Does the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3 run Linux? Can you install it?

Does the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3 run Linux? Can you install it?

The ThinkPad T14 Gen 3 is Lenovo’s most mainstream business laptop for 2022, and it comes with a few features that make it very appealing for that market. Compared to last year’s model, the biggest improvement is arguably the display, now featuring a taller 16:10 aspect ratio that’s fantastic for productivity. Of course, there are also more powerful processors, a better webcam, and more. Like most laptops out there, the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3 runs Windows 11 out of the box, but what if you want to use Linux instead? Well, there’s good and bad news.

The bad news is that, unlike some of Lenovo’s other business laptops, you don’t get the option to buy the ThinkPad T14 Gen 3 with Linux installed out of the box. Laptops like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 give you that option, but not this one. The good news is that doesn’t mean you can’t run Linux at all. In fact, running Linux apps on Windows is a possibility now, which is potentially very exciting.


Using the Windows Subsystem for Linux

With Windows 10 – and subsequently, Windows 11 – Microsoft added something called the Windows Subsystem for Linux. This essentially made it possible to run Linux distributions inside Windows, and you can easily install Ubuntu, Kali Linux, and other Linux distributions from the Microsoft Store. To do this, you’ll need to enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux optional feature, which you can do by searching for Turn Windows features on or off in the Start menu. Alternatively, you can install the Windows Subsystem for Linux Preview from the Microsoft Store, which might actually be easier.

Once you have enabled this feature (it will require a reboot) and installed your preferred Linux distribution, you can use all kinds of Linux apps with it. Initially, it was only possible to run CLI-based apps, but with Windows 11, you can actually run GUI apps, too. The OS itself is still text-based, so you won’t see the typical Linux desktop, but the apps you run can have a graphical interface, and they open right alongside your Windows apps.

Linux version of GIMP and xcalx running on Windows 11

Linux apps running on Windows 11

We’d say this is the best way to run Linux apps on Windows because you don’t have to take any risks tinkering with your current OS install or managing partitions. It’s risk-free and easy to set up-

Installing Linux on the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3

If you really want to switch to get the full Linux experience, you have that option, which you can do in one of two ways. The most risk-free method is using a virtual machine (VM), which emulates your chosen Linux distribution inside of Windows. This may sound similar to the Windows Subsystem for Linux, but it actually gives you the full Linux desktop for the distribution you want, and you get a more cohesive experience with your Linux apps. You can use the Hyper-V feature built into Windows 11 Pro or use a program like VMware Workstation Player, then download the ISO file for your preferred Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu. We already have a guide on how to create a Windows 11 VM, and the process is generally similar if you want to create a Linux VM, too.

Screenshots of Windows and Ubuntu side by side

If you want to run Linux at full native performance or switch away from Windows altogether, things are a bit trickier, but it’s certainly possible. The Linux community thankfully does a great job of ensuring most devices work well with Linux, and it’s relatively easy to obtain drivers for your laptop so everything is in working order. If you’re just wanting to try Linux without getting rid of Windows altogether, we have a guide on how to dual-boot Linux and Windows 11 on the same PC so you can use your preferred OS at any time. If, after doing this, you want to make Linux your only OS, you can always delete the Windows partition (make sure to back up your data) so you just have a Linux PC.

One thing to note with this is that you won’t be able to get support from Lenovo for any problems with Linux. The laptop isn’t sold with Linux, and it’s not supported because of it. If you want to install Linux that bad, you probably know your way around a PC already, and there’s a good chance you can figure things out, but it’s something to keep in mind.

And that’s all you need to know about whether you can run Linux on the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3. While we think most users will probably be just fine running Linux apps on Windows 11, there are also valid reasons to make a full switch to Linux, so you have that option. You may be taking some risks by doing so, but the possibility is there.

You can buy the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3 below, though only the Intel-powered models are available at writing time. If you’re interested in laptops that are available with Linux, you may want to check out some of the other ThinkPads Lenovo makes, since some of them are available with Ubuntu out of the box. You may also want to check out the best laptops overall to see more options.

    The Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3 is a business laptop powered by Intel 12th-gen or AMD Ryzen 6000 processors. It doesn't run Linux by default, but there are ways to make it work if you prefer that OS.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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