My trusty T61 is model 7658, Core 2 Duo T9300, 4 GB of RAM, BIOS 7LETC7WW 2.27
The hard drive is Hitachi Travelstar HTS725032A9A364 = 320GB SATA-300.
Amazingly, this laptop has been a real frequent flyer workhorse since August 2007. It is currently running 64-bit Windows 7 Pro SP1, with MS Office Pro 2010.
I used to stay on top of Lenovo System Update as well as Microsoft Windows Update, but got out of that habit over the last couple of years as MS patch reliability has slid downhill.
I think it should be possible to keep this reliable machine working for a few more years, perhaps at least until Win 7 support ends in January 2020. After that, it might be a perfectly good box for learning Linux. I do not think I would ever put Win 10 on this PC.
The PC is not used for coding or anything exotic. It is used heavily for internet browsing (Firefox) and email (Thunderbird). It must be able to receive and open attachments coming in from diverse clients (mostly Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
The main reason to patch this machine going forward would be to try to keep it secure from cyber threats, insofar as that is possible. Patches or updates that improve its performance would certainly be welcome, and I am willing to invest some $$ - for an SSD or more RAM, for example.
Therefore, I would like to return to careful use of Windows Update (with guidance from Woody Leonhard and Susan Bradley). Moreover, I should probably check in with Lenovo updates to see what I have missed during the last two years or more.
I believe that this CPU will not receive any patches from Intel or Lenovo to prevent Spectre/Meltdown threats.
Several questions have occurred to me:
- 1. My BIOS 2.27 dates from 2010, Lenovo offers BIOS 2.30 from April 2012.
I read that I must install from CD-ROM for 64-bit OS.
2. I have been reading here about the Middleton BIOS, which certainly sounds intriguing. It seems that could be a worthwhile update, it might even increase the throughput of my current HD (?) and then I could add RAM and use an SSD. Looking at http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Middleton’s_BIOS
I believe that I would install Middleton version 2.29-1.08 from CD-ROM only, since I have a 64-bit OS. Would this be a better idea that the Lenovo bios?
3. My battery died years ago, and would be necessary for any BIOS update – what would be a good source to order a replacement battery?
4. I think I would also want to get an Ultrabay hard drive caddy so that I could use two drives (swapping out the original Optiarc DVD RW) – I would appreciate any suggestion about where to buy a caddy.
5. Does anyone have experience adding a USB 3 connection by using the ExpressCard/PC Card slot?
6. Lastly, I have a one-pixel high dim horizontal line on the 1440x900 display; it is quite tolerable now, but what might be the cost to replace that?
In addition, some might say just retire the T61 and just go buy a new T470 or T480. I might do that after seeing the responses to this post.
However, this is a well-built Thinkpad after all, and the many posts on this forum suggest that it should tolerate tinkering rather well. Right?
Thank you for taking the time to read this longer-than-I-intended email, and much appreciation for any suggestions.