you can just follow the standard installation procedure for Windows dual boot.

  5. ohwii on

    I just tried the Guide but whenever I want to start Ubuntu my screan goes black and a courser blinks.

    Windows works fine

    It would be good if you could help.


    oh Wii

  6. .mrt on

    The cursor keeps blinking if you copied the wrong partitions’ first 512 Bytes (like swap) – it has no bootloader on it. I ran into the same thing, but then I reinstalled Ubuntu and kept better count of the Ubuntu partition on the hard drive (in my case the 4th partition aka GRUB is installed on hd0,3).

  7. […] it would be wise for you to read a nice post by Life is a Venture, who gives the warning about maintenance partition and points to some good howto’s. […]

  8. Tom Rutherford on

    I’m about ready to do this, only the system I’m planning this for is an R51 type 2888-GRU. I just cloned the original 30-gig drive to an 80-gig, with maintenance partition intact, and XP and maintenance partitions resized and positioned to give me about 35GB for the Linux install. I’m planning on Ubuntu 8.04 instead of 7.04. Any caveats, or should everything go about the same as in the original article? TIA!

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