Lenovo G530 Suspend Problem

It seems that my most popular posts here deal with fixing some common issues with the Lenovo G530 laptop, namely with the screen hinges, as well as the screen flickering.  Well, judging by the comments it seems that these have helped people (even though you will probably have to repeat the screen flickering one, as the cable can come lose repeatedly).  I am glad they are of use to people; the G530 isn’t the fanciest laptop, but if you can deal with some of these things it certainly gets the job done.

I am having a particular problem with this machine, though, that I have not been able to sort out.  It deals with suspending to RAM, or I should say, the inability to do so.  What is supposed to happen is that I activate suspend, and the machine almost completely shuts off save for a blinking, blue LED.  Opening the lid then resumes the machine almost instantly, bringing me back to where I was.  (Yes, I’m sure most of you know what suspending to RAM is, but I’m just trying to be complete.)  However, when I actually try to do this, the machine shuts off, instantly.  No flashing light, no shutdown sequence, it just turns off as if I removed power and/or battery.  Turning it on again makes it boot up as if I had opted to reboot.  After a while I got used to just turning the machine off when I didn’t need it, but this is kind of annoying, and I would like to fix it.

Now, first things first.  As you can probably tell from this site I am a GNU/Linux user, and do in fact run Ubuntu on this laptop.  In fact, overall it runs well.  I bring this up because of many suspend issues which have plagued many of the distros, however for about the first year of having this laptop suspend to RAM worked beautifully.  (Hibernate did and still does, but suspend is more convenient.)  But to verify this I tried installing Windows XP (along with the hardware-specific drivers supplied by Lenovo on their site), but encountered the same behavior.  Same with other distributions.

Next, I figured on a lark that maybe this would have something to do with the battery, which when I first noticed this behavior was on its last leg (ie, 20 minutes of power).  I replaced the battery, but this did not help anything.  I tired looking in the BIOS, but couldn’t find anything that suggested a problem.  I tried updating the BIOS, but this didn’t work either.  I even tried alternating the RAM sticks, as well as using only one at a time.  (It is suspend to RAM, so I figured there might be something there.)

So, how about it, anyone else seen this sort of thing before, shutting down cold instead of suspending?  Maybe not even with this particular laptop?  Any ideas, thoughts, something I may have overlooked?  I will try to make something of an effort to look into this again myself, probably starting with running memtest86 on the machine (something which I did not do, and may reveal something more about the memory).  But, I would appreciate any input.  And if I come to a solution, I will of course do my best to report it here, with a nice pictorial guide if applicable.

Fedora 13

I’ve had a problem on Ubuntu for a while, or at least I thought it was Ubuntu-specific.  The problem is with suspend-to-ram (aka, what you get when you click suspend; the computer goes into a low-power state, and comes back relatively quickly).  A little while ago, I think after upgrading to Lucid, this stopped working.  That is, instead of suspending, it (this is my laptop, btw) would simply shut down.

I liked Ubuntu, and still do.  But I had wanted to give Fedora a spin for a while now, and figured maybe this problem was distribution-specific.  So I went ahead and installed Fedora 13.  It didn’t solve the problem, the machine still shuts down.  But I have to say it’s not bad.  I’ll probably throw Ubuntu back on here soon, but in the meantime I’ll give this a spin.

My first exposure to Linux was with RedHat 8 – I couldn’t get X working at first (didn’t even know how to troubleshoot it), so I just started playing with the shell.  I learned enough to move around, and even set up an FTP server, followed by a Samba, followed by a Web server…  This was back in high school, and it was really cool to be able to share documents around the house and over FTP.  Of course, I was mostly playing, and ended up breaking the system a few times.

Over the years I tried different distros, including Fedora when it first came out, Suse, and Gentoo – the last of which I stuck with for a while, because it encouraged tweaking.  But while I enjoyed all this there came a time when I wanted the system to (forgive me for contributing to the overuse of this phrase) “just work,” and so I turned to Ubuntu.  I can’t say I remained a fan of RedHat based distros, though I used them occasionally.

Well, Fedora 13 is nice.  I’m used to Ubuntu by this point, but I’m kind of getting into it.  Gnome is not customized as much as in Ubuntu, and I’m not sure I’m crazy about the theme that it defaults too.  But I can see how this would be more of an ‘enterprise’ distro; during login you can select different authentication sources, so in theory it should be easy to get it going with LDAP/Kerberos (something I haven’t done yet myself, but plan to someday).  Also, Fedora gives you the option of full-disk encryption, which is neat.  I encrypt everything except the /boot partition, and I have to say it does satisfy my inner paranoia.  However it does require you to enter a passphrase at boot, which is a little inconvenient but not that bad (especially if you have trade secrets or something you’re trying to protect).  One caveat though is that home directories are not encrypted individually by default (you can do this, but there isn’t an install option to), so with default permissions one use can look in another’s home dir.  But for a single-user laptop it’s probably not that much of an issue.

This was never meant to be a review, just a little blurb.  If you’ve got the hardware, time, and curiosity, and you’re looking for a new distro (or OS?), give Fedora 13 a whirl.  I’ll probably end up reinstalling Ubuntu tomorrow, but if fate calls I may end up using a Fedora for something else in the future.  As for the suspend problem, I’ll look into that more.  Maybe even try to patch it myself (something I’ve always wanted to do).