Vista on IBM Thinkpad R31

Alright, its an ancient laptop, but with a bit of luck (and pleasantly to my surprise), Vista actually installed on it. However, after getting around the initial celebration, I noticed that there were a couple of MASSIVE problems :'(

1. For some reason, I can't increase or decrease the screen brightness. I know that this problem is attributed to the driver (or lack of them!) for the Intel 830MG chipset! The XP driver just won't install onto Vista, saying that "This operating system is not supported".

2. Internal wifi. Atheros AR5BMB-44 chip also lacks a .exe driver, and I have no idea how to install the driver for it, for it is a .INF file. It won't install by right-clicking it and clicking install. Stuck with PC wifi card.

Now, if I reinstall XP, install the drivers, then upgrade to Vista, will the drivers work? That's my main question here. One thing is for sure though. I am not going back to XP, it is an ancient operating system!


Former Moderator
Think Pad R31

Have you checked to see if there are any Vista Drivers you can install ?

Yes, I've checked everywhere, and there's no Vista driver in sight for either the wifi or the intel graphics chip, especially the latter, since they issued some notice saying that they were officially halting support for it 5 years ago. The only hope for me is to run the drivers in XP compatibility mode. I hope this works...


Former Moderator
Windows 7 May Work

You know Windows 7 might work with your XP Driver more than Vista would. If 7 can't do it for any reason maybe you should think about getting a new notebook. Stay on the line.


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
I very much doubt it.

If your getting problems running vista, then you've no chance with 7 really. 7 may not need as much 'umph' as vista does to run but it still needs relatively new hardware.

You'd probably be better off going back to xp and buying a more recent laptop.

Alright then, I do believe that the screen brightness problem is a hardware related one, since it doesn't work in Ubuntu either :-(. I'm gonna try to reset the BIOS to defaults, but if that doesn't work, that's not big loss. The only (and probably the most irritating one) is that I'll have to reboot whenever I wanted to either set the screen brightness to maximum or minimum (the increments are so small, I only use either the lightest or darkest settings).

As for wifi, using a PC card wifi at the moment, and I probably intend to, since if I replace the internal wifi card with something that Windows likes, but IBM doesn't, then I'll have to hack the BIOS or something, and I might risk rendering the wifi card useless or even bricking the whole laptop (that's something I don't want to do!) (Sigh) Oh well, we'll see how trying to install that .INF file goes...

Alright, looks like there actually might be a solution to this all

With the screen brightness, I am going to do a BIOS upgrade (or reinstall, or whatever the process is called, since it already is the newest version of the BIOS) to see if it works. If even this fails, I will buy a new screen altogether, since the one I have at the moment is not all that clear anyway (few smudges that just won't go away; survivable, but not the best)

As for the wifi card, when I solder the wifi antennae inside together, I will test out the wifi card in Ubuntu. If it works, then I will hack the BIOS (I don't it will brick the laptop, it certainly isn't as risky as that) and put in a wifi card that actually works with Vista, since AR5BMB is just way too old.


Former Moderator

Tell us how it works out...

This website is not affiliated, owned, or endorsed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a member of the Microsoft Partner Program.