IBM Thinkpad R40 Series Type 2681

IBM Thinkpad R40 BIOS upgrade process with Grub4DOS, and other useful links

Posted on March 08, 2014

WARNING: Please note that this article was published a long time ago. The information contained might be outdated.

Ok... I did it again. I bought a new computer. Actually, a new old computer. A great IBM Thinkpad R40 2681. Ubuntu 13.10 Server runs pretty good (the first boot after shutdown generates a kernel panic, but the second boot is always ok). The interesting part of this short story is the BIOS upgrade process I followed. Since I removed Microsoft Windows as soon as I could, I was unable to follow the standard upgrade process so I began searching other ways to do it. I found a very good how-to on The idea is to prepare a USB flash drive with Grub4DOS and let Grub load the DOS boot image extracted from the ThinkPad BIOS update diskette .exe file. The DOS boot image contains the IBM Thinkpad System Program Service Utility that will guide the user through the upgrade process. Just one note, I had to partition the USB drive using parted before being able to install Grub on the Master Boot Record of the drive.

Some links:

Some screenshots:

Grub4DOS boot screenshot

IBM Thinkpad R40 BIOS update screenshot

IBM Thinkpad R40 BIOS update warning screenshot