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Author Topic: IBM Lenovo T61 Thinkpad - a standard SATA harddisk cannot be used ? Is this true  (Read 14788 times)
patteo
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« on: August 24, 2007, 03:34:42 AM »

I was talking to the University co-op vendor who sold my son the Lenovo T61 Thinkpad and since I'm the so called resident computer "expert", I was exploring how I should go about downgrading from Vista Business to Windows XP Pro.

In the course of the discussion with the co-op vendor, I was given to understand that I cannot just buy an "ordinary" SATA harddisk, pop it in and just install Windows XP Pro on it because of certain proprietary things that Lenovo put in the "Lenovo" harddisk. That is, a ordinary SATA harddisk, will not work.

Why I would like to buy another harddisk is because I don't want to overwrite Windows Vista on the existing harddisk that came with the laptop because at some future point in time, he may just want to so call move on to Vista.

There are two possible comments that I make to this so call proprietary things that Lenovo put in the "Lenovo" harddisk (which if I remove it, looks exactly like a Hitachi harddisk - simply because it says so on the label).

1. It's a crappy red herring to scare me so I have to buy the high priced "Lenovo" harddisk from him - ie just go and get a ordinary generic SATA harddisk, either a Hitachi, Seagate or Samsung - I have done this so many times with Fujitsu, Toshiba and a Dell as well.

2. It is true that they make it proprietary by what they put in the harddisk - In which case, it is a rip off and I'll never ever buy a Lenovo again, at least not in this life time.

Tell me your experience or what you know about this.

I'm inclined to think it's 1 - it's a crappy Red Herring.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2007, 07:12:52 AM by patteo » Logged
justice
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2007, 05:18:11 AM »

Because I don't know about Lenovo harddisks, but in case you need a plan b: DriveImage Xml, create a full image of the vista system, back it up somewhere, then put xp on it.

DriveImage XML is free and should allow you to restore it on the drive.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2007, 05:19:44 AM by justice » Logged

Wordzilla
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2007, 05:42:02 AM »

IMO, by "proprietary things" your co-op vendor was referring to IBM Preload Desktop partition (a hidden partition on almost every thinkpad harddisk that helps with system recovery and can be accessed through BIOS).

I was once a Thinkpad salesperson and support specialist and to my knowledge all ThinkPad hard drives are interchangeable - it's really no big deal to change hard disks on a ThinkPad.
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patteo
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2007, 05:52:56 AM »

IMO, by "proprietary things" your co-op vendor was referring to IBM Preload Desktop partition (a hidden partition on almost every thinkpad harddisk that helps with system recovery and can be accessed through BIOS).

I was once a Thinkpad salesperson and support specialist and to my knowledge all ThinkPad hard drives are interchangeable - it's really no big deal to change hard disks on a ThinkPad.
Thanks for your thoughts.

So if I understand it, the standard SATA should still work. Only thing is that I probably cannot perform a system recovery by accessing this hidden partition which is no big deal to me anyway as I prefer to load all my various needed software make all the necessary settings, update all the patches before I make an image (say with Acronis True Image before corruption sets in). So if need be, I will just restore this image (with its pristine state). I won't need to restore it to the factory condition stage which is probably too raw for me anyway.
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patteo
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2007, 05:53:55 AM »

Because I don't know about Lenovo harddisks, but in case you need a plan b: DriveImage Xml, create a full image of the vista system, back it up somewhere, then put xp on it.

DriveImage XML is free and should allow you to restore it on the drive.

Thanks Justice for the heads up on DriveImage XML. I will also check it out.
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Wordzilla
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2007, 05:56:58 AM »

Correct. And for me, the first thing I usually do when I receive a new thinkpad is to remove the f hidden partition that does nothing but shrink my harddisk!
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app103
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2007, 06:05:57 AM »

I don't know about ThinkPads, but I know that HP's come with a utility to burn the restore partition to cd's or dvd's as a bootable set of restore disks. They allow you to do this once, and only once.
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2007, 06:09:15 AM »

ThinkPad's Rescue and Recovery allows you to save the hidden partition to multiple DVD/CDs. Anyway IMHO there's nothing but crap buried in that area.  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2007, 06:10:22 AM »

Quote
Thanks Justice for the heads up on DriveImage XML. I will also check it out.
If you have Acronis you probably don't need DriveImage. Good luck.
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Wordzilla
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2007, 06:11:52 AM »

If you happen to have Seagate hard drives, try DiscWizard (rebranded and free TrueImage) from Seagate.
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2007, 07:46:09 AM »

A question that should be asked is whether or not the notebook takes an ATA or SATA (Serial ATA) interface on the harddrive.  Take a look at newegg.com for "notebook harddrive" and you'll see references for SATA drive indicating "Notebook compatibility: SATA interface only".
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iphigenie
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2007, 05:38:10 AM »

We have lenovos and we swap hard drives around all the time - there's the original windows drive, the linux drive, the windows-for-games drive etc.

You should also be able to request the recovery partition on CDs. They don't send them always by default, which is strange since if the drive fails you want the CDs!!!
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 05:40:13 AM by iphigenie » Logged
f0dder
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2007, 05:44:12 AM »

Also keep in mind that you will be wanting a notebook sata harddrive, not a regular 3.5" model tongue
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2007, 07:31:01 PM »

Disclaimer:  I work for IBM that used to make ThinkPads before it sold that business to Lenovo.  So I am biased but I swear by ThinkPads. 

That said, you should be able to replace the hard drive easily....Ive done it many times to start from scratch.  The "proprietary" stuff is just partition for Rescue & Recovery, and the "Airbag" like feature....perhaps some others but neither are necessary for operation (though they have saved my butt on more than one occasion).  Check carefully as many ThinkPads still have IDE 2.5" HDD (though I know X series now have SATA).
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iphigenie
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« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2007, 03:56:17 AM »

and you can get the recovery partition from Lenovo on a CD.

The stuff that is installed on your original hard drive will be an exact image, the one used to install your machine in the first place, which makes it very quick to get your machine back to how it was on its first day should things get messed up. Depending on the recovery software you can even update or backup that image.

Of course  it doesnt help if the whole drive dies, so there are also recovery CDs - you get these instead of official windows CDs with oem systems nowadays. They will reinstall the OS and most utilities, although might be missing some software you might have gotten as part of the package installed on your machine (these would be on your HD image but might not be on the generic recovery CD)

Just insist you get these CDs as part of your purchase, as there is a strange trend lately not to supply them. If the vendor says "but you have it on a partition on disk" go "what if the disk dies or someone steals the disk?" (drive-only theft can happen with swappable disks!). There is no excuse not to supply either the installation disks for all the software, os, drivers which are included in the system, or a recovery CD/DVD which contains an image containing all the above.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2007, 03:58:10 AM by iphigenie » Logged
patteo
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2007, 08:18:01 AM »

Just a little update.

Trying to purchase a downgrade to Windows XP Pro setup disk (with all the drivers) from Lenovo is "trying". Yes they say you can buy it from them but it takes at least 6 weeks from the time you place and order and that is not counting the countless calls and the wait for them to transfer you from this department to that department and so forth and the inevitable we will get back to you as soon as possible or let me transfer to the correct deparment and the line goes dead.

I think they certainly try to discourage you.

So the next best thing is to just go to your regular computer shop and buy it and download the drivers from their website.

It's a very painful process. So it's best to buy Windows XP Pro preinstalled if you can if you don't want to move to Vista yet.
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