Elena had an old Thinkpad T30 that was moments away from hard drive failure, and I offered to take it off of her hands. I had some devious plans for a new drive and a Linux system!

  1. I ordered a new drive. It needed to be PATA/IDE, 2.5 inch, and I read that the T30 wouldn’t read much greater than 160 GB, so I went for 120 GB.

  1. I don’t know a ton about hardware, but I do know that you want a flat, clean, and static free working surface! I thought my table would be sufficient.

  1. As for tools, I was lucky to have a multi-tip screwdriver that my Dad must have snuck into my apartment for cases like these.

  1. The surgery beings! I had an idea of where everything was, but when it comes down to it, every computer is different. You don’t know until you dig in!

  1. Memory! And oooh la, la, space for more! If anyone needs any good birthday present ideas for September… although I might go ahead and buy more if I can’t wait!

  1. The other panel revealed the underside of the fan. How I wanted to dig in there and clean it out! It looked in relatively good shape considering the age of the machine (~4-5 years old).

  1. And finally, sliding out the hard drive. I want to point out that the metal case is screwed into four slots. each on two sides, and there are also mounting screw holes on the top side of the drive.

  1. Here is another view. The black plastic piece actually grabs onto the front two screws and is easy to wiggle out.

  1. After removing the old drive, we can see that it’s one of those Travelstars… holy cow, May 2003?! I was surprised to see that it was only 20GB. Yeah, I know… I should have investigated this beforehand!

  1. And here we have the disk drive. It’s pretty standard. It makes some awful clicking noises starting up, but works decently beyond that.

  1. After my initial exploration from the bottom of the machine:

  1. I had a strong desire to clean out that nasty fan, so I closed up the bottom panels and entered the machine by lifting up the keyboard:

  1. Look at that dust!

  1. The fan and cooling sink was held in by four tiny screws. Once removed, you could lift it out easily. I cleaned it up a bit.

  1. And lastly, of course, it’s time to put in the new HDD. I love the moment of tearing the static free packaging seal…

  1. and peeking in…

  1. Here we have the new brain! It’s a Western Digital 120GB “Scorpio Blue” 2.5 inch

  1. The next step was to remove the metal case from the old drive, and screw it into the new one. Remember how I mentioned the screws going into the four spots on the outside, as opposed to the top? This is where I initially made a mistake. I put two of the screws into the side, and when the other two wouldn’t go easily in, I figured putting them in the top slots would work just as well.

  1. Here you can see the screws that I put in on the bottom. Big mistake! The BIOS and Ubuntu didn’t detect the new drive, and it wasn’t until I thought about the slight difference in the screws, removed it, and carefully finagled them into all four of the outside slots that it worked. I wound up bringing the machine in to campus to show to the sweet tech guys in Soc. Psych, and we figured it out!

  1. To revert back to my initial Thinkpad Brain Surgery… here was the moment of turning it on…

  1. And after the drive was fixed and I installed Ubuntu – success! I named the machine “vubuntu.” I have more plans for this guy, all to be revealed in due time!

Suggested Citation:
Sochat, Vanessa. "Thinkpad Brain Surgery." @vsoch (blog), 03 Jul 2010, https://vsoch.github.io/2010/thinkpad-brain-surgery/ (accessed 16 Apr 24).