Update – Lenovo Active Protection System on Windows 8.1

Good news! I have made patches for Windows 8.1.

For download links see the updated post.

Feel free to leave a comment.

Lenovo S205 isn’t dead

Windows 8.1 on Lenovo IdeaPad S205

Don’t forget to check the updated driver collection for Windows 8.1

Fix – Lenovo Active Protection System on Windows 8 and 8.1

APS Fix for Win8

Edit  (2013-07-24): Uploaded the x86 patch.

Download the patch for Windows 8 from here:
x64
x86

Edit (2014-02-06): Uploaded x64 & x86 patches for Windows 8.1.  This time I have uploaded only the patches – you can find the installers in the previous links. The installation procedure is almost the same except this time you have to reboot.

Download the patch for Windows 8.1 from here:

x64
x86

Lenovo has only released a ThinkPad version of Active Protection System for Windows 8 (Version 1.77.0.9).
The latest version available for IdeaPad S205 on Lenovo Support (Version 1.70.11, Windows 7) is not compatible with Windows 8 (it crashes immediately due to compatibility issues).

Fortunately, I’ve found a way to run the APS on this netbook (and probably on other unsupported devices as well) by combining these two versions.
It turned out that the .cpl (Control Panel Extension) was the non-working module. I hope that Lenovo will release a proper, fixed version. Until then, here is a quick installation guide:

Installation

1. Run the APS 1.70.11 installer.
Select English when asked for language. Don’t change the default installation folder.
It isn’t necessary to reboot.
2. Run patch.bat
3. Reboot
4. Check Lenovo – Airbag Protection in Control Panel.

Supported devices (according to S205 Support page)

Lenovo B470, B570, V370, V470, V570, IdeaPad S205

If you haven’t already seen it, check out this tutorial to play a small game using the accelerometer driver :)

Poll – New (Unofficial) HotKey / Energy Management application

I’ve decided to write a new HotKey / Energy Management application because the official one provided by Lenovo still has major issues:

  • No OSD – I understand that they’ve wanted to follow the guidlines for the new Windows OS, and Fn+F5 – Airplane mode, Volume and Brightness have been successfully integrated into Windows but what about Webcam, Touchpad and Wireless Hard Key? Also, in my opinion, an option to use the standard wifi/bt switch would have been nice (Bluetooth state can only be changed from Charm menu (the one on the right side) -> Settings -> Change PC settings -> Wireless). Oh, and CapsLock notification is also missing.
  • Optimize For Battery Runtime / Best battery health does not work.

I’ve successfully written a (very basic) C# application which can communicate with the Lenovo driver, handle the HotKey events and change the battery mode. I want to add a nice GUI (Mac-like semi-transparent notifications on desktop and standard Windows 8 notifications in Metro mode) and further funtionality to the software.

What do you think about this project? By the way, these aren’t Lenovo IdeaPad S205 specific problems (see the Lenovo forum).

Ubuntu 12.10 – Fix the “Waiting for network configuration” or black screen error on startup

Waiting for network configuration…
Waiting up to 60 more seconds for network configuration…

Or simply black screen on startup.

Solution:

  1. Reboot. Select Advanced options for Ubuntu and choose revovery mode.  Select Resume normal boot.
  2. Open a Terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and run the following command

    sudo gedit /etc/network/interfaces

  3. In the opening editor delete everything after the

    auto lo iface lo inet loopback

    line, then save the changes.

  4. Reboot and Ubuntu will start normally with working networking.

Ubuntu 12.04 & 12.10 Live PXE Network Installation Tutorial (updated, easy)

pxe_connection_ubuntu

My previous tutorial is still available here but this one is a lot easier thanks to the new features introduced in Serva 2.1.

Prerequisites:

  • Router: you can connect your computers directly if you have an Ethernet crossover cable, but you have to configure your server differently.
  • Computer with Windows installed: you can use any computer-OS combination as a PXE Server as long as it has a TFTP software (even your smartphone can be a server :)). In this tutorial I’m going to use  a Windows 7  PC with Serva because I think this configuration would suit the S205 owners the best. There is an alternative TFTP software for Windows called TFTPD which is more popular than Serva but in my opinion also harder to set up.
  • Ubuntu CD/DVD: download the latest desktop version of Ubuntu from the official website.

(!) You should temporarily disable your firewall to avoid potential conflicts.

Steps:

  1. Download and extract Serva to a folder (e.g. C:\Serva_Non-Supporter_64_v2.1.0). Choose the appropriate Serva version based on the Ubuntu edition you are about to install (x64 – 64 bit,  x86 – 32 bit). I recommend installing the  x64 edition of Ubuntu, see a comparison here) . Use the selected architecture consistently throughout this tutorial.
  2. Create a root folder for Serva (e.g. C:\SERVA_ROOT).
  3. Run Serva and click on the Settings button at the bottom.
  4. On TFTP tab tick TFTP server and select the TFTP Server root directory you have created in the previous step (in my case C:\SERVA_ROOT).Serva #1
  5. Click on the DHCP tab, set proxyDHCP and make sure that the BINL box is checked.Serva #2
  6. Save your settings and restart Serva.
  7. In your root directory you should see some files that Serva has created. Right click on the NWA_PXE folder and select properties. On the Sharing tab select Advanced sharing. Tick Share folder and set the Share name to NWA_PXE_SHARE.share
  8. Create a subfolder under NWA_PXE. You can name it freely (e.g. UBUNTU_12_10_X64_LIVE). Copy the contents of the downloaded Ubuntu iso into this folder and create a ServaAsset.inf file (you can use Notepad) with the following content:

    ;-Serva v2.1 Non-Windows Asset Information File
    ;-Boot/Install:
    ;  Ubuntu 12.10 Live
    ;-Tested on:
    ;  ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso
    ;-Require:
    ;  \NWA_PXE\ offered as MS share NWA_PXE_SHARE user=serva password=avres
    ;-Notes:
    ;  When installed on a real PC there are not passwords asked
    ;  When installed on VMWare a password is first asked (text mode); just hit enter
    ;  The GUI asks for user=ubuntu with empty password.
    [PXESERVA_MENU_ENTRY]
    asset    = Ubuntu 12.10 Live
    platform = x64
    kernel   = NWA_PXE/$HEAD_DIR$/casper/vmlinuz
    append   = showmounts toram root=/dev/cifs initrd=NWA_PXE/$HEAD_DIR$/casper/initrd.lz boot=casper netboot=cifs nfsroot=//$IP_BSRV$/NWA_PXE_SHARE/$HEAD_DIR$ NFSOPTS=-ouser=YOUR USER NAME,pass=YOUR PASSWORD,ro ip=dhcp ro

    The non-static fields are asset (you can name it freely), platform (x86/x64), user and pass (your Windows account is needed to access the shared folder) and the intitial ram disk file (Ubuntu 12.10 – initrd.lz, Ubuntu 12.04 – INITRD_N02.GZ which you have to download into the appropriate folder). Your file should look similar to this: servaasset

  9. Restart Serva for the last time.
  10. Start your s205 and press Fn+F11 to enter the Boot Menu. Select the PCI LAN: Realtek PXE option. If your settings are correct, after a few seconds you should see Serva’s Install Menu with the Ubuntu option. Press Enter to continue. Ubuntu will be loaded into the memory (it takes a few minutes).
  11. Ubuntu Live will start with the nice Unity look and a dedicated Ubuntu installer icon. cool That’s it. If you want to use both Windows and Ubuntu on your S205 make sure you’ve read my tutorial on Dual-Booting before you proceed with the installation.Ubuntu Desktop

Source: vercot

Time to switch to Windows 8?

Lenovo S205 BIOS Recovery & Updating BIOS without installed Windows OS

Read my post about Lenovo S205 BIOS versions. You are going to need an extracted BIOS1.WPH image and a BIOS Flash Utility from Google Drive. Get the latest official BIOS image (4BCN24WW) from here.

I. Creating the Bootable USB Stick

You can’t use a pen drive bigger than 2 GB because of the limitations of FAT file system. Both methods use PHLASH16.EXE (Phoenix Flash Utility for DOS, version 1.7.0.21)

Method #1 – WINCRIS (Phenix Crisis Disk Build, V1.0.0.4)

You’re going to need a computer running the 32-bit version of Windows XP or a virtual computer (e.g. WMware, Microsoft Virtual PC, etc.) with this OS installed. (Compatibility mode won’t work!)

  1. Plug in an empty USB Stick and format it with FAT file system (My Computer > Right click on your USB Drive > Format…).
  2. Rename your BIOS file from BIOS1.wph to BIOS.wph and copy it to the WINCRIS directory (the folder containing WINCRIS.EXE).
  3. Run WINCRIS.EXE. Select your Removable Disk as Driver, choose ‘Create MINIDOS Crisis Disk’ and click Start.

wincriswincris_after

Method #2 – HPUSBDisk (HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool, V2.2.3)
  1. Run HPUSBDisk.exe as Administrator
  2. Select your device (an empty USB Stick), choose ‘FAT‘ file system, tick ‘Create a DOS startup disk using system files located at:‘ and select the ‘MiniDOS‘ directory. Click Start.
  3. Copy PHLASH16.EXE and Autoexec.bat from the ‘Rescue’ folder to your USB Stick.
  4. Rename your BIOS file from BIOS1.wph to BIOS.wph and copy it as well to the root of the USB Drive.

hpusbdisk hpusbdisk_after

II. Flashing the BIOS

You must PLUG IN the Battery and AC adapter before flashing.

It’s very important that you leave the computer on for a few minutes (e.g. 5 minutes for safety) when flashing the BIOS because interrupting the flashing process is never a good idea :)

Recovery

Use this method if your BIOS is damaged / bricked (failed update) and your S205 is unable to boot.

  1. Hold down Fn+R keys and while holding press the power button.
  2. You should see your pen drive blinking and hear fan noise. Hold the keys for a while (~5 seconds).
  3. Leave the computer for a few minutes and if the computer does not restart itself turn the power down.
  4. If everything went OK your computer should start normally.
Updating BIOS without installed OS

Use this method if you’ve bought your S205 without pre-installed OS and you want to upgrade your BIOS before installing Windows (7 or later, read why you should do it) OR you are using Linux and therefore unable to upgrade your BIOS using the official Lenovo update.

  1. Start your laptop and enter Boot menu (press FN+F11 when you see the Lenovo logo). Select your pendrive.
  2. FreeDOS will start and automatically run the BIOS flasher utility. You don’t need to interact.
  3. Wait a few minutes, then restart your computer.

Sources:

hamidontop – Lenovo Forum, zfactor – Notebook Review Forum

Using built-in accelerometer to play Tux Racer

From ThinkWiki:

The Active Protection System

With the new series of ThinkPads IBM introduced the Active Protection System (APS) in 2003. The APS is a protection system for the ThinkPad’s internal harddrive. A sensor inside the ThinkPad recognizes when the notebook is accelerated. A software applet then is triggered to park the harddisk. This way the risk of data loss in case of when the notebook is dropped is significantly reduced since the read/write head of the harddrive is parked and hence can’t crash onto the platter when the notebook drops onto the floor.

The hardware sensor is capable of not only recognizing acceleration of the notebook, but also (to a certain degree) of its whole orientation in space, relative to gravity’s axis. Furthermore, having the actual control put into software, its functionality is extendable and it gives chance to implement features like the “ignore minor shocks” feature which is present in the Windows based control applet. (This feature prevents the harddrive from parking in case of minor regular shocks such as occur when in a train or car.)

The measurements are physically performed by an Analog Devices ADXL320 accelerometer chip, managed by the embedded controller.

It would be a shame not to use it for other creative purposes :)

  1. Install Lenovo Active Protection System.
  2. Download and extract Tux Racer.
  3. Download SDL Patch by Mark A. Smith (IBM) – Author’s page (not available anymore) and extract SDL.dll and SDL_events.c.patch into Tux Racer’s folder (overwriting the previous SDL.dll).
  4. Play!

Lenovo S205 BIOS Versions & NoWhiteList

I’ve uploaded all the officially available S205 BIOSs to GoogleDrive in the following structure:

  1. /[BIOS_VERSION].exe – The original Phoenix UEFI Flash Tool + BIOS ROM from  Lenovo (you can download it directly from Lenovo Support).
  2. /[BIOS_VERSION].sha, [BIOS_VERSION].md5 – Checksums. (Use these with e.g. Total Commander to verify the exe file’s integrity).
  3. /[BIOS_VERSION].txt - ReadMe file from Lenovo.
  4. /Extracted/WinFlash.zip - [1] in extracted format (taken from C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Local\Temp\).
  5. /Extracted/WinFlash.sha, WinFlash.md5 – Checksums for the zip file.

These BIOSs are obviously safe to flash. If you have an older BIOS (you can check it on the BIOS home screen), upgrading to the latest (4BCN24WW) version may be a good idea, especially if you are planning to (re)install Windows 7 / 8. From the changelog:

4BCN24WW:
Fix the hang up issue when installing non-OEM version Windows 7 Operation system.

If you’ve bought your S205 without any pre-installed operation system, you should wait for my upcoming tutorial on creating a bootable BIOS flashing pendrive.

Official Lenovo IdeaPad S205 BIOS:

  • 4BCN21WW (Version 21, 23 May 2011)
  • 4BCN22WW (Version 22, 27 July 2011)
  • 4BCN24WW (Version 24, 17 Aug 2011)

I wouldn’t recommend flashing the modded BIOS unless you want to replace your WiFi card or install a new WWAN (3G, 4G) card that is not supported by Lenovo (see the list of supported devices below). Flashing a modded bios can brick your laptop. Do it at your own risk!

WLAN Card Support List
————————————————————–
VID PID SVID SSID
Cbt RT3090 Wistron M PCIE NB HMC VEN_1814&DEV_3090
Liteon AR9285 HB95 BGN Wistron NB VEN_168C&DEV_002B

WWAN Card Support List
————————————————————–
PID VID
Ericsson F3307 R2 HSPA 850/1900MHz WWAN VID_0BDB&PID_190E
Ericsson F3307 R2 HSPA 850/1900MHz WWAN VID_0BDB&PID_190F
Huawei EM770W WCDMA+GPS VID_12D1&PID_1404
Huawei EM820 HSPA+850/900/1900/2100MHZ VID_12D1&PID_140C
Huawei EM660 EVDO+GPS VID_12D1&PID_1001
TC Leadcoretech TD-SCDMA LC5740 VID_1AB7&PID_5740
Frankin M600 EVDO 3G/4G USB HUB VID_0424&PID_2412
3G:CDMA VID_1FAC&PID_0151
4G:WiMAX VID_198F&PID_0220

Modded Lenovo IdeaPad S205 BIOS:

  • 4BCN24WW (Version 24, 17 Aug 2011) – NoWhiteList
    • The latest official BIOS with the WiFi/WWAN WhiteList removed.  WhiteList is a device filter in BIOS which prevents you from using any WiFi/WWAN card other than the ones on Lenovo’s list.
    • It has been confirmed to work with the Intel 6200 WiFi card (Lenovo FRU 60Y3191).
    • All credits go to Camiloml and BIOS-Mods. You can download it directly from their BIOS repository.
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