Rescuing an old ThinkServer

I came across an older Lenovo ThinkServer TE140 sitting in a pile next to other, older desktops. They were ready to be recycled. Since the Lenovo was the one sitting there with the best specs, I asked its owner if I could rescue it. There were no objections.

A few days after bringing it home, I had enough downtime to open the case and see what’s inside. I knew the removed the hard drives inside the recycled desktops (for obvious infosec reasons), but I had a spare solid state drive (SSD) from the old laptop I set up earlier in 2022.

I noticed that there would be one problem with using this SSD is that it was smaller than the normal hard disk drives (HDDs) used around the time this ThinkServer was made (2013-2015). I needed to improvise.

To secure it, I used some screws I used before for that SSD and used one to secure it on the side of the metal rack where a HDD would be. It was likely not a best practice, but I had to improvise with what I had around.

I then plugged in the SATA data cable and the power cable.

While I was inside, I noticed that the memory that was placed inside was out of order according to the instructions placed on the side of the case cover. I changed them out to the proper order.

I shut the door, plugged in a monitor (since it has two DisplayPort connections, I used an HDMI adapter), keyboard, mouse, and power cord.

The desktop started with no beeps, but stopped because it was trying to load the OS that was on there before. I created a bootable USB drive to install Ubuntu, a distribution of Linux. Click here to see the directions on how to do that from Ubuntu’s website.

Before initiating the installation, it was a good time to check the BIOS settings to ensure things were working properly and that the Primary Boot Sequence was set to boot from the USB drive first instead of the internal SSD.

Once finished, I was then able to restart the computer and boot into the drive to install Ubuntu.

The installation was fast, and I didn’t run into any problems. The OS boots fairly quickly despite the older Intel i3 processor installed.

I do plan on installing a second SSD to install Red Hat, another Linux distro that is very popular in the professional server and IT field. It’s also in the plans to eventually obtain and install a WiFi and Bluetooth PCIe card.

I am also inquiring amongst those in the IT realm if they have suggestions as to what kind of “home lab” setup I should install or perform. Feel free to drop me an email (charles at charleseroop dot com) with your suggestions.