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Lenovo Thinkpad W700


This is a compaitiblity guide to running Linux with the Lenovo ThinkPad W700 laptop.

This guide is intended to provide you details on how well this laptop works with Linux and which modules you need to configure. For details on how to actually install and configure the required modules have a look at our guides section for distribution specific instructions.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Lenovo Thinkpad W700. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Lenovo Thinkpad W700 page on LapWik.

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For full specifications see the Lenovo ThinkPad W700 specifications page.

NameLenovo ThinkPad W700
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo or Intel Core 2 Quad
Screen17“ WXGA+ or WUXGA Widescreen
HDD80GB to 320GB to 64GB SSD
Optical DriveDVD+-RW or Blu-ray
GraphicsNVIDIA Quadro FX 2700M or NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M
NetworkEthernet, Thinkpad 802.11bg or Intel 5100 802.11abgn or Intel 5300 802.11abgn, Bluetooth

Linux Compatibility

HDDworks in raid and none raid config
Optical DriveNot Tested
56K ModemNot Tested
Card Readerwork
ExpressCard SlotNot Tested
PCMCIANot Tested
Fingerprint ReaderNot Tested


The Lenovo Thinkpad W700 works generaly very well. The only problems I can find are the lack on configuration tools for the digitizing pad. no fingerprint reader drivers and a lost of control on the mouse pointer when using the scrolling pad.

The Lenovo Tinkpad W700 works fine with Ubuntu 9.10 right out of the box. Four items are not (yet) supported:
1. Fingerprint reader: no driver available.
2. Color calibration: not mainstream yet, no driver and software available.
3. HDAPS - IBM Active Protection System Linux Driver: chips set too new.
4. Wacom tablet: almost working, but no 'mouse clicks'


You can enter a summary of how well the Lenovo Thinkpad W700 works with Linux here.


Jim, 2014/12/18 17:30

The community's standards for the community's offerings are remarkably generous. If a commercial supplier's OS had this many imperfections, we'd all be crying blue murder!

Scott, 2012/05/10 16:28

One other point: I'm now running a pair of 750 GB SATA drives on this W700, so the BIOS apparently supports fairly large disks.

Scott, 2012/05/10 16:26

Update from my earlier comments: Ubuntu as of 11.04 Just Works on the W700, except that the X-Rite color calibrator is still not supported, and I don't know (or care) about the fingerprint reader. Gigabit Ethernet, Wifi a/b/g/n, and sound all work perfectly. I am still running with software RAID rather than the hardware RAID because it's easier to configure and the “hardware” RAID in most non-server machines is really not fully offloading the I/O anyway.

I was looking at upgrading to a new machine, but nobody other than Apple seems to make a machine with a 17” screen and 1920×1200 resolution any more. Apparently the hardware manufacturers think that all anyone cares about is playing 1080p video.

Scott, 2010/04/15 21:29

I have a W700 purchased with two 160GB HDD but immediately upgraded to two 320GB drives I ordered from NewEgg. Running Xubuntu 9.10, everything works as advertised on this machine with the following exceptions:

1. Fingerprint reader does not work, though to be honest I haven't tried very hard.

2. Color calibrator does not work.

3. I have Linux doing software RAID 1 with the two drives, working perfectly. Hardware RAID was detected by Xubuntu alternate install, but I ran into problems getting it to configure for encrypted physical volume for LVM on top of that. I really needed the crypto and LVM more than hardware RAID, so I backed off for now and went software RAID.

Since I have the two 160GB drives on the shelf, I'm going to revisit the hardware RAID when I have more time to play with it. I needed to get up and running quickly when I first bought this machine.

Overall, I am extremely happy with the W700 under Xubuntu 9.10. It's a performance screamer, compared to any other laptop I've owned.

bjg, 2009/12/31 07:42

Installed Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit on W700. Raw install did not allow adjustment of brightness. However, updating nvidia X server settings (using Hardware Drivers tool in administration menu) from version 173 (from install) to 185.18.36, resulted in brightness now working and no yet-noticed down-side.

Garth, 2010/04/05 21:26

For the 2nd HDD Bay issue mentioned below. I found the carrier and rails on Ebay for around $6. Search for “IBM Lenovo Thinkpad W700 W700ds Hard Drive Caddy Rail”. The seller is nycom-tech I've been using this in my W700 for about a month now and it seems to work great. The fit going in the drive slot was a little tight. The parts look almost identical to the original carrier and rails. I spent days looking for this. I hope this helps somebody.

moogy, 2009/11/04 12:58

I'm running Mandriva 2009.1

I have lost the tablet function. Does anyone have a solution to get the tablet to work?


Jon K, 2009/11/03 22:27

For an external eSATA card, the IOGear GPS702E3 eSATA-300 ExpressCard/34 works out of the box. No Linux drivers or anything else needs to be installed. However, I have to reboot the system to get it to recognize the card. Gives I/O rates equivalent to internal drives when used with an eSATA-300 external HDD.

Jon K, 2009/11/02 22:29

I should also add, that other than the 2nd HDD bay issue, the box works GREAT. A few pointers:

– You should upgrade the BIOS prior to doing an O/S install for the first time. This will fix several install issues I encountered.

– When you do your O/S install, if the HDDs do not report as SCSI (/dev/sdX), then you have the wrong option set in BIOS for the SATA adapter.

– I am running CentOS. You must use at least a CentOS 5.3 or later install DVD for the HDD to be recognized.

– To boot Knoppix requires at least 6.0.1.

– With the NVIDIA Quadro 3700M, you have to rebuild the video drivers every time that you update the kernel.

– VMware also requires a rebuild of its drivers whenever the kernel is updated. However, with workstation 6.5 and later, let the vmware service fail when the system boots, then simply run workstation and it will detect the kernel upgrade and rebuild everything automatically and restart the vmware service.

– NVIDA can be a pain to get to sync with projectors. Be sure you have the NVIDIA X Server Settings Utility installed. It should be:


Use the “Detect Displays” to sync with the video projector. Usually, you have to save the sync settings and restart the X server (log out, then log back in) for the sync to take effect.

– I have 8GB RAM. After running VMware for several hours with several VMs, it can take up to 30 minutes to shut down the system AFTER you have exited VMware workstation. During this time, the vmware service is pounding the HDDs to death! This is apparently “normal” behavior, so don't panic. (It took me about a week to figure out what was going on here.)

– The BIOS setting to automatically disable the touchpad when a mouse is attached only works with a PS/2 mouse! Lame, since there is no PS/2 adapter on the box. Thus, you have to manually control the touchpad. (Do NOT disable the touchpad in BIOS, else NVIDA drivers will not install and/or X server will not start!) To work around this issue:

 a) Add to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, in the section "InputDevice" / "Synaptics", the line 'Option "SHMConfig"' to enable shared memory. Restart X.
 b) To turn off the touchpad (with RHEL/CentOS 5.x):
    # synclient TouchpadOff=1

This only works with X. I have not figured out how to turn it off in tty sessions. (Set TouchpadOff=0 to turn it back on, btw.)

– Be aware that the DVI is single mode DVI-I.

– Be aware that the Firewire is Firewire 400 and requires a special adapter as it is not a standard Firewire 400 plug.

– The DVD Recordable 8x drive works fine under Linux.

– The PCMCIA and ExpressCard slots appear to work OK – at least for the cards I have used in them.

Jon K, 2009/11/02 17:32

One word of warning: ALWAYS buy the laptop with 2 HDDs from the manufacturer!

I purchased the system with a minimum single HDD, and was going to rip out the vendor HDD and replace it with 2 500GB HDDs – which Lenovo does not support. Problem is, system ships with only one drive bay and there does not appear to be any way to purchase a second drive bay. Even if you buy a second drive from Lenovo, there is no drive bay!! I have been fighting with Lenovo on this issue for over 4 months now and I am no closer to getting a second drive bay for the system than when I started.

So, be warned – never purchase as a single drive system.

garlopf, 2009/06/05 14:37

My experience with W700 + ubuntu are as follows:

Alot of things work great, especially the essentials:
+ wireless works flawlessly. Including autosensing location and handling wired + wireless, remembering keys and so forth. This is the single most annoying problem to have with linux on laptops IMO, and having this work this great is very comforting.
+ hibernation/standby works great. I dont have to worry about slamming my lid shut.
+ The cpu stepping/ cycle saving stuff seems to work great. The CPU goes “full on” when its needed. (and at what speed!)
+ The graphics seem very stable and efficient, including full reslution, 3d acceleration and compiz. (my w700 has the nVidia Quadro FX 3500)
+ Docking is marvellous! I mean. it just works. And the new style docking where you don't have to wait for a green light before detatching your computer is GREAT!

However a few things dont work so good. Especially it is worth noting that I found Ubuntu 8.10 worked better than 9.04. Here is a list of problems with 9.04 that used to work with 8.10:

+ It appears that the disk is corrupted either at boot or at shutdown time because it insists on running fsck at EVERY boot. The corruption might not be that severe as i never had any issues with it other than the waiting during boot. But it takes a long time. My disk setup is a standard striped software raid (mdadm) that i set up using the alternate install CD. I never cared much for proprietary raid drivers anyways (and knnowing the software raid support in linux to be legendary I chose that).
+ The key combination for screen brightness (fn + home/end) does not change the brightness, although the OSD indicates that the keycombination is indeed caught (it displays as it should). However the keyboard light switch (fn +pgup) works great!

And finally what does not work at all (in neither 9.04 nor 8.10):
+ The fingerprintreader I didnt even try. It's a different model reader than what is on my lenovo X60 Tablet, which works great. But this wasn't so important on this laptop anyways.
+ The tablet “works”, however it is not even remotely calibrated and I haven't a clue as how to do that. I would love feedback if anyone else have gotten this to work.
+ The on-board color calibrator does not have any support that I could find. This was a bummer, because I relly wanted to have my screen calibrated in linux. My attempt so far aw downloading and trying to figure out what i found to be the 3 most prominent opensource color calibration related projects for linux. Each had their strenghts and weaknesses. IMO all three had a strong weakness in the documentation. It was not at all clear wether or not they would support my hardware! My seccond attempt was to try to “fake” by running the original Windows XP driver within VirtualBox and routing the USB port for the calibrator into my vm instance. Unfortunately this idea did not work. Mostly because I couldn't get the correct driver to recognize my hardware (Crippleware saying :“you are not running a lenovo w700, so you could not possibly have this callibrator hardware!”). BAD Lenovo, BAD xrite. DRIVER PLEASE!!

Bottom line:

W700 has the essentials covered, BUT the things that mkae w700 cool (color calibration, tablet etc) dont work as expected. WHY IS THIS SO HARD LENOVO? Add support to the mainlaine linux kernel BEFORE shipping your products!

ar, 2009/06/06 09:22

+ wireless works flawlessly. –> Only with kernels 2.6.30 or higher.
+ hibernation/standby works great. –> Only with Ubuntu 9.10 or higher.
+ The graphics seem very stable and efficient, –>Use Nvidia 180.53 driver or higher.
+ Disk corruption –> No problems on my machine with Ext3, no raid, Ubuntu 9.10.
+ Screen brightness –> black listed and therefore not working right now. I do no know why it is black listed.
+ The fingerprintreader –> New, different chip set. No driver available.
+ Tablet –> should work, but I can not find any documentation.

ar, 2009/06/09 07:00

+ Screen brightness –> working correctly after updates 20090609 in Ubuntu 9.10
+ Nvidia 180.60 driver available in ppa –> recommended, solves serious bugs.

moogy, 2009/05/09 22:55

The w700 works well with Mandriva, Suse and Fedora, because of the drivers and support.

ar, 2009/05/09 20:24

The key combination fn+f5 is not working in Ubuntu 9.04. So if you lose the wireless connect due to a crash like I did, there is no possibility to get it working again right now.

Does anybody no how to turn off/on the wireless hardware kill switch in Linux, that is get Fn+F5 working?

See also

Luosto, 2009/03/18 08:51

Jaunty (alpha6) do support the soft raid present at W700 (Intel Corporation ICH9M/M-E SATA AHCI). Use the alternate install CD for MD (and crypto) installation to support “raid” present at W700.

Ar, 2009/03/06 16:11

Raid is not seen by jaunty alpha5. Therefore I can not install ubuntu. Does anybody have a suggestion how to solve is.

moogy, 2008/12/06 00:31

I comment on the w700 and would like info from other people

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lenovo_thinkpad_w700.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/13 15:21 (external edit)
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