ThinkPad W510

Initial configuration needed on a Debian GNU/Linux based system like CrunchBang


The ThinkPad W510 is actually a great piece of hardware and ThinkPad laptops are known to are "linux-friendly". But when you set up CrunchBang on a W510 and you finished the first-time setup, you'll sooner or later notice, that some stuff just doesn't work right.

For me this stuff was:

So I invested a few hours into investigation (googling) and finally found a solution for every one of those problems. I've also made a post about this at the CrunchBang forums in 2014.


Volume Buttons

This is the solution, the forum user drlove601 posted on the CB forums. Basically, PulseAudio is using the HDMI/DisplayPort as the primary output. To change this to the internal speakers and the headphone jack, you'll need to install the following two packages:

  • xfce4-mixer which is the frontend for mixer settings in Xfce
  • xfce4-settings which is the Xfce settings manager frontend

You can update your sources and install those packages with the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install xfce4-mixer xfce4-settings

How to switch the active sound card in crunchbang

  1. run xfce4-mixer and select the sound card you want to use in the dropdown
  2. run xfce4-settings-editor
  3. on the left hand side, select xfce4-mixer
  4. copy the content of sound-card
  5. paste it into active-card

If it's not working right away, you need to do a reboot.

Video driver & brightness control

Nouveau, the free video driver for nVidia's video cards may be okay, but in the case of the ThinkPad W510 I'm doing better (performance and temperature related) with the proprietary driver by nVidia.

Installing Packages

The following command will install the driver and the VDPAU packages.

sudo apt-get install nvidia-kernel-dkms nvidia-glx nvidia-xconfig nvidia-settings nvidia-vdpau-driver vdpau-va-driver

Now you need to backup your existing /etc/X11/xorg.conf, if it's even existing and let the driver create a new one. The following command will do this for you. Your backed up xorg.conf will be in: /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup

if [ -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf ];then sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup;fi && sudo nvidia-xconfig

Additional (awesome) features like working brightness buttons will be enabled, if you put the following code into the device section of the xorg.conf

# Disables Nvidia logo
Option         " NoLogo" "true"
# Fix Large fonts
Option         "DPI" "96 x 96"
# Power saving setting for Nvidia drivers
Option         "OnDemandVBlankInterrupts" "1"
# Enables overclocking gui
Option         "Coolbits" "1"
# Enables brightness control
Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"

TrackPoint scrolling

Last but not least there is the TrackPoint scrolling issue. I found the solution to this problem at the ThinkWiki.

Basically you just need to edit/create the file /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-thinkpad.conf and paste the following content into it:

Section "InputClass"
    Identifier	"Trackpoint Wheel Emulation"
    MatchProduct	"TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint|DualPoint Stick|Synaptics Inc. Composite TouchPad / TrackPoint|ThinkPad USB Keyboard with TrackPoint|USB Trackpoint pointing device|Composite TouchPad / TrackPoint"
    MatchDevicePath	"/dev/input/event*"
    Option		"EmulateWheel"		"true"
    Option		"EmulateWheelButton"	"2"
    Option		"Emulate3Buttons"	"false"
    Option		"XAxisMapping"		"6 7"
    Option		"YAxisMapping"		"4 5"

This exact code worked well on my T60 and T61 too, but if it doesn't work for you, you need to execute the following command to get every possible MatchProduct String:

sudo find /dev/input/event* -exec udevadm info --attribute-walk --name={} \; | grep -e product -e name | sort -u

Additional Tweaks

You can find additional tweaks for the W510 on the Linux Page, because they are related to Linux systems in general instead of the ThinkPad.