This morning I installed Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64 VL on my Lenovo ThinkPad T61p. The VL stands for volume license and it allows me to activate via our corpnet KMS server or through MAK key activation. The bits I installed are likely the RTM bits. They are still being hammered and the build I installed has not been declared the shipping version just yet. Patience grasshopper.
The installation is really painless. In fact, if you are doing a Core install, you simply won’t believe how fast the installation actually is. We interviewed some candidates for my team on 1/22 and I had proposed to the interview team that we should hand my HP 6910p to them, the Windows Server 2008 DVD, and tell each one of them to install and activate a Core installation. I thought it would be a great test since it only takes 20 minutes but I guess the other members of the team thought it would freak out the candidates.
So how easy is the install? Here are the steps I go through:
- Consider updating your ThinkPad T61p to the latest BIOS. This link is to the .ISO file for the 12/27/2007 7LETA9WW (2.09-1.08) BIOS. I use the CD .ISO because the Windows installers Lenovo produces don’t run on Windows Vista x64.
- Using a blank hard drive (or one you are going to whack in setup), boot the T61p from the Windows Server 2008 DVD.
- Proceed through the setup instructions and install the bits. The installation is nearly identical to installing Windows Vista because it uses a nearly identical WinPE environment, SKU prompts, etc. Which reminds me, you can install Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter from the same disk. I used Enterprise. Because I was using the VL media, I am not prompted for a product key. If using MAK activation, you will have to supply a product key later.
- After installation is complete, you are forced to set the local administrator password. You must use a complex password. For instance, P@ssw0rd works but password does not.
- You will be presented with some initial tasks on the first login. Change the machine name, set the time zone, turn on update notifications, etc.
- After you dismiss the initial task list, the Server Management console will launch. Go to the features and add the “Wireless LAN Service” feature. This is required if you plan to use wireless connectivity from Windows Server 2008.
- Go to the Lenovo drivers download area (US English). The obvious prerequisite is that your T61p is attached to a working Ethernet connection. Windows Server 2008 includes inbox drivers for the Intel 82566MM Gigabit Ethernet card in my T61p.
- Download the video drivers. The Lenovo ThinkPad T61p I use has the NVIDIA video chipset, so download 7kd634ww. This install package is the Windows Vista x64 NVIDIA drivers.
- Download the wireless drivers. My T61p has the Intel 4965agn chipset so download 7kwv50ww.
- Download the Intel chipset drivers (oss704ww).
- Unpack the drivers by double clicking the .EXE’s you just downloaded. They are unpacked by default to c:\drivers\win
- Install the Intel PM965 chipset drivers by executing c:\drivers\win\intelinf\infinst_autol.exe. Reboot when prompted.
- Install the NVIDIA video drivers by executing c:\drivers\win\video\setup.exe. Reboot when prompted.
- Install the Intel wireless drivers by executing c:\drivers\win\wlanint2\vista\drivers\v64\iprodifx.exe.
Other Optional Installs
- Launch the Server Manager console and install the Desktop Experience. This provides the ability to use Windows Media player, turn on themes, and other user oriented applications.
- Turn on the Windows Audio service.
- Turn on the Windows Audio Endpoint Builder service.
- Download the Soundmax drivers (7ka213ww). Double click this exe and let it expand to c:\drivers\vista\audio. Run setup from this location.
At this point you have a pretty functional Windows Server 2008 machine with full audio, video and networking. I usually stop here because I don’t really worry much about Bluetooth support, the fingerprint scanner, etc. We have a few people running Windows Server 2008 on their T61p’s as a full time production machine. I’ll probably get some other instructions from them on the remainder of the drivers they install.
In case you are wondering, the Desktop Experience and audio driver installs are required if you plan to capture any demos with Camtasia 5.
Enjoy Windows Server 2008 on your smoking Lenovo Thinkpad T61p !!!