Lenovo issues driver and firmware updates for ThinkPads with faulty USB-C ports


TechSpot Staff
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If you own a ThinkPad laptop that's experiencing connectivity issues over its USB-C port, chances are that it suffers from a corrupted firmware issued by the company in August last year.

Initially reported by Notebookcheck, the problem seems exclusive to ThinkPads with Thunderbolt 3 support over USB-C and users might observe one or more of the following symptoms:

  • USB-C port not working
  • Intel Thunderbolt controller not visible in the OS/Device Manager
  • USB-C or Thunderbolt docking stations not visible or having connectivity problems
  • HDMI output not available
  • System battery not charging with a USB-C power adapter connected to the USB-C port
  • Intel Thunderbolt pop-up error message
  • Intel Thunderbolt safe mode error message
  • BIOS Thunderbolt communication error or hang during POST

The company notes that these symptoms may occur after 6 to 12 months of typical usage.

In addition to these, Lenovo has posted the list of affected systems on its support page (38 variants in total) and tabulated the driver and firmware packages for users to download.

It also recommends that "the Driver Package (Intel Thunderbolt software) be installed first, followed by the Firmware Package (Intel Thunderbolt firmware) second," while users who continue to see the aforementioned symptoms post-patch should contact the company's Technical Support staff.

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I think the issue is more widespread than only the ThinkPad models that Lenovo admits have a problem.

I own an IdeaPad 720-13 since early 2018. I really enjoy the machine and am quite dismayed because it has officially become an $800 brick. The EXACT same problem hit me last week as I was finishing a long day of work. I was informed of an update that happened in the background and that it should be rebooted (oddly,I never had this experience with a firmware update operating in the background; I've had to do it manually each time). In a few seconds my laptop was no more!

Now, all I can do is hit the power button and the keyboard backlight comes on for a few seconds...but nothing else. The computer never accesses the boot blocks on the drive nor does it allow the usb-c bus to recognise an inserted pendrive, etc.

Does anyone have a suggested work around? I can download the Lenovo updates to the updated firmware, but how to get it from a USB stick onto a laptop that doesn't bootup?

I've tried all the suggestions except removing the battery which is encased inside the unit.

Any suggestion is helpful at this point, especially if you know that Lenovo will cover this expense that they caused. Calling customer service is as helpful as talking to a plant -- the techs only read from the script and have had their brains and creativity removed before they ever sat down to take calls on behalf of the Lenovo behemoth.

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