Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

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Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

Postby pusha » 2019-11-04 14:36

Whenever I close the lid and open it, the screen stays permanently blank.

I've updated to the latest BIOS, I have tried reinstalling Debian. I've tried to switch from nouveau to nvidia. I still have the same problem. I thought Thinkpad should work rather well with GNU/Linux but I guess it doesn't any longer these days. :(
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Re: Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

Postby kedaha » 2019-11-04 20:30

Hi,
Only thing I can think of at the moment is to try the buster-backports kernel. Assuming it is for amd64:
linux-image-amd64 | 5.2+107~bpo10+1
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Re: Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

Postby pusha » 2019-11-05 14:42

kedaha wrote:Hi,
Only thing I can think of at the moment is to try the buster-backports kernel. Assuming it is for amd64:
linux-image-amd64 | 5.2+107~bpo10+1


What particular kernel should I install? How do I do it?
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Re: Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

Postby kedaha » 2019-11-05 15:04

What is your present kernel?
$ uname -a
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Re: Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

Postby oswaldkelso » 2019-11-05 18:58

I'd check to see if it has good support on the Debian wiki (check other distros also for the same issue) iirc they support Suse so check if it has support there and their solutions . After that I'd look at you bios and see if it has any whitelisting that may effect it. My T520 was a pile of poop until I replaced the whitelisted bios. Now it's quite a nice machine.

I'll not buy another Thinkpad unless it has a decent unwhite-listed bios. Search for "thinkpad w541 bios whitelist?" or similar to see if you can find any info

ymmv Good luck
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Re: Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

Postby pusha » 2019-11-06 12:08

kedaha wrote:What is your present kernel?
$ uname -a


This is 4.19.0, Debian 4.19.67-2+deb10u1 (2019-09-20).

Debian 10.1.
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Re: Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

Postby pusha » 2019-11-06 12:12

oswaldkelso wrote:I'd check to see if it has good support on the Debian wiki (check other distros also for the same issue) iirc they support Suse so check if it has support there and their solutions . After that I'd look at you bios and see if it has any whitelisting that may effect it. My T520 was a pile of poop until I replaced the whitelisted bios. Now it's quite a nice machine.

I'll not buy another Thinkpad unless it has a decent unwhite-listed bios. Search for "thinkpad w541 bios whitelist?" or similar to see if you can find any info

ymmv Good luck


The machine supposedly has good support for GNU/Linux, from reaching articles such as these:

https://mbogochow.wordpress.com/2015/07 ... kpad-w541/

https://gist.github.com/storrgie/d97f96 ... 1cd27ab1f3

They don't talk about any problems with closing the lid or other things that make the display go blank like I experience. This isn't a trivial problem, if you can't close the lid or have any event that blanks the screen never recover, it basically makes the laptop useless with GNU/Linux.

The only thing they do mention is this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_osi=\"!Windows 2013\""

However, I've tried that, and other variants of it.

A BIOS whitelist is simply a list of hardware that machine will detect and work with. This is not a problem here, my wireless adapter works, after providing it with the correct firmware. The display also works, everything more or less works, except that any event that blanks the screen never allows it to recover.

I can mention that changing to a console with e.g. ctrl+alt+f1 does make the display turn back on. However, I can't switch back to X (ctrl+alt+f7): It stays stuck in "This session is locked You'll be redirected to the unlock dialog automatically in a few seconds.".
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Re: Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-11-06 18:48

pusha wrote:
kedaha wrote:Hi,
Only thing I can think of at the moment is to try the buster-backports kernel. Assuming it is for amd64:
linux-image-amd64 | 5.2+107~bpo10+1


What particular kernel should I install? How do I do it?

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=139003
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Re: Thinkpad W541 doesn't work with Debian 10

Postby stevepusser » 2019-11-06 18:52

Is it suspending to RAM when you close the lid, or just turning off the screen?
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