Computer

Lenovo Docking-Stations: Automatically Power on Laptop

Lenovo Docking-Stations: Automatically Power on Laptop

You start your day out by putting your laptop onto your docking-station and then go get your morning coffee – just to come back and find your laptop still hasn’t booted up because you forgot to press the on button – frustrated you scream out “Why god? Why do I have to wait another minute to boot my computer?”

This is a good example of a bad user experience design. The user expects the computer to start, because the only reason for putting your laptop into a docking station is to start working with the laptop. You expect the device to be smart enough to turn itself on by itself. There is really no reason that the computer should not start. (Eco-friendly Power conservation guys will say, oh no, what a waste of electricity – Well, you are reading this article on a device that is using power and you probably are using a computer for most of your workday)

However Lenovo laptops have a BIOS setting to automatically power up your laptop.

  1.  Start your computer and press the ThinkVantage button (or F1) to open up BIOS
  2. Open Power Settings
  3. Set “Power On with AC Attach” to “Enabled”
  4. Press F10 to Save and Exit (restart)

 

Power on with AC Attach Setting set to Enabled

Power on with AC Attach Setting set to Enabled

 

 

 

Posted by happyneal in Hardware, 1 comment
Lenovo Adjust Keyboardmapping (Fn/Ctrl and PageUp/PageDown to Home/End)

Lenovo Adjust Keyboardmapping (Fn/Ctrl and PageUp/PageDown to Home/End)

Swap the Ctrl and Fn Key

Lenovo has awkwardly placed the Fn key as first key of the last row instead of the “Ctrl”-key like most laptop and keyboard manufacturers. The “Fn Key” is unique to laptops and does not register in the normal character map. Thankfully you can swap the two keys in the Bios-settings.

Caution: If you do not know what Bios is – do not change any other settings.

  1. Restart the computer
  2. When you see the ThinkPad Logo Press “Enter” to interrupt the normal startup process.
  3. Then Press “F1” to enter the Bios Settings
  4. Navigate to the page “Config ” (using the arrow keys) and select “Keyboard/Mouse”
  5. Enable “Fn and Ctrl Key swap”
  6. Press “Esc” and Navigate to “Restart”
  7. Select save changes and restart
Posted by happyneal in Hardware, 0 comments
Lenovo T430 – Reduce fan noise

Lenovo T430 – Reduce fan noise

For some reason on some T430 laptops the fan is always on even if the CPU has a 0% load. If you are running Windows here are a few suggestions how you can fix this issue:

Update Bios

Make sure your laptop has the newest Bios installed – maybe Lenovo figured out how to resolve the Fan control on the hardware level.

  1. Run Lenovo – Update and Drivers
  2. Update Bios

Official Fan Speed Control Driver

  1. Download the driver from: http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/detail.page?DocID=DS001691
  2. Install the driver
  3. Restart the computer
  4. Open the Task manager and check if “FanSpeedControl.exe” is running (if not, de-install the driver again

TPFanControl

Apparently “troubadix” from the German Uni-Marburg created a small program to control the ThinkPad Fan.  Caution: As you are actively manipulating the fan speed, your hardware could overheat and be damaged which could not be

  1. Go to: http://www.staff.uni-marburg.de/~schmitzr/donate.html (yes – the webpage is in ComicSans)
  2. Scroll down to “download area” and select the “latest common Version” (or check if the special version is better suited for your laptop)
  3. Install and restart
  4. As default the fan is being controlled in the “Smart”-mode, based on the temperature of the CPU.  I did not have to change any settings, usually the CPU runs at around 42 degrees Celsius. If your CPU heats up faster you may want to use a more aggressive cooling strategy provided by the program.
  5. To minimize the window to the “Notification Area” Right-click on the TPFanControl icon in the Notification Area and disable “Show Window”

 

Posted by happyneal in Hardware, 2 comments
Windows: Password Recovery

Windows: Password Recovery

Sometimes you run into the problem that someone has forgotten their password for their home PC. As a good friend you are going to help them recover their password.

Preparation

  1. Go over to http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/ and download a Live CD with tables  (either for XP or Vista/7)
  2. Burn the CD with imgburn or create a USB-Boot disk with Universal Usb Installer

Password Recovery

  1. Start the computer by booting from the USB-stick/CD
  2. Ophcrack will launch immediately and try to crack the password by brute force
  3. If it does not work, click on the button “tables”
  4. Now click on the button “Install” and navigate to the tables directory on the CD or USB-drive (something like /media/usb-drive/tables)
  5. Enable the tables, it is going to take a while to load them into RAM
  6. Retry to crack the password.

Finishing up

Write down the password, restart the computer and login. Change the password to something that a human being can remember.

 

Posted by happyneal in Windows, 0 comments
SteamOS: Beta

SteamOS: Beta

Valve has released a beta version of their OS. Hyped as the “killer app” for Linux and many hoped it will be the replacement for Windows.

In reality SteamOS is not going to be the Windows Desktop replacement OS. It is going to be a OS to be used with your TV and game-pad. Exactly like Valve has originally advertised the system, an OS for a “steam machine”; a computer controlled primarily by an game controller. The system is designed to compete with other consoles like the XBox or Playstation. The system is now in its beta state. Mostly Linux enthusiasts and hardware distributors are probably interested in the system.

The OS will be delivered to the majority of users on a pre-installed “steam machine”. Most Users will never have to interact with the underlying Linux environment and the computer will only be used for gaming purposes.

However time will tell how this development will effect the overall perception and acceptance of the Linux platform. Hardware developers like Nvidia and AMD have already announced a better driver support for the Linux platform. Hopefully major software developers will follow suit.

System Requirements

From the official site the hardware requirements are as follows:

  • Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor
  • 4GB or more memory
  • 500GB or larger disk
  • NVIDIA graphics card (AMD and Intel graphics support coming soon)
  • UEFI boot support
  • USB port for installation

Oddly the requirements stated is the need for a 500GB disk. However after installation the OS requires only around 2.7GB, making the installation on a smaller disk is technically possible. Valve has not yet said anything more specific why 500GB are needed. It looks like the requirements are more of a guideline for a suitable gaming system.

Installation

There are two ways of installing the OS either restoring an existing image or doing a clean install.  Many users were reporting issues with the restore method as well as  the requirement of a 1TB disk to restore the image. Thus it is easier to do a clean install.

Clean Install

  1. Prepare a disk, the installation will automatically partition your drive, no matter what previous system is installed. (= everything is going to be deleted)
  2. Download the installation files from http://repo.steampowered.com/download/SteamOSInstaller.zip
  3. Extract the zip file to an USB-disk (formatted as FAT32)
  4. Boot the system from the USB-disk and follow the automatic installation setup

First Start

  1. Select the Gnome Desktop
  2. Log on as user “steam”, password: “steam”
  3. Log on as user “desktop”, password: “desktop”

Initial Impression

Sadly the Steam Interface never loaded on my system. I did not spend a lot of time on tinkering around with it, as it is currently in the state of preview/beta software. I hope Valve gets a lot of feedback and can fix these issues.

However most of the experience is positive, the install procedure was smooth and automated and you did not have to know anything about computers to get it running except how to “boot from usb-stick”. Mostly user-friendly, however they currently have not put a lot of work into their installer and a couple of more options would be nice.

Conclusion

Sadly I can’t say a lot about the new OS – it is beta software and I could not get it to work with my PC – However it is going to be an interesting development to watch in the next couple of years.

Official Links

Announcementhttp://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS/
Download: http://repo.steampowered.com/download/ 
FAQ: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/steamuniverse/discussions/1/648814395741989999/ 

Posted by happyneal in Linux, 1 comment
Windows 8.1: Boot to Desktop

Windows 8.1: Boot to Desktop

Windows 8.1 finally gives you the option to boot directly to the desktop (without the need for a 3rd party program). You can enable this option by opening the preferences for the taskbar and go to the tab for “Navigation”.

win8.1-boottodesktop

Advanced Users can use the Registry to Boot to desktop by setting following key:

Posted by happyneal in Windows, 9 comments