In several models like W540/T540 etc. Lenovo has replaced the hardware-buttons for the Trackpoint with a big Touchpad. It looks like this:
I own a W540 and as a hardcore-Trackpoint-user it’s really a pain not to have the hardware-buttons. 50% of your left-clicks are a middle-click by accident. This happens because you only have that single big Button. Also you need to move your thumb very far to the left/right to do a left/right-click. I often create Powerpoint-Presentations for my talks in the train as I travel quite a lot. When I want to select items in my presentation, those items are suddenly moved by accident as the “big button” thinks I’m using the Touchpad, but I’m using the Trackpoint. I solved that last issue by disabling the Touchpad in the Bios. But still all the other problems are here, that big single button is so annoying and – not mentioned yet – it’s also very noisy.
In the newer W541-model, Lenovo brought the hardware-buttons back. And the model looks completely the same as the W540. But for sure I don’t want to buy a new machine just to get the buttons back. So I contacted Lenovo if they support that part for the older machines. But I never got a response: Twitter @Lenovo, Lenovo forums (see this thread: https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/W-Series-ThinkPad-Laptops/Replace-W540-Keyboard-with-W541-Trackpoint-Buttons/td-p/1826433) etc. No answer. Not even a “We don’t know” or “Sorry, we can’t answer this yet”. Just nothing. Ignored.
So I was deeply disappointed with Lenovo. I used a T43, a T61, a T520 and a W540. And before the W540 I never used a mouse. But with the W540 it’s impossible without a mouse. The Trackpad is just crap if you use it with the Trackpoint.
Some weeks ago on Ebay and on other sides the new W541-Trackpad appeared, for around 70$. I decided to order that one and to try it in my W540. I ordered the one in the picture below from here: http://www.aliexpress.com/item-img/TOUCHPAD-FOR-THINKPAD-T440P-T440S-T440-T431S-T450P-T450S-W540-L440-L540-Touchpad-Clickpad-With-Left/32286821621.html#
It took around two weeks and today I got it. And I successfully use it. Let me explain the steps to put it into a W540.
1/4 Remove the Keyboard, the Keyboard bezel and add the new Touchpad
First you need to remove the keyboard and the keyboard bezel. The “hardware maintenance manual” shows you how to do this. You can download it for the W540/T540 here: http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mobiles_pdf/t540p_w540_w541_hmm_en_sp40a26003_02.pdf
The part of your keyboard below the keys can be moved up, then you find different screws to unwind, six in total. Here you see two of them:
After unwinding all the screws, you can remove your keyboard. Be careful, as there are two cables connected. You just need to rotate the keyboard towards yourself, then disconnect the cables by lifting up the small black connectors. (I recommend using a small plastic-knife for this).
Now after the keyboard is removed, you need to remove the keyboard bezel. First you need to disconnect the cable for the power-button. You find a detailed description how to do this in Lenovos hardware maintenance manual. In the next step you remove 7 screws from the backside of your notebook:
Then turn it around again and lift up the keyboard bezel. Be careful again, as the Touchpad is still connected with two cables. Like for the keyboard, you just need to rotate the keyboard bezel towards you. I had Mickey Mouse with me, giving me some advice. ;-)
You don’t have to disconnect the cables of the keyboard bezel from your notebook. Instead unwind 5 screws (red arrows) for the Touchpad and disconnect the single cable (green arrow).
To disconnect the cable from the Touchpad you need to lift up the small black part – like for the other cables. Now you can remove the Single-Button-Annoying-Nerve-Costing-Touchpad. Here the old and the new side by side.
Now place the new Touchpad with the hardware-trackpoint-buttons in the keyboard bezel. Note that the new Touchpad just needs four instead of 5 screws. Don’t forget to connect the cable as well.
Now go all the steps backwards again. Put keyboard bezel back on your notebook. Connect the cable for the power-button. Add all the screws to the back of your notebook and mount the keyboard back again. Done! This looks (and is) like paradise on earth for Trackpoint users
2/4 Install the driver
Now your hardware is mounted. The next step is to uninstall the drivers for the Synaptics Ultranav from your machine. After a restart install the driver n10gx25w. That one works fine for me on Windows 8.1. I tried some other drivers that didn’t work – for example the one for the W541 notebook. After the driver-installation you need to restart again and now you can use the hardware-buttons.
3/4 Adjust the settings
Everything worked fine on my machine from the beginning – except scrolling / the middle-button. When I clicked the middle-button while the cursor was above a hyperlink, that link was opened in a new tab of my browser. But instead I wanted to scroll. Scrolling only worked when the cursor was not above a hyperlink. That’s a bad behaviour of the system. So I opened up the Mouse properties in the Control Panel. With the driver installed, you should see a tab there called “ThinkPad”. On that tab, set the Radiobutton below “Enable Middle Button” from “Use as middle click” to “Use for scrolling”.
With that setting my Trackpoint and the hardware-buttons are working like a charm. Like it should have been from the beginning for such an expensive machine.
Now I can enjoy my machine and work with fun without a mouse while traveling, while at home, while working onsite for customers, … yes, I don’t need my mouse at all! Like I would have expected it from the beginning.
No one is perfect. But I think it’s really a shame that Lenovo does not officially make a statement to this whole mess. To say “We don’t know yet if we’re going to support the older W540/T540-series with that hardware” or even to say “we won’t support older series with the new hardware-buttons” would be still by far better than just being silent, not answering questions and saying nothing at all. That isn’t good marketing and isn’t the nice way to your long-years-customers and Trackpoint-fans. Many might switch to other OEMs in the future, because Lenovo wants for example the W540-owners to buy a new W541. That’s a shame, as the small replacement-part would be sufficient for a lot of them, and the W540 isn’t old. Mine is just 7 months old… Lenovo brought the hardware-buttons back on the new devices, this shows that they know it was a bad idea to remove them…
In my opinion Lenovo should support all the W540/T540 and other Thinkpad users with the missing hardware-buttons with a cheap and supported hardware-upgrade. That’s the way how to keep customers happy, and that’s the way how those customers will buy a Thinkpad again instead of another device.
I’m happy know. If you want to do the same, be aware that you’ll loose your warranty with the steps described above. But having the buttons back is just awesome.