Thinkpad T420 Owner's Thread

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by PatchySan, Apr 8, 2011.

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  1. PatchySan

    PatchySan Om Noms Kit Kat

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    NBR ThinkPad T420 Owners Information Thread

    • From June 2014 onwards this page will be left for archive purposes and will receive irregular updates.
    • As the HTML coding on this forum is broken this thread is currently in a temporary basic layout.
    • Some links may not direct correctly due to the migration of the forum software which unfortunately is beyond my control.

    Welcome to the NBR ThinkPad T420 Owner's Thread! This is a continuation of the original T420/T420s Owners Thread which has been separated to make things easier for people to refer the standard T420 model only. If you want to discuss the slimmer T420s model then please go to the dedicated ThinkPad T420s Owner's Thread linked here. This thread has been nominated as part of NBR's Amazing Content scheme, so special thanks to those who voted for this thread!

    Since there are various threads scattered in regards to this particular model I thought it be wise to start this thread so owners and prospective owners of the standard T420 can share their experiences and queries in one area. If this thread proved useful to you then it would be nice if you can show your appreciation by adding a "like". It's not mandatory but doing so just tells me that my work on maintaining the page is not in vain!!

    Why Should I Buy a ThinkPad T420?

    You're probably wondering why you should buy a ThinkPad T420 when you can just acquire a newer model. There are actually a number of benefits to why a ThinkPad T420 is a worthwhile purchase for those looking for a great value notebook:

    * It's pretty robust - The ThinkPad T420 was built to withstand the hectic lifestyle of the mobile professional, so things like minor drops, bashes, vibrations should have been no problem for this model where most would fall apart. In fact you can even stand on it and it would still be running along (though I wouldn’t advise doing this yourself!).

    * Inexpensive for what it is – Since the majority of T420’s are at least 3 years old many would have been returned to their supplier from businesses and large corporations as part of an “IT refresh”.

    As a result there is flood of ex-leased T420’s for sale and that means bargains can be had on the second hand market. I’ll be honest with you I feel pretty sad considering I shelled out £800+ on a T420 when it was brand new! You can also afford to be choosy and select the best spec and condition depending on the budget.

    So why buy a low spec Celeron or AMD A4 laptop where a faster Core i5 or even Core i7 machine can be had for even cheaper? At the time of writing the average price for a ThinkPad T420 ranges between £120-£210 in the UK and $140-$250 in the US. I would recommend having a budget of no more than 180 for this model.

    If you're handy with a screwdriver and not fussed with cosmetics you can even acquire and fix up a T420 into working condition for less than 100 bucks.

    * For most tasks it’s still pretty capable - Sandy Bridge was a big step forward in its time for efficiency and performance. Today you probably find that some of these processors can still keep up or even out muster the latest ULV counterparts found on the newer models. So if you find yourself just browsing the web, doing office documents or even the odd Virtual Machine you may find the T420 can run these tasks just fine today! It begs the question - why pay more?

    * It's not fussy on the batteries - What this means is that unlike the T430, the T420 doesn't utilise a battery authentication chip that may prevent it from charging or working altogether. So as well as genuine batteries you can also buy third-party battery and still expect it to work reasonably. You can also use a T430 battery in a T420 if you want but this can’t be done vice-versa. As such you can save money buy opting for OEM compatible batteries instead (though I personally prefer genuine ones myself).

    * It’s customizable – The beauty of a ThinkPad in general is that you can upgrade or even strip out parts and make a completely new higher specification model than the one Lenovo ever shipped out from the factory. The T420 is no different and it benefits from having socketed CPUs (Quad Cores swaps), Upgradeable RAM (max 16GB, can run at higher speeds above 1333MHz), Additional Hard Drive capability via the Ultrabay and Mini PCI-Express slot and even some gorgeous FHD IPS screen swaps. At the end of the day what you do with the T420 is completely up to you - make it unique, make it yours!

    * It has wide, long term support – While some vendors tend to cease future support once the model has been released for a few years (I’m looking at you Sony) Lenovo has been pretty good on supporting models that are running way beyond their typical lifespan. You will find updated driver support for the latest Windows OS, Linux or even “Hackintoshes” if that’s your thing. There is something for everybody with the T420.

    Also if you require parts and maintenance guides for the T420 there's plenty of resources for that too which can be found on this thread.

    * It's the last of its kind for the famed "7-Row" Keyboard - The ThinkPad T420 is part of a generation that was the last of its kind to adopt the highly praised 7-Row Traditional Keyboard layout. Newer models now adopt the 6-Row Chiclet style keyboard which alters many shortcuts from the previous models. If you are not accustomed to the new layout and wish to keep the 7-Row layout then the T420 is one of the last models you can buy that uses the traditional 7-Row keyboard layout.

    I hope the little write up above helped made a case for considering a T420. Feel free to add some tips, suggestions or even requests for advice about the ThinkPad T420 on this thread.

    Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Reviews

    NBR Reviews

    T420 User Review by Sprtnbsblplya

    T420 User Review by ThinkRob

    T420 User Review by Ferganer80

    T420 User Review by Hearst (PatchySan)

    T420 User Review by Agb22

    T420 User Review by Jazdc

    T420 User Review by Oxlmoos

    T420 User Review by Jjahshik32

    T420 User Review by EZjijy

    T420 User Review by Stevek216

    T420 User Review by Sr1650nx

    T420 User Review by Alexb1

    T420 User Review by Virtualjock

    T420 Press Reviews

    T420 Press Review by PC World

    T420 Press Review by PC Advisor

    T420 Press Review by PC Perspective

    T420 Press Review by Notebook Review

    T420 Press Review by Notebook Check

    T420 Press Review by The Hikaku (JP)

    T420 Press Review by Notebook Journal (German/Deutsch)

    T420 Press Review by Computer Shopper

    T420 Press Review by Laptop Magazine

    T420 Press Review by APC Magazine

    T420 Press Review by Good Gear Guide

    T420 Press Review by CNET

    Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Toolbox
    Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Drivers
    If you need a specific driver for your ThinkPad T420 then have a look at the Lenovo Support site for assistance.

    Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Hardware Maintenance Manual
    This guide will aid you on maintaining and upgrading your T420 components from memory modules to a whole system board change.

    Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Video Support Training
    If you like a visual guide on how to maintain your T420 then check out Lenovo's Support Training site.

    Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Parts Lookup
    Curious to see what Lenovo actually put in your system? You can view all the details by simply accessing the Parts Lookup page and entering your Model Type and Serial Number. Take note these parts are unique to your system only and does not represent all other T420's.

    Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Parts Directory
    Need to replace something on your T420 but just don't know what part number you're looking for? Visit Lenovo's System Service Parts site to find the right FRU number for your system.

    PatchySan's Microsoft Windows 7 ISO Images
    For those who wish to perform a clean install rather than use the manufacturer factory image I have compiled an "All-In-One" Windows 7 ISO which contains all the editions in both 32 and 64 bit.

    Lenovo "Think" Wallpapers
    Reformatted your T420 but forgot to backup the OEM wallpapers? And you like them too? Doh! Nevermind you can get them back with the help of member "Kaso". Alternatively if you like the older ThinkPad wallpapers such as the World Time Zone image you can get it from this site here.

    T420 NBR Search Facility
    Use the above link for a specific search query on the ThinkPad T420 Owner's Thread.

    Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Guides

    ThinkPad T420 UEFI Install + mSATA Installation Guide
    The thread created by "ferganer80" explains on how to do a UEFI mSATA install on your ThinkPad T420.

    mSATA - A Basic Primer
    If you're on the fence on whether to get a mSATA drive then LoneWolf15 has written a great article on all you need to know about them.

    ThinkPad T420 Thermal Paste Replacement Tutorial
    Member "iCrazyNoob" created a tutorial on how to access the CPU heatsink and change the thermal paste on the ThinkPad T420.

    PatchySan's Guide to Clean Installing Windows 7 on the ThinkPad
    This guide will show you how to perform a clean installation of Windows 7 on your ThinkPad system.

    Dolby Home Theatre Sound for the ThinkPad T420
    ThinkPad T420 owners can now benefit the enhanced sounds from Dolby! An installation guide and files are available on this main thread. You can read about my experiences with this Dolby driver here.

    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
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  2. PatchySan

    PatchySan Om Noms Kit Kat

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    Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Q&A Section

    Q. What is the ThinkPad T420?
    A. Carrying on with its lineup tradition, the ThinkPad T420 is Lenovo's mainstream 14" notebook primarily designed for business users and mobile professionals in mind. Launched in Early 2011, the ThinkPad T420 utilises Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture which offers benefits in both processor and graphics performance over its predecessor. Key features and changes includes:
    The ThinkPad T420 has been superceded by the ThinkPad T430 on June 2012. It's also worth noting that the T420 will be the last T-Series ThinkPad to adopt the Traditional 7 Row Keyboard Layout, the T430 instead will use the new 6 Row Chiclet Keyboard Layout (officially called the "ThinkPad Precision Keyboard") as seen on the ThinkPad Edge notebooks.

    Q. What's the difference between a T420i model to the standard T420?

    A. In truth not much, the "i" designation is Lenovo's way of saying it's a budget configuration of that model. Apart from the limited choices of processors (Core i3 to low end Core i5) and base graphics (Intel HD 3000) architecturally it's identical to that of a normal T420 model.

    Q. What's the screen quality like on the ThinkPad T420?
    A. You can view opinions and discuss your own experiences of the T420 screen with these two particular threads:

    - T420 Screen - How is it?
    - Lenovo T420 screen quality question!
    - T420 Screen Quality Acceptable or Not?
    - T420 AUO (garbage) panel replaced with LG (acceptable) panel

    I also written a little section in comparison to a different panel on a rival machine, the Dell Latitude E6420.

    Q. I got my ThinkPad T420 but I want to know what screen panel Lenovo put in my system. How do I find out?
    A. You can use free system information programs such as "PC Wizard" or "HWInfo32" to find out the panel you're using on the system.

    Thanks to a number of T420 users we're able to decipher the two official HD+ panels in which Lenovo may provide in your T420. One additional HD+ panel is added to the database but is unknown whether its supported on the T420, however being a T420s panel chances that it will work are quite high. But we still need help on deciphering the HD (1366x768) resolution panels. Can you assist us? If you have these panels simply go to the Lenovo Parts Lookup page and enter your model and serial number to find out which panel is fitted in your T420. If you can aid us on our screen panel database then it would be appreciated (plus you get credited too!) :)

    ThinkPad T420 HD (1366x768) Resolution Panels:

    There are 5 panels on offer which are unknown at this time.
    - 93P5691
    - 93P5687
    - 04W0476
    - 93P5695
    - 93P5697

    LG LP140WH2-TLM2 panel
    Lenovo Panel ID: LEN40A0
    Lenovo FRU: N/A

    Samsung LTN140AT20401 panel [Thanks Coolguyrocks]
    Lenovo Panel ID: SEC304C
    Lenovo FRU: N/A

    ThinkPad T420 HD+ (1600x900) Resolution Panels:

    AU Optronics (AUO) B140RW02 V1 panel
    Lenovo Panel ID: LEN40A1
    Lenovo FRU: 93P5693
    0x   00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
    00 | 00 FF FF FF FF FF FF 00 06 AF 3E 21 00 00 00 00
    10 | 21 14 01 03 90 1F 11 78 02 61 95 9C 59 52 8F 26
    20 | 21 50 54 00 00 00 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01
    30 | 01 01 01 01 01 01 F8 2A 40 9A 61 84 0C 30 40 2A
    40 | 33 00 35 AE 10 00 00 18 A5 1C 40 9A 61 84 0C 30
    50 | 40 2A 33 00 35 AE 10 00 00 18 00 00 00 FE 00 41
    60 | 55 4F 0A 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 00 00 00 FE
    70 | 00 42 31 34 30 52 57 30 32 20 56 31 20 0A 00 D0
    LG-Philips LP140WD2 (TL)(B1) panel [Thanks LoneWolf15]
    Lenovo ID: LEN40A1/LGD02E2
    Lenovo FRU: 93P5689

    Samsung LTN140TK panel [Unofficial panel for T420 but could work as its used on the T420s* - *Source: Windsor]
    Lenovo ID: LEN40A1
    Lenovo FRU: 93P5685

    Q. Can I change my T420 screen to a different panel from what Lenovo provides? Like can I use a glossy screen instead for example?
    A. It turns out the T420 is not as fussy with the EDID as first thought. I managed to do a straight swap with an AUO B140RW02 v0 Glossy Panel and it works like a charm. So theoretically it could work with similar panel offerings from LG-Philips and Samsung.

    UPDATE: I have used various compatible replacement panels that was intended to be used for other makes (e.g. Dell, HP) and they all worked fine with the ThinkPad T420 as long it uses a 40pin LVDS connector. For full compatibility on all panels you must have the HD+ LVDS cable (FRU: 04W1618) installed.

    Q. Is there a way to improve the screen a little bit? Are there any ICC Profiles I could use?
    A. You can have a read on this thread to obtain the ICC Profile for the T420 along with instructions. For AUO Displays you can try with this ICC Profile from Notebook Check (right-click and save profile).

    Q. Can I fit the newer generation 14" IPS screens into the ThinkPad T420?
    A. As of 2015 advancements in technology means that there are now eDP to LVDS adaptors that can be used to allow high resolution 14" IPS panels found on the newer T440 models to be used in the T420. The adaptors are made by dedicated modders from the Chinese 51nb ThinkPad forum (RMSMajestic & Javi-Jie).

    NOTE: At the time of writing the eDP to LVDS board for the standard T420 model has been suspended due to flickering problems. They have mentioned a revised version will be released later but is unconfirmed. More details can be found here.

    A guide for this modification was created by BASLQC which can be found here for those who want to try out this modification.

    Q. I want to upgrade the memory (RAM) on my ThinkPad T420, which type works on my system?
    A. The ThinkPad T420 by default takes 1333 MHz (PC3-10600) 204-Pin DDR3 1.5v SODIMM modules. It can accept the lower voltage 1.35v DDR3L modules as well.

    For extended answers you can have a browse of these particular threads:

    - Which type of RAM for T420??
    - T-420 Questions

    If you're keen on the compatibility of the higher speed RAMs then you can have a read of this thread. As a note to run at speeds which exceed the standard 1333MHz rating you may need to run an older BIOS for it to work, it has been said that anything below BIOS 1.37-1.11 will allow this. More information about the BIOS and RAM timings can be found here.

    UPDATE (15/11/2015): There is a modified 1.46 BIOS (Oleh) for the ThinkPad T420 which unlocks additional features including RAM timings for supported modules. The BIOS can be obtained from this link.

    Warning: This BIOS is not endorsed by Lenovo and could potentially brick or cause instability on the T420. Only flash if you are willing to accept the risks involved.

    Q. Any tips on how I can access the second DIMM slot underneath the keyboard?
    You can use my brief instructions on how to do this tricky procedure here. It's also best to coincide this with the Hardware Maintenance Manual and Lenovo's Service Training videos to get an idea of the procedure.

    Q. What is the compatibility of the ThinkPad UltraBay Slim Enhanced HDD Caddy with the ThinkPad T420?
    A. User "sprtnbsblplya" kindly shared his experiences using the official Lenovo caddy. Alternatively if foam filling is not your preference, you can have a read of my experiences with the unofficial 12.7mm caddy courtesy of Digizon.

    UPDATE (06/03/2012): Lenovo have now released an official 12.7mm hard drive caddy (p/n: 0A65623) that fits flush with the ThinkPad T420. More information can be found here.

    Q. Can you advise me which SSD option is best for the ThinkPad T420?
    A. There's no right or wrong answer to this as it's a matter of preference. Have a look at this thread where you can weigh both the pros and cons of having either the mSATA SSD drives or the Standard Sized SSD drives.

    Q. Is it possible to fit a Sandy Bridge Mobile Quad Core CPU inside a ThinkPad T420?
    A. User "shleepy" shared his experiences fitting a Core i7-2720QM processor inside the ThinkPad T420. I even tried this out later which you can read about it here.

    Later user "Towlieee" had mentioned that the Core i7-2670QM processor also works fine in the T420 found here. However it has been reported that the Core i7-2630QM processor is not compatible with the T420 as discovered by user "pod3r".

    Q. How does the discrete graphics card perform on the ThinkPad T420 for gaming?
    A. User "XX55XX" described his experiences on gaming using the ThinkPad T420 equipped with the NVIDIA Quadro 4200M graphics card.

    Q. Can I run "eGPU" on my ThinkPad T420?
    A. Yes you can run eGPU via the Expresscard slot on the T420 if you find the stock graphic cards to be lacking on a specific purpose. Have a read from following users on experiences using the eGPU setup with the T420:

    - A general eGPU discussion thread on the T420 can be viewed here.

    - User "sprtnbsblplya" describing their experiences on eGPU here.

    - User "stevenplanet" describing their experiences on eGPU here.

    - User "iCrazyNoob" describing their experiences on eGPU here.

    For up to date support and information on eGPU setups it is recommended to visit the eGPU Experiences thread.

    Note: Lenovo have fixed the memory resource allocation issue from BIOS version 1.35+ which allows eGPU to work so a downgrade to BIOS 1.15 is no longer necessary.

    Note 2: There have been reports that the newer BIOS rams the CPU performance with the eGPU setup thus affecting performance. Therefore it is recommended to use BIOS 1.37-1.11 for those who have eGPU setups with their T420.

    Q. Where is the mSATA slot on the ThinkPad T420?
    A. It's located underneath the system alongside the DIMM slot, for more details read here.

    Q. I'm travelling around and want to be assured that my ThinkPad T420 can be serviced in a different country. How can I check this?
    A. Use the IWS (International Warranty Service) site to determine if your T420 is eligible for warranty work in your chosen country. Click on the "ThinkPad" link and type in the first four numbers of the model number, not the serial tag.

    Q. Does the ThinkPad T420 support SATA III (SATA 6GB/s)?
    A. All ThinkPads with Huron River architecture support SATA III speeds, this includes the ThinkPad T420.

    Q. What speeds does the mSATA drives operate in the ThinkPad T420?
    A. The mSATA drives operate at SATA II speeds in the ThinkPad T420. The main drive as well as the Ultrabay operates at SATA III speeds however.

    Q. I have an Intel 510 SSD in my ThinkPad T420 and everytime I do a restart it hangs on the ThinkPad screen for more than 30 seconds. Is there a fix to this?
    A. This has been a well known issue on Sandy Bridge ThinkPad notebooks, it did took a while but a fix has been issued to eradicate this problem. All you need to do is upgrade the BIOS to version 1.39-1.18 or higher.

    Q. I like to upgrade the Wireless to something like the Bigfoot Killer Wireless N cards. Is this possible?
    A. Normally you can't as Lenovo implements a vendor lock (whitelist) which prevents unauthorised wireless cards to work. But running a modified BIOS with the whitelist removed should solve this problem.

    You can find a whitelisted T420 BIOS from the ThinkWiki page here.

    Warning: All BIOS flashes whether its official or not will have an element of risk that could brick the system and may invalidate your warranty as a result!

    Q. Where it normally has the "ThinkPad" logo on the BIOS screen can I change it to something different on my T420?
    A. Yes you can, you will need to download the BIOS image from Lenovo (not the bootable disc version) and extract the contents on your drive. Once done you will need to make a 16 color, 4 bit bitmap image within a 640x480 resolution (though it can be smaller) and save it as "LOGO.bmp". The image also has to be below 30kb for it to be accepted by the BIOS flasher.

    From experience it takes a lot of effort to get within reasonable quality and be below 30kb (compressed RLE does not work unfortunately). You will also lose the original ThinkPad image so be warned if you plan to restore later!

    Warning: All BIOS flashes whether its official or not will have an element of risk that could brick the system and may invalidate your warranty as a result!

    Q. I need help on using the Displayport on the T420. What cable do I need to output both video and sound?
    A. User "Jesper Juul" initially had problems to get the sound working via Displayport. He persisted however and with a new cable in hand it turned out to be the solution to his problems. An alternative working Displayport adaptor is also mentioned by "Blinder". If you managed you get Displayport working on your T420 then it would be appreciated if you can spare a few moments and fill out a tiny questionnaire so you can help others on the issue.

    Q. I'm having problems powering off my screen during work sessions via the Power Manager, is there alternative solution to this feature?
    A. User "Power7" posted his suggestion where you can use a command line to do the same job more consistently.

    Q. I find the volume level when I use my headphones to be a bit quiet on the T420, is there any way to remedy this?
    A. User "drinkingbird" describes a method of increasing the headphone volume on the T420 from this post.

    Q. I find the speaker sound quality on the ThinkPad T420 to be poor, is there a way to make it a bit better?
    A. You can use the Dolby Home Theatre mod which enhances the sounds of the stock speakers tremendously. User "600X" describes the method of loading the Dolby driver here.

    Word of caution, due to the unofficial support of these drivers the Dolby Home Theatre v4 Drivers will not work with the ThinkPad dock or via HDMI output. If you use either of these frequently then it is recommended to stick to the original Conexant audio drivers instead. Tips to boost volume with the stock audio drivers is on question above.

    Q. I'm having latency issues that's affecting my audio experience on the T420. Are there any fixes to this?
    A. Have a read on this thread here to see if it can help improve the latency issue on your T420.

    Q. What's the best method of cleaning the rubber finish on my ThinkPad T420?
    A. View this thread to see how others take care cleaning the rubber finish of their own ThinkPads. If you hate cleaning the rubber finish you could always vinyl wrap the lid for easy maintenance.

    Q. I hate the rubber coated dimple finish of the Trackpad! Can I get rid of it?
    A. Yes you can! Have a read of this post on how to obtain a smooth trackpad surface. Alternatively you can vinyl wrap the palm rest and it will still work, more info can be found here.

    Q. I'm having difficulty with gesture scrolling on the ThinkPad T420, is there a way to improve it?
    A. Have a try with either this method or the "Two Finger Scroll App" to see if it improves the gesture scrolling feature.

    Q. What are the dimensions and weight of the ThinkPad T420?
    A. Lenovo released a data specsheet containing a wealth of specifications including dimensions and weight. Also have a read of the user reviews for a real world perspective of the T420.

    Q. I'm having trouble with the hinges on the T420 and Lenovo will not take it in for repair under warranty?
    A. This is dependant on the location you're based but some regions tend to be more strict on what is deemed as "defective" and "wear and tear" (particularly in EMEA areas). Assuming you have problems with the machine that is less than a year old...

    - If the rep initially refuses to take it in remain stay calm, don't get aggressive as it helps no one.

    - Have evidence, as well your reciepts having video evidence definitely helps making the case more clearer for engineers and senior staff to assess the situation. Ask for their email address so you can post the links to them (use YouTube instead of uploading the movie files on emails).

    - Get a second opinion on the Lenovo forums along with the evidence. The staff on the forums are very helpful and assisted me greatly when I had troubles with the system.

    - If they won't budge, escalate to higher management if possible. Also state your rights depending on consumer law in your region.

    Fortunately I had a happy ending on the issue where you can read up on this post.

    Q. One/Both of my touchpad mouse buttons have broken, do I need to change the whole palmrest to fix this?
    A. Fortunately you don't need to change the whole palmrest to get working touchpad mouse buttons. The part number you need is 60Y9991 (this isn't actually listed on the T420 parts list from Lenovo!) which can be a bit tricky to find. However I sourced my replacement buttons from this seller from AliExpress and it works perfectly. All you need to do is take out the palmrest, disconnect the small ribbon cable and unscrew the old mouse buttons out. Then place the new buttons in and simply reverse the steps to get it all working again!

    Q. I'm having trouble installing the latest Intel HD Graphics drivers on my ThinkPad T420, what method do I need to do to get this on?
    A. If for some reason you have trouble installing the Intel HD Graphics on your ThinkPad T420 then try installing the driver manually instead of using the installer. First download the latest driver and run the file, it will tell you where you want to extract the contents to. Take note of the location and when the extraction completes it will ask whether you want to "Install the Intel HD Graphics", uncheck the box and close the installer.

    Go to Device Manager, open the Display Adapters and on Intel HD Graphics, right-click and select "Update Driver Software...". On the following window, select the second option "Browse My Computer For Driver Software", browse and direct it to the directory of where you extracted your Intel HD Graphics driver early on. Afterwards click "Next" and it will begin installing the new graphics driver, the screen may flicker or go black but this is normal. Once done you maybe required to restart the system so make sure you save any work before doing so.

    Q. Can I remap certain keys on my T420 keyboard to do something else (i.e Toggle Forward/Back keys to perform Page Up/Down instead)?
    A. Have a read of this thread for more info on how to remap certain keys on your T420.

    Q. I like to toggle the Touchpad on/off using the FN+F8 Hotkeys but i'm using Linux and it doesn't work...
    A. User "Verbtim" kindly uploaded a script that enables such facility under Linux which you can access from here.

    Q. Can I use the T420 as a "Hackintosh" machine?
    A. Yes you can, while it's not 100% perfect it's still very much usable. Check out this forum guide for more information.

    Q. Can you tell me which Windows OS can run on the ThinkPad T420?
    A. Lenovo provides driver support on the ThinkPad T420 for the following Windows Operating Systems:

    - Windows 2000*
    - Windows XP*
    - Windows Vista
    - Windows 7 (Default OS shipped with system)
    - Windows 8/8.1
    - Windows 10**

    * Microsoft have ceased support for these operating systems and therefore, is not recommended for newer installations at the time of writing.

    ** Intel has abandoned official support for Sandy Bridge chipsets on Windows 10 so compatibility on clean installs may be flaky - proceed with caution.

    Q. What are the dimensions and weight of the ThinkPad T420?
    A. Lenovo released a data specsheet containing a wealth of specifications including dimensions and weight. Also have a read of the user reviews for a real world perspective of the T420.

    Q. Where can I purchase spare parts for my ThinkPad T420?
    A. There's many ways to approach this, the official route would be via your Lenovo/IBM dealer where they carry pretty much most spare parts for your ThinkPad T420 and it would be in brand new condition. Downsides is that it's very expensive and delivery costs are equally high.

    Alternatively auction sites such as eBay can be a good source for salvage T420 parts but condition and item specification may vary so do be careful (particularly LCD screens, be wary of compatible replacements if you're looking for a specific panel). Another place I tend to look around is AliExpress where you can source official and OEM compatible parts at favourable rates for your T420, it's also pretty good at finding odd and hard to find items too.

    Q. PatchySan... what specifications does your ThinkPad T420(s) have?

    Sanae-Alpina! (Original Review Model)

    * Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.5GHz Dual Core Processor
    * Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM
    * Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
    * Samsung 830 128GB SSD
    * Samsung Spinpoint M9T ST2000LM003 2TB 5400RPM Hard Disk Drive
    * AUO B140RW02 V0 HD+ (1600x900) Glossy Screen
    * Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN Wireless Card
    * 9 Cell 55++ Battery
    * No Fingerprint, Modem or Smart Card added
    * Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64
    * Lenovo ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 (4338) + Lenovo 135w Power Brick


    * Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.5GHz Dual Core Processor
    * Corsair 16GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM
    * Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
    * Samsung 830 128GB SSD
    * Fujitsu 500GB 5400RPM Hard Disk Drive
    * AUO B140RW02 V1 HD+ (1600x900) Matte Screen
    * Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN Wireless Card
    * 9 Cell 55++ Battery
    * Fingerprint, Webcam and Modem.
    * Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64
    * Lenovo 90w Power Brick

    Niconiconi Coffee!

    * Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.5GHz Dual Core Processor
    * Mixed 8GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
    * Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
    * Sandisk Z400s 128GB SSD
    * UltraBay Enhanced DVD Multi III (Sony Optiarc)
    * LG LP140WD2-TLB1 Ultrasharp HD+ (1600x900) Matte Screen [Dell Part!]
    * Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 AGN Wireless Card
    * 6 Cell 55+ Battery
    * Smartcard, Webcam and Modem.
    * Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64
    * Lenovo 90w Power Brick


    * Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.1GHz Dual Core Processor
    * Mixed 8GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
    * Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
    * Sandisk SSD Plus 240GB SSD
    * UltraBay Enhanced DVD Multi III (Sony Optiarc)
    * Chi Mei N140BGE-L11 HD+ (1600x900) Matte Screen [Dell Part!]
    * Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 AGN Wireless Card
    * 6 Cell 55+ Battery
    * Smartcard and Fingerprint
    * Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64
    * Lenovo 90w Power Brick


    * Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.1GHz Dual Core Processor
    * Mixed 8GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
    * Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
    * Plextor M5M 256GB mSATA SSD
    * UltraBay Enhanced DVD Multi III (Hitachi-LG)
    * AUO B140XW03 v1 (1366x768) Matte Screen [Bleh!]
    * Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 AGN Wireless Card
    * 6 Cell 81+ Battery
    * Smartcard and Webcam
    * Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64
    * Lenovo 90w Power Brick


    * Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.1GHz Dual Core Processor
    * Crucial 16GB DDR3 1600MHz 1.35v RAM
    * Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
    * Sandisk SSD Plus 240GB SSD
    * Samsung Momentus 1TB ST1000LM024 5400RPM Hard Disk Drive
    * AUO B140HAN01.2 FHD (1920x1080) IPS Matte Screen
    * RMSMajestic LVDS-eDP Converter Kit.
    * Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN Wireless Card
    * 6 Cell 81+ Battery
    * Smartcard, Fingerprint and Webcam
    * Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64
    * Lenovo 65w Power Brick

    ** This unit is the slim T420s model.

    Q. I decided to check the chipset revision of my ThinkPad T420 and it reports back as "REV_04", isn't this revision based on the faulty Intel SATA chipsets (B2 Stepping)? Articles online seem to suggest that I have a faulty SATA chipset on my T420...
    A. Before you get in a panic, Lenovo never shipped this particular stepping into their ThinkPad models but the software tends to crop up this unfortunate code causing a scare. Though of course such answer will probably not impress you so we're going to do a hands on check. Courtesy of the Lenovo forums via Mark@Lenovo, here's a way to check your system chipset revision:

    - Download "Intel AMT 7.1 Management Engine Firmware" and run the installer to extract the files.
    - Go to the Start Orb and type in "cmd", right-click on it and select "Run as Administrator", if necessary confirm the UAC prompt.
    - Type in "cd C:\drivers\win\me"
    - Type in "meinfowin.exe"
    - Scroll up and check the PCH version.

    If the version says 600004 then you have the faulty B2 stepping. In the unlikeliest event you have this, call Lenovo Support for assistance. :(

    If it reports 600005 then its the revised B3 stepping which is immune to the problem. :)

    Most likely your ThinkPad T420 should report the latter stepping to avoid any confusion with the Intel SATA debacle.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
    yaonyc and 2.0 like this.
  3. poiuytr

    poiuytr Notebook Enthusiast

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    Great first post! ;)
  4. mohdfaris

    mohdfaris Notebook Enthusiast

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    this is my first post. I've read in some post that user of W520 experiencing restart issue (warm boot) after installing intel 510 ssd. Currently I'm waiting for the 510 ssd. Will I be experiencing the same restart problem if I install the ssd?
  5. PatchySan

    PatchySan Om Noms Kit Kat

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    Hi mohdfaris, welcome to the forum! :) Currently there are some issues with the Intel 510 SSD on some ThinkPad systems, unfortunately this also applies to the T420 as I have this particular SSD (120GB version) and have trouble restarting the system normally.

    The problem is not as serious compared to the W520 (where it completely freezes forcing a hard reset) but it does hold the boot sequence for a while before initialising to Windows which is annoying. I'm currently using the latest SSD firmware from Intel and latest BIOS from Lenovo which doesn't help matters.

    Using a different SSD (I used OCZ Vertex II) strangely avoids the restart problem altogether so it's definitely linked to the Intel 510 SSD. At the moment i'm hoping Intel or Lenovo will release a fix to solve this unusual problem.

    Update: Intel suggests its SSD users not to use the BIOS password facility as it can potentially cause the system to lock up or crash. It's a vague workaround but I decided to post this message up just in case people use this combination on their systems - source.
  6. mohdfaris

    mohdfaris Notebook Enthusiast

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    thanks for the reply. I will certainly keep that in mind when I install my SSD.
  7. LoneWolf15

    LoneWolf15 The Chairman

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    Hey Hearst, great start to a good thread.

    The one thing I can think of is starting some queries on an LCD panel lottery. There are two FRUs for the HD+ display; I think there are two (though possibly three) for the standard HD display. Since each FRU likely corresponds to a different vendor, it may be useful to know exactly which panels are being supplied, and compare quality.

    Using, PC Wizard, it is possible to easily get good display info. My HD+ panel returns a model of LP140WD2-TLB1, made by LG-Philips; I think the quality is pretty good. If I understand right, you have mentioned AU Optronics as another vendor.
  8. PatchySan

    PatchySan Om Noms Kit Kat

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    Thanks for your input LoneWolf15, it's interesting to hear that you got a LG-Philips panel. LG-Philips tend to have a good history of being one of the better Lenovo panels so it looks like you're pretty fortunate with the panel lottery there LoneWolf15. ;)

    If you receive the LG-Philips panel then it should all fit together now, the AUO panel is the other option which I have since you can only have 2 HD+ panels for the T420. I will tag these findings on the Q&A section, by the way how does the LG-Philips panel fare? Do you notice any griddiness or severe graininess that tends to affect the AUO panel users?
  9. ferganer80

    ferganer80 Notebook Consultant

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    LoneWolf15, where did you find the model number for the monitor in PC-Wizard? I have LEN40A1 as "Product ID" and B140RW02 V1 as "Monitor Type". I suppose mine is the AUO panel as it really is griddy.
  10. PatchySan

    PatchySan Om Noms Kit Kat

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    B140RW02 V1 is indeed the AUO panel, yes I also notice griddiness with this panel as well on my T420. I'm starting to think that if you bought the Intel GPU option you more likely to end up with the AUO panel while with the NVIDIA GPU option you're more likely to get the LG panel instead. I could be wrong but its one possible theory...
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