What just happened? Lenovo seems to be having a widespread issue with Thunderbolt Controllers on its Thinkpad line-up of laptops and has put up a support page containing fixes for its affected machines, including variants of the X1 Carbon, X1 Yoga, T-series, and the P-Series mobile workstations.

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.