Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Lenovo/IBM Thinkpads

Lenovo/IBM Thinkpads

I have had Thinkpads around now in the office for over 10 years.  I know that there are people over the years that have criticized the Thinkpads for not being very high power machines; but one thing I always liked about them was that they seemed for the most part to be reliable.  "Nobody got fired for buying blue", was the old saying.  The Thinkpads were often behind in the Benchmark tests; but in the Support and Updates area I thought they were head and shoulders above the others.

When IBM decided to sell their laptop and PC lines to Lenovo I was worried.  I believed that the Thinkpads that I had come to trust might become less reliable.  I did not stop buying them hoping that my fears were not ever going to be realized; after all this is being typed on a Thinkpad.  I have an X40 I carry around with me because it is light and portable; but with the last couple of Lots that I bought, T4x and T6x models, we have run into multiple problems.

One of the first problems we ran into was the Software Update program that we used for the last few years to keep the Thinkpads updated, stopped working.  This is because the Lenovo people decided to switch over to the System Update program.  As of this date I do not believe that it works as good as the Software Update.  We had numerous problems with the machine shutting down and rebooting in the middle of the updates because it need to to it, but it could not successfully pick up where it left off.  This was not a problem with the the previous Software update.

The second problem, and a pretty big one was the failure of the Access Connections program to work.  The Access Connections program is the program that Thinkpads use to manage network connections.  This was a real plus in the past, because it was so easy to tell users to use the Fn +F5 key to bring up the program which made it simple to scan for Wireless/Blue Tooth Networks.  It also let you create profiles for all your network connections including  hard wired ones.  But the program, at least the last version is real buggy.

Along with the above problem we experience another real weird problem.  The actual Ethernet connection would disappear if we unplugged the power cable.  Also on occasions we were unable to connect to the network unless we plugged in the power cable.  This all seemed rather strange to us.  We also suspected that it was there but not visible in the Device manager.

The other problem we had was Ghosting the machines.  That problem I laid out in a previous post.

After talking to Lenovo Tech support we really did not get much help, other than what we also found on the Internet.  Also, I have also noticed that we have had some issues with the Laptops after successful Ghosts with Explorer just hanging.  Not really errors or Processor usage, just Explorer crapping out.  Now I don't know at this time if it is happening because of Ghosting or just some other weird problem.

In short this is what we did to make these work:

Install the Hot Key Manger version 2.06.0708.
Install the Power Management Driver version 1.17.
Install the ACPI Power Management Software ACPI Power Management Utility version 1.43.
Uninstall the Access Manager and use the Windows Wireless Interface instead - if you want to go out on a limb, version 4.2 seemed to work.
The in-ability to Ghost was solved in the previous Post.
So in short, I have really lost my enthusiasm for Lenovo Thinkpads.

... an this is real situation where Tech Bytes!

Next, the problems with the Panasonic Toughbooks - not so tough after all ...



Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone is out there but I've had similar problems.

I need to find the original powermanager 1.17 that came with my Lenovo. I can't find it on their web page! The upgrade just destroyed my system.

Any ideas?

Delco said...

Since I wrote that blog, Thinkpad fixed the Update Program, but then recently they decided to change it again.

If you are looking for the original power management software, the original CDs that came with it should have it, or if it did not come with CDs you can make the disks with the utility that comes with the laptop. If you deleted all of that, I think you might be able to order them, I know I have done that before.