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IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad R61


Andres Gonzalez (dre2004 at gmail dot com)


This is a guide to running Linux with the IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad R61 laptop. The R61 is a fairly standard looking laptop but includes the Centrino Duo chipset and the model tested here has a nice display.

For full specifications see the Lenovo ThinkPad R61 specifications page.

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.

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Linux Compatibility

ProcessorIntel Core Duo T7300 2.0GhzYes
Screen15.4“ WSXGA+YesHighest Resolution 1680×1050
Optical DriveDVD+-RWYes
GraphicsNvidia GeForce Go 8400only proprietary modules
GraphicsnVidia Quadro NVS 140Yeswith nouveau or nvidia-driver
Integrated CameraChicony Electronics Co., Ltd.UnknownTrying to get this to work now
Sound YesUse the snd-hda-intel module
WirelessIntel 4965AGN 802.11abgnYesSee notes
Bluetooth Yes
56K Modem Not Tested
USB3 x USB2.0Yes
Firewire1 x FirewireYesTested with Kino and AV Cam
ExpressCard Slot Not Tested
Fingerprint Reader Yeswith fprintd


Depending on the Model of R61 you have you will have a different Video Card.

These details are specific to the 89185MM.

Graphics ChipsetDevice Info NVIDIA NB8M-GS01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Unknown device 0429 (rev a1)

The standard debian nvidia driver didnt work for Nvidia NB8M-GS chipset the commercial drivers were used instead. The latest version 100.14.11 worked fine. Update: This chip has not been tested by me on newer versions of Nouveau or the proprietary drivers, some more recent information would be appreciated

These details are specific to the Quadro NVS 140M

Graphics ChipsetDevice Info NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Quadro NVS 140M (rev a1) (prog-if 00 [[VGA]])

The open source Nouveau driver works with this GPU out of the box, without any configuration of xorg.conf or the kernel. As of November 2013, due to the lack of licensing issues (Nouveau is open source), you can expect it to included with all recent distributions. It works decently with several games (Minecraft, DoTA 2), but the performance is not stellar, and these games had to be run on very low settings. The proprietary driver may be better if you are looking to do anything GPU intensive.


The Nvidia GeForce Go 8400 included with the R61 does not function with the built in nv module so you will need to use the Nvidia proprietary driver. You can find installation instructions for the nvidia driver here.

Some cheaper models of the R61 include the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100. This has not yet been tested.

The 4965AGN wireless controller works fine on the R61, albeit they are a pain to install. You can get these drivers from You can view installation instructions at our Configuring the iwl4965 driver for the Intel 4965AGN wireless controller guide. In most distributions, this driver will be included, but there are a few expections (e.g. Debian), where the driver is not included due to its proprietary nature.


Ubuntu 12.04, Mint 15, Crunchbang 11, Slackware 14.1, Arch linux and likely many other popular distros work perfectly out of the box with the R61. Aside from some firmware issues with the wireless controller, setting up this laptop is a breeze, requiring little to no extra configuration.


Tet, 2016/12/11 21:09

I've been running LinuxMint xfce on my R61 sine WinXP support ended. Everything works nicely. Definitely worth trying fo those undecided.

H. Kramer, 2016/07/10 16:13

Lubuntu 16.04 worked like a charm, but manjaro lxde 16.03 is considerably faster.

new bee, 2014/10/28 14:32

installed ubuntu 14.04 LTS on R61. Makes the laptop work much faster than in fresh Windows. Only issue so far with Fn keys + screen brightness. Looks like I'll have to poke around with thinkpad_acpi as recommended in some places on the net.

Otherwise strongly recommended!

malik zia, 2013/04/07 11:35

i am unable to use bluetooth as there is no clu for using this app in window 7.
hardly wifi is working and also its builtin cam does not record sound/audio in it.

is there any expert to guide me how to work with these missing features on my lenovo R61

xenayoo, 2012/03/08 17:59

Ubuntu on my R61i 7650-E8G

Unusable! Keyboard and Trackpoint don't work at all! Only external USB-Keyboard and Mouse. I do not need the trash-Trackpoint but I need the interal Keyboard. Sometimes I can tip 5 characters, then the system make nothing or some seconds and somtimes the charactes hang: nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn….. with no end….

swamy, 2010/02/03 05:59

I am using lenovo Thinkpad R61i Laptop I installed wireless drivers some times working perfectly some times it's not connecting to network

Lightnin, 2010/08/15 15:35

Yep, me too. The radio seems to have a hard time connecting when multiple networks are present. Possibly a network manager issue?

vikrant singh dadwal, 2009/12/18 11:35


i have installed centos5 on my thikpad r61 and i am not able to run any audio or video file on it. when i am trying to play them it's displaying an error window stating: audio decoder for running the current format missing.
can someone help me out in this regard.


impaire, 2009/06/22 05:50

Fedora 11 x86 64 worked for me. Currently I haven't seen how the boot or the shutdown runs, I neither had a look at messages/dmesg. Microphone is working but the sound/speakers are broken. I'm a touch pad addict; if I hit it twice, I don't get the clic. Those details should soon be in order.

impaire, 2009/07/18 00:11

I was looking for HW settings issue but I finally found the check box to enable my speakers output. By default, only headset jack is enabled. For the pad click, the option was in mouse settings. My fonts where to huge. In appearance, I've found the font DPI settings. For wifi, I had to change my WPA2 key to hex, some 60 chars only. It seems that the current version doesn't support full length alphanumeric keys. In the mean time, I installed and some apps like FreeNX and Virtualbox. Everything works just great. I've changed the HD for a faster model, at 85MBps. I'll install the shipped one in another box.

rob, 2009/04/24 19:48

Everything works but built in webcam using kubuntu 9.04 anyone can help please do.

rahul, 2009/02/22 11:34

Everything is working fine on my R61 except the sound….the sound is broken….is there anything I can do to sort it out??

Bill, 2009/01/23 00:29

T61 with Nvidia NVS140 does not work at all. There are several versions of the driver floating around, and quite a few comments on the forums. Still cannot get this laptop to work - well wait 'till version 9 and see if things improve :(

TomG, 2008/12/15 20:06

8.10 worked out of the box with Nvidia Qudro NVS140M video. The finger print reader does not work. Forget about sleep (suspend) and Hibernate modes, neither works for me. Hibernate just crashes and sleep mode looses video when it wakes up. I have to end up power cycling to get back up. Everything else works fine. Wired and wireless NICs configured on install without issue. I have not tested firewire, the modem, or the card slot either.

LuiNr1, 2008/12/07 22:25

Have Ubuntu 8.O4 Heron on my R61e. Works OK, the only problems are the middle -mouse -button and - worse - the sound, which is very cracky with all media.

Elfranne, 2008/11/25 15:18

Intel Video - Ubuntu 8.10

Intel X3100 working out of the box with Ubuntu 8.10 and all the other things are also working fine. Great laptop to work with because of its relatively low price but an outstanding quality when you compare them to other manufacturers. It love the keyboard… when i get back to my old asus laptop it looks like some cheap crap :p

Nick, 2008/10/28 21:19

All good for me - Ubuntu 8.04

All worked for me, no probs!

Alfieri, 2008/06/29 16:42

My R61i 8918 CGG (C2D 1.5G, 2Gram,160HDD,NVS140M)


so firs step was Ubuntu 7.10 and automatical upgrade to 8.04. But problems with some part and I solved it. Concretely: wifi, but in 8.04 works after upgrade. Problem with skype (mic didn't work) and hdaps (movement sensor for HDD). But after that I decided runs on UBUNTU 8.04 64b and after starts problems ;-)

On 64b works almost everything out-of-box. But again problem with skype, but I googled help. Hdaps run, but doesn't starts automaticaly after boot. Special keys works, but Fn+F5 works strange (looks like, that works in cycle: WiFi (WF) and BT off, WF on and BT off, both on, WF off and BT on, both off). Hybernation and suspend to RAM still don't works (I have to google more ;-) ) and after install drivers and SW for finger-print system reports problem with USB, when I try to run the finger print (something like: device on USB doesn't works or missed).

But important parts run just after installation, problems are with these above standard functions and devices. But I have to make runs hdaps and standby to ram, at least.

jal, 2008/06/23 22:19

Ubuntu on R61e

I have 1 problem with the Lenovo R61E running Hardy, the sound is broken.

I initially installed Gutsy 7.10 onto an R61e, and it ran up, prefectly useable. There initially seemed to be an issue with the screen (it had 'dashes' all over) but the OS sorted it out by itself after the first re-start. Sound didn't work, and the sleep/hibernate functions wouldn't light up the screen when prodded. I managed to get the sound working (had to load a module), and I had to go get the codecs for watching DVD.

Upgrading to Hardy fixed the hibernate/sleep function (hooray!!) but broke the sound (boo!). Now it tells me “doesn't support 44100” and switches to 48000.

tessuraea, 2008/06/23 10:26

Ubuntu 8.04 on my R61i

Worked out of the box–even got the screen resolution right. My model has an intel 965 graphics chipset (whatever that means) and no integrated camera. The only necessary tweaks have been middle-mouse-button usability and turning on the microphone. Suspend & Hibernate even seem to be working, although I haven't used them much yet. Easiest Ubuntu install ever!

Have not tested bluetooth, firewire, the modem, or the card slots.

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ibm-lenovo_thinkpad_r61.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/09 15:32 by
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