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Lenovo Support

2020-10-09, 3:14 AM

After many months of researching I was so excited about getting my new P51 Thinkpad. Firt time I've purchased Lenovo and was looking forward to an excellent machine and customer service/support.


Wow, what a disappointment on the customer service/support side.


I tried contacting (by phone) Lenovo for advice on installing Ubuntu Linux on my P51 Thinkpad. To keep it short, I got bounced 5 times between technical/hardware/software, that's about 2+ hours of my time. I expected that someone would take the intiative and say "hang on for a moment, I'll make some calls to the other departments and get an answer for you". Instead all I got was "that's xxx dept, not us, sorry, bye". My conclusion: nobody cares, they just want to be there to collect a paycheque and do as little as possible.


No that's off my chest, can anyone give me some sources for installing Ubuntu onto my P51?



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Re:Lenovo Support

2020-10-11, 19:38 PM



According to the Lenovo Knowledge Base article here, a few Lenovo P1's are supported:  https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/pd031426  However they are supported for Ubuntu version 18.0.4  which is not the most recent release.  


It is important which microprocessor and which graphics adapters are installed.


With Microsoft Windows version 10 there is one and only one organization producing, selling, and shipping the product, and one and only one graphical desktop program.


For "Linux" there are more than a hundred organizations packaging and shipping "distributions," and each one of those distributions has an additional choice of more than a hundred graphical desktop environments.


Thankfully, you have specifically mentioned a desire for Ubuntu Linux, but you still need to select a graphical desktop environment.  The choices become narrower if your P1 is equipped with an Nvidia graphics card.  Fewer desktop environments work well or at all with the nvidia GPU's.  You must know EXACTLY which nvidia card you have.


So to install Ubuntu Linux on your P 1:


FIRST:  Backup your user data from Windows installation.  It is possible (maybe easy) to destroy the Windows sotware installation so backing up your personal data is desirable.  You do NOT need to back up the Windows configuration.  That is easily replaced from widely available sources.


SECOND:  Do you want to Dual boot so Windows 10 and Ubuntu can be selected at boot up?    It is easier not to multi boot but it is not hard to set that up.

      For Dual Boot:  Under Windows 10, with conventional electromagnetic hard drive:  Defrag, then Defrag again, and maybe a third time until the Defrag program says there is nothing more to do.

                                                             For SSD,  Any suggestions?  Defrag is inappropriate for solid state drives.

       Then under Windows File Explorer app, find the partition manager and shrink the windows partition.  If you drag the pointer too far and shrink the Windows partition too much, windows installation will be damaged and not work any more.  You will have to reinstall Windows.   Simply leave the unallocated space as unallocated space.  For SSD, some kind of disk partitioning sofware may be needed to shrink the Windows partition without destroying function of the Windows installation.  You might have to purchase a software for this.


THIRD:  Go to Ubuntu web site and download an installation package.  I think UBUNTU MATE might be more successful with Nvidia graphics, but that is an unsupported opinion of mine.  The exact same page where you found the installation package will have a special software or detailed instructions on how to write the downloaded file onto a bootable USB.  USE THOSE INSTRUCTIONS ONLY.  Different download packages have different instructions.  The packages are different from each other.


FOURTH:  Use Windows 10 SHUTDOWN command to turn your system off.  (REBOOT might work too.)  Most of the time the power button does NOT turn the computer off. It selects fast restart modes that completely skip entering BIOS.  You want to be able to enter BIOS screens.


FIFTH:  Insert the Bootable USB drive into a USB slot, while the system is OFF.  (If you used REBOOT you only have 2 seconds to insert it.  I don't know which 2 seconds to insert it so it will be useful.  You are on your own to figure that out.)  SHUTDOWN gives you plenty of time to insert the USB device before starting boot up sequence.


SIXTH:  Use your favorite method to enter the BIOS set up pages.  (Novo button is most convenient for me.)


SEVENTH:  Find the last page, and select "Set BIOS to Factory Defaults, optimize for OS."  Save Changes.  Then find the boot order screen and select BOOT from USB, move it to the top of the list.


EIGHTH:  Boot into the LIVE USB instance of Ubuntu MATE.  (If the USB is not available for booting, return to BIOS screens and disable Secure Boot, then make USB Booting the top of the boot order.


NINTH:  For several days, explore and enjoy using Ubuntu MATE from the Live USB instance.  If you discover something important does not work, figure out how to fix it BEFORE you install Ubuntu.  If it does not work, don't give up on Linux.  I use Fedora with no problems.  and there are about a hundred more to try...


TENTH:  Start the Ubuntu MATE installation program.  Tell it to use the unallocated partition and accept the pre-configured partition plan.  DO NOT install Legacy BIOS or Legacy MBR.  You will install into "EFI and gpt partion tables.  If you have nvidia graphics you want to use XOrg windowing program and NOTHING else.  Lots of desktop graphic environments do NOT use X systems, Nvidia has not programmed the newer graphical systems into their drivers.   Lastly, Ubuntu MATE Web page will have lots of advice:  https://ubuntu-mate.org/about/


Good Luck!



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  • Message 3 of 3

Re:Lenovo Support

2020-10-13, 11:02 AM

As far as I understood, Lenovo does not support Linux on the P51. They announced Fedora (not Ubuntu!) support for the P51, but they never followed up on their promise. Not until today at least.


Apparently there are all kind of hiccups and problems. Until know, the announced Fedora support is only delivered for the Carbon X1 gen 8. And only in the United States. Maybe there are other countries included, but Lenovo is very fuzzy and mysterious about release dates, differences between countries and other useful information a client needs to make a profound buying decision. (I think they call this 'marketing'.)


In the mean time, there is also Ubuntu support for the Carbon X1 gen 8 (again, US only?) and three other models. Not the original models that were announced, though. Probably because they aren't being sold anymore. And is seems that as a business-customer, there are more options when you call Lenovo then they present on their website. I've tried that in The Netherlands, but here the Linux support is not there yet. (can be in two weeks, or two months, but at least this year, according to the sales-representative.)


If you have bought a Lenovo laptop based on the announcement, you just have bad luck. (read: you are conned by the Marketing-department of Lenovo) Maybe they try to do their best, but there is no official support. Maybe your model is certified for Ubuntu and/or Fedora. But that doesn't mean much. As you discovered.


Better reach out to the Ubuntu open-source community. Just as when you should do when you buy from another laptop-manufacturer. 


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