The patch is for several models that use a particular 60GB Hitachi hard disk. IBM is calling the patch a "mandatory" upgrade to fix "early reliability issues in some drives." The patch was posted to its Web site on March 4.
Neither Big Blue nor Hitachi were immediately available for comment, but according to the Web page containing the upgrade, the problem affects ThinkPad models R50, R50p, T41, T41p that have the Hitachi 60GB 7200 rpm hard disk drive, model HTS726060M9AT00 with ASM part number 92P6550 and FRU part number 92P6551.
As the Web page notes, owners of those ThinkPad models can check whether their system needs the upgrade by doing the following:
Click Start, select Settings, select Control Panel, then double-click the System icon.
Click the Hardware tab, then click Device Manager.
Open the Device Manager
Expand the Disk Drives section to view all hard disk drives in the system, and look for a drive model number that reads HTS726060M9AT00.
Matt Loney of ZDNet UK reported from London.