Solved: Lenovo, the Clickpad/Ultranav and the missing hardware-buttons (W540 / T540 / W541)Thomas Claudius Huber
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 now. 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.
thank you very much for this interesting and helpful article!
I’am in the same situtation: started with a T30, than had a T43, T61, W510 and now got a new T540p.
I never needed a mouse nor a touch pad – just the trackpoint and the three mouse buttons.
A small difference is that I need the middle button for paste (on Linux) – and it is not so easy to perform a middle button click on the new touchpad…
I will order the new touchpad and let you know….
Best Regards, Robert
how’s the sound of the new touchpad? Is it quieter than the old one?
Ha, compared to the original device the new touchpad is silent.
This is awesome! This exactly what I wanted to do, but wasn’t sure. The measurements for the two parts were exact, so I was about to take the plunge, and order a replace touch pad on eBay. Thanks for laying the ground work for the rest of us!
Thank you for the information.
My company spent over AU$6000 on my fully loaded W540 (including NFC) reader), fantastic machine, but when it arrived (downgraded it to Win7 ultimate) it was almost unusable with the hopeless trackpoint it came with.
I have owned many Lenovo/IBM W units in the past and have been very happy with them.
The W540 trackpoint is simply a joke.
I ordered one of the new pads with buttons as you show and have fitted it as per your instuctions.
Everything works perfectly (only no NFC antenna in the new button pad. the processor pcb is still in my W540, but not connected to an antenna now))
I may keep an eye out for a new trackpoint button version that contains the NFC reader too (should have the logo ‘two squares with a dot between’ on it like the stock one)
The W540 is now a joy to use, just like it should have been from the factory.
Keeping the old TrackPoint just incase the laptop needs a warranty return in the future.
Looks like Lenovo will not be top dog for long with these products and lack of customer (business) support by ignoring important questions put to them.
Thank you for the post!
I bought one from Alibaba express as well. I am using it with OpenSuse 13.2 and 4.0.1 linux kernel.
I did the hardware install and booted the laptop up and it worked perfectly. No changes to any settings. Multitouch and the buttons are all working like this pad came with the laptop.
I haven’t tried Windows 7 yet.
Wasn’t able to get the Win7 to work as a multitouch. Linux is happy enough with no issues. Not sure I care enough to get gestures working on Windows, I’m not in it very often.
The mouse contol panel says it can’t talk to the synaptic driver, so I can’t configure the gesters.
Interesting. Maybe you’ve to play a bit arround with the different drivers
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
It feels like getting a new pc. I hated the old mouse device so much that I always did through the pc to the wall. Not the good old Thinkpad feeling is back. Shame on Lenovo that made that crap touchpad.
Thank you again Thomas :)
You’re welcome! :) Great the device now works for you.
This saved me and my organisation having to buy another laptop :) Thank you for sharing.
Hey Russell, thanks for the feedback. Great to hear this blogpost helped you. :)
Do you think the new touchpad could be installed the other way up, so that the mouse buttons are near the edge instead of near the spacebar? Of course th eold W520 had both top and bottom buttons. I like to hit them with my thumbs.
I don’t think so that you could install it the other way round. But I haven’t tried it.
Restoring physical buttons along the bottom of the touchpad was my question, too. The new design is horrible: pressing it down to activate a click invariably moves your finger, so fine control is lost, and you have to lift your hand to click the buttons at the top (or use two hands). I don’t get how anyone who actually uses these saw this as an “improvement!”
Yes, it was really bad design, and it was the reason why I stepped away from Lenovo. I’m now a happy Surface user since 2 years.
I used your manual and get it working on my W540.
However, after upgrade to Win10 that steps do not help (at least in my case) at all. Only thing that helps is complete uninstallation of all synaptics drivers – which make physical buttons work, but of course does not give big option for configuraiton.
Did you meet wit this problem on Win10?
I’m using Windows 10 on my machine since it’s out. I don’t use the Touchpad, just the Trackpoint and the buttons. This works great for me.
Thanks for such an easy to follow guide. Install was a breeze…how ever i am trying to iron out an issue.
I have uninstalled original synaptics drivers. and installed n10gx25w drivers as suggested in the lenovo forums…but the issue i am having is i dont see the additional Thinkpad tab. It is behaving very much like a lenovo mouse and not a trackpad. Do you know the fix to this? I am on windows 10 pro
Thanks in advance!
Hi Kunwar, sorry, I’m still using the n10gx25w and I’m happy with it. But maybe you find some newer drivers that bring back the Thinkpad tab. Sorry that I couldn’t help you.
Do you have 2 finger scroll capability with that driver? This is what i am trying to get back. the 3 physical keys work fine…but i am trying to find the driver i need to get the additional tab in mouse properties so i can config finger scroll
Yes, this works on my machine. But I have to touch with the two fingers at the same time. If one finger is already on the touchpad, and I just add the second finger, scrolling doesn’t work. If I add the two fingers at the same time, scrolling works.
Right that is how it should behave. both finger have to touch at same time…
I am just frutrated right now trying to resolve this. After i unistall the original drivers…i even turned off wifi to prevent windows 10 jumping to install some other version of a drivers. I immediately execute the n10 drivers but still cant seem to replicate the results. The original lenovo thread you posted into mentions some talk of a registry edit and running a command. (this is a mystery to me)
I didn’t do anything special, I just installed the n10gx25w driver. But as mentioned, I don’t have the Lenovo/Thinkpad tab.
I’m about to attempt this.
In looking for the driver. The Lenovo site only shows the n10gx35W.exe download. Should I try that or ???
Hi Dean, you can try. I didn’t try with the x35w, only with the x25w.
Wow – Did that work great! With Windows 8.1, the PS2 default driver does all my low-needs fingers need. I can’t thank you enough!!!!!!!!!
I started with a Thinkpad 770 17 years ago and until I purchased a T540p a few years back, I have been their biggest supporter and evangelist. That quit with the joke of a trackpad that the 540 had. Since then I spared no effort swaying folks away from them. I get that everyone makes a design mistake. But, not owning it and working with your loyal customers is inexcusable.
If you are ever in the Las Vegas area, drinks are on me….
I did this swap and the x25w works ‘okay’ except scrolling. After properly setting up the driver settings for middle click scrolling, I’m not able to scroll through some Win10 UI apps. Legacy apps I’m fine with (like File Explorer, and Chrome).
I’ve heard that a clean Win10 install will fix this with the x25w driver, but I’m not sure.
Are you having issues with UltraNav scrolling?
great you did the swap. Yes, scrolling works, but when you use the Trackpoint and UltraNav, it doesn’t display the usual little scrollbar that shows you that you’re scrolling. Instead it shows a circle with the four directions – usually like when a mouse is connected. This works, but I know it’s not as smooth as the classic UltraNav scrolling.
Did this answer your question?
Hallo Thomas, guten Abend!
Ich schreibe auf deutsch, da Du dieser Sprache offenbar mächtig bist und es für mich einfacher ist. Vor gut einem halben Jahr habe ich ein T540p erworben und es ist nun 4 Wochen her, dass ich ein W540 (natürlich mit 2880 x 1620 – IPS, 32 GB, 2 GB Grafiksystem – man gönnt sich ja sonst gar nichts) mein eigen nenne.
Begonnen habe ich auch mit T40, T61 (war perfekt auf 8 GB aufrüstbar und mit SSD fast wie eine Rakete), dann kam ein T520 und noch eines für die Freundin (jeweils mit 16 GB und FHD – das Notebook, nicht die Freundin).
Beim T540p (über das Gerät selbst kann man lange diskutieren) hatte ich mich vom ersten Tag an über das Touchpad geärgert (laut und nervig). Ich bin zwar normalerweise ein Mausverwender, da ich dies vom PC gewohnt bin, doch man kommt immer in Situationen, wo bspw kein Platz für das Nagetier bleibt. Nun bin ich im Thinkpad-Forum auf den Tausch dieses Bauteils und dem damit verbundenen Problem mit dem korrekten Treiber gestoßen und neugierig geworden. Also eine Suchmaschine angeworfen und recherchiert. Es gibt sehr viele Angebote und da ich das Teil eher aus Neugierde bestellt habe, nahm ich ein recht preiswertes um rd 18 Euro (es war für ein T440p gedacht, doch aus meinen Recherchen wusste ich, dass es auf jeden Fall in das T540p passen und von diesem auch unterstützt werden sollte). Das Pad kam aus China, war jedoch nach gut zwei Wochen exakt heute morgen auf meinem Schreibtisch. Der Umbau war keine Hexerei, doch vor der Treiberinstallation hatte ich doch ein mulmiges Gefühl im Magen, insbesondere, weil die Kollegen im Thinkpad-Forum fast nur negative Erfahrungen damit hatten.
Durch Zufall stieß ich gestern Abend auf Deine Seite und fand mit dem Treiber n10gx25w quasi das Ei des Kolumbus. Dann noch dazu die wunderbare Umbauanleitung mit den Fotos, was konnte da noch schief gehen?
Also habe ich mich heute an den Umbau gewagt, war überraschenderweise bereits nach ca 30 Minuten fertig und das Ding funktionierte! Nicht nur die Hardware, sondern auch der Treiber. Ich habe zwar nicht ein solches Einstellungsmenü wie im Artikel angezeigt, doch die beiden Tasten sind ansprechbar und die Mitteltaste auch. Scrollen möchte ich mit dem Ding sowieso nicht, denn dazu verwende ich ein Touchpad grundsätzlich zu selten. Wie bereits erwähnt bevorzuge ich überwiegend eine Maus.
Ich danke Dir nochmals für diesen Artikel und die daraus gewonnenen Erkenntnisse. Mach weiter so, die Kommentare sprechen für sich.
es freut mich sehr zu lesen, dass Dir der Artikel geholfen hat, um bei Deinem Thinkpad ein besseres Touchpad einzubauen.
Ich wünsche Dir viel Spass mit der neuen Hardware. :) Den Treiber solltest Du irgendwo lokal speichern. Manches Windows Update schmeisst ihn manchmal wieder raus, womit Du ihn erneut installieren musst.
Danke Dir für’s Feedback.
Thanks for the help. I have a W540 and I changed the track pad to the new one. I have Windows 10 and I tried to install the driver you posted. I noticed that the driver does not support W540. I dont know if that is a concern or not. My problem is that the system does not fully recognize my new installed track pad. Only the physical left and right buttons work, but not the track pad it self. I don’t know if I should settle for it like it is or there is something that I did wrong. I am currently hauling an external mouse where ever I go, so you can see I am not found of the track pad. Thanks in advance
sorry to read this. The trackpad on my W540 works, I don’t know what’s the issue in your case.
Thanks for your very informative and useful report. – I would think that 99,9% of W540 users would love to have their touchpad replaced.
Well I am one of them !!!
I have one question – Would you think that it is possible to replace the whole W540 palmrest with a W541 palmrest (which has the buttons) ?? Most probably then all the (W541) drivers would work fine
Thanks for your time and a attention
Kind Regards from sunny Athens
Hi George, sorry, I don’t now if that’s possible.
Thanks for your post. I also ordered a trackpad with buttons after reading this post ;-)
Hi Martin, you’re welcome. :)
I have Window 10, I folowed your guild. But it don’t appear Thinkpad tab and i can’t use two finger to scrolling.
Did you have some solution ??? . Thanks you.
Hi, sorry, I don’t have a solution for that.
Hi Thosmas, I have Window 10 and i follow your guild. But i cant use 2 finger and dont have tab ” thinkpad” for setting . Can’t you help me !!! . Tks you. aaa
Hi, sorry, I don’t use the W540 anymore. I can’t give any support on this anymore.
Thank you for the detailed instructions. I’ve been very unhappy with my T540P, after using Thinkpads for over 20 years. With your help, I expect my satisfaction will be restored.
Just tried this with my w540. All the connections have the black plastic that flips up – BUT on the trackpad itself, the black plastic is /opposite/ the insertion side of the cable – I trashed both old trackpad and new (w541 model) by trying to pry up the fixed white plastic on the other side. Argh. Sigh.
Left it unconnected, and now my trackpoint doesn’t work either.
Time to order another new one – @ amazon, they’re cheap these days – see https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LC9WSJT
This time, I’m going to be more careful. Here’s hoping I don’t have a strange w540 where I can’t connect the ‘new’ trackpad to the existing laptop……….
author of this page may have moved on or died. just for closure, i ordered a new trackpad & this time, was MOST CAREFUL. YES, the plastic ‘blade’ DOES insert from the OTHER SIDE of the black flip-up plastic retainer. it’s the ONLY one you will see in the course of doing this hw replacement where it’s “backward” – all the others have the black plastic retainer on the same side where you insert the plastic blade/contact.
BTW, I also had a crappy keyboard that had no backlight. I also got a w540/w541 keyboard with backlight. I’m happy to say now this w540 is right up there with past thinkpads – usability is back.
Running linux, so no worries about drivers here.
I’m still alive Bill, just have a life beside this blog. :-) But I moved to a different laptop two years ago.
Great to hear everything is running,
LOL, thanks for putting up this page. It has made a major improvement in my life :-)
Happy to hear this. :-) Enjoy your day!
That was the idea Bill. :)