Blog: ThinkPad

After switching to a Thinkpad T440s I started having display problems with Office applications. It would start as a minor issue but end up getting refreshed into a major display problem, which made most of a message or document unreadable. [more]

I found a blog entry at http://blogs.technet.com/b/rmilne/archive/2014/07/08/outlook-2013-distorted-display-issues.aspx that provided a workaround until the Thinkpad display drivers are fixed; disabling hardware graphics acceleration. This is accomplished from within the Office application by going to File -> Options -> Advanced -> Display and check the box to “Disable hardware graphics acceleration.


 

While testing a honeypot solution on our network I noticed some interesting traffic.  I was seeing consistent UDP broadcasts (port 43440) from various ThinkPads on our network.  The packet showed "Lenovo ThinkPad" in clear text but nothing else helpful.  After more research I discovered these broadcasts were generated by the power management driver on the Thinkpad.  The only way to stop the broadcasts was to stop the power management service.

But it seemed odd the power management service would send UDP broadcasts.  More research indicated this was part of the Cisco EnergyWise initiative.  This is designed to allow hardware manufacturers a method to manage power settings on network-attached devices via a Cisco switch.  Several hardware companies are on-board but Lenovo appears to be the only PC or laptop manufacturer that's participating. [more]

Links:
http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/T61-and-prior-T-series-ThinkPad/ThinkPad-Power-Manager-3-52-pwmewsvc-exe-broadcasting-data/ta-p/439107
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns726/intro_content_energywise.html


 

UEFI problems:  I have found that Bitlocker will not be able to use the enhanced PIN as specified in our GPO on the Thinkpad T420 when using UEFI.  The problem lies in the BIOS (yes, it is still called the BIOS, even though it is UFEI) and it requires an updated version so that the keyboard keys are represented properly (alpha characters) during the boot phase of the startup. My T420 had version 1.24 of the BIOS, and version 1.25 seems to fix this issue. Here is a snippet of the Release Notes for 1.25: [more]

CHANGES IN THIS RELEASE

  Version 1.25

[Important updates]

  Nothing.

[New functions or enhancements]

- Added support for the Password Beep function.

- Increased the number of configurable boot devices by BootOrder option of

  Windows WMI script.

[Problem fixes]

- Fixed an issue where the BitLocker function could not be enabled on Windows

  64-bit.

- Fixed an issue where PXE boot might fail.

- Fixed an issue where the fingerprint authentication associated with some

  password strings might fail.

- Fixed an issue where the Intel TXT feature might not be enabled when the

  Security Chip was activated and the Intel TXT feature was enabled at the same

  time by ThinkPad BIOS Settings Windows program.

- Fixed an issue where the Bluetooth wireless status indicator might be changed

  after running Windows WMI script.


 

Upon receiving my new Lenovo ThinkPad laptop, I set up fingerprint authorization through the Lenovo software.  After ensuring all my fingerprints were scanned properly, I rebooted the machine.   I tried to the use my fingerprint to login and the light flashed green.  Unfortunately, the machine wouldn’t proceed any farther in the process.

It appears you have to go into Windows 7 itself and enable ‘Domain Login’ under the Windows Biometric section in order to actually allow domain authorization.  Otherwise, the software will just let you access local accounts.


 

From time to time, one of my desk monitors would take on a yellow cast.  It happened recently and was persistent in lasting about three days.  I was thinking the monitor would have to be replaced when a co-worker came by my desk, glanced at the monitor and said “you’ve got a bad connection.”

At that time we checked the monitor cable and found it was secure, but the “bad connection”  idea made me wonder if perhaps my laptop wasn’t properly seated in the dock.  I undocked and then docked again, taking care the laptop was firmly locked into place.   When the monitor came up this time, it was back to the normal color.

Thanks my to my co-worker for recognizing the problem right away.  And when checking connections, it is important to think through every link along the way.


 

I was having some problems with my laptop's Bluetooth radio turning itself off when I reboot without powering off. I found an online posting indicating resetting the BIOS to defaults would fix the problem. I went into the BIOS setup and reset it then rebooted. However, that changed the system enough to make Bitlocker to ask for the recovery key. I put in the recovery key then suspended Bitlocker on the C drive after Windows came up (as the Bitlocker message instructed). I then resumed Bitlocker and it seemed to work after another reboot. [more]

However, when I rebooted the laptop at home later that day, Bitlocker asked for the recovery key again. I found another Microsoft support entry that indicated the problem might be that the boot order was changed. That made sense because my configuration at home involved an external USB device that wasn't connected at the office.

I suspended Bitlocker then rebooted and went into the BIOS setup and made sure the first (and only in this case) boot device listed was my C drive.

After rebooting, I resumed Bitlocker protection and haven't had a problem since.


 

I needed to make an audio recording using my laptop.   Previously I had good success using an USB Plantronics headset which has a microphone (DSP 400).

This was my first recording with my new laptop (ThinkPad T410, Windows7).   The T410 uses the Conexant 2085 SmartAudio HD sound adapter.

I downloaded the open source software “Audacity.”  It is great software with many advanced features I have never tapped.  It is simple enough I can use the basics and be up and running as soon as it is installed.

When I plugged in the Plantronics headset, it was recognized right away, but there were a couple of problems to address before being able to record.  [more]

First the internal microphone on the laptop was not deactivated when the headset was plugged in.  This meant extra noise and sounds were being captured. 

I looked through the sound control panel “Recording” tab and could not find any means to the mute the microphone.  (A co-worker later showed me the control panel microphone mute button.  It has the same icon as the speaker mute button, so I overlooked it.)  What I did discover was the volume slider did not appear to effect the internal microphone as the recording level meter continued to register sounds even when the slider was all the way down.  For my first recording I resorted to disabling the internal microphone in order to limit recording to the headset microphone.

Second, when I did a test recording with Audacity, there as a stream of white noise which was as loud as my voice.  Back in the Sound control panel I remembered seeing some Windows settings to automatically adjust sound volumes when the PC is used to place or receive phone calls (Skype-like calls I assume).  I went to the Communications tab in the Sound control panel.  By default the setting was set to “Reduce the volume of other sounds by 80%.”  I changed the setting to “Do Nothing.”  I made another test recording and the white noise was gone.

After I completed the recording project, I attempted to enable the internal microphone.  It was gone from the Sound control panel.  With the headset unplugged there were no recording devices listed. 

The only way I could get the internal microphone to reappear was to uninstall Conexant in the device manager and restart the laptop.  When the laptop restarted it reinstalled the Conexant adapter and the internal microphone was available again in the Sound control panel under Recording.

Preparing to write this post, I was able to take the time to look further for a way to mute the internal microphone.  And, the Gotcha took on new dimensions.  There is a “Mute Microphone” button at the top of the keyboard.  My old laptop didn’t have this button and so I never thought about having a dedicated mute button.  No need to disable and ultimately reinstall, just press the button.

UPDATE:  People have commented that the mute microphone button did not fix the problem for them, but turning off the microphone boost did.


 

I have a ThinkPad T410s.  I was running without power the other day & was almost out of batter, so under Power Manager, I moved my power setting all the way to “High energy savings.”  This allowed my battery to last longer. However, when I went back to my desk to doc my system I could not get both of my monitors to work (only one would come up).  I checked power, tried changing cables, rebooting, etc. with no luck.  Finally, I remember I had changed my power settings… [more]

What I found out was that with the T410s there are two graphics cards, the integrated Intel GMA & a NVIDIA NVS 3100M.  Under your energy setting plans, there is an option for “Switchable Graphics.”  You can set it to either “High Performance” or “Energy Saving” for both Batter and AC.  The only plan that had “Energy Saving” selected for AC was the “High energy savings” plan I had selected.  Once I changed it to “High Performance” it switched to the better graphic card and began to allow for dual monitors…


 

I am having trouble with my machine overheating. I found two useful tools to look at the temperature on the cores of the processor.  The programs are: 

RealTemp - This program will monitor the temperature on each of the cores (for any modern Intel processor) and also periodically log the results to a file.

Tpfancontrol - This is a program specifically for ThinkPads which shows the temperature and allows you to control the fan speed somewhat. It does show the fan speed and how it changes as the temperature on the cores change.


 

I was trying to post a job on Yahoo hotjobs (using a new ThinkPad running Windows 7), but after I would choose a location & select "Post Job", it would take me back to select a location.  After trying several times across two days, I finally tried to submit a "help form", but I was unable to determine if the form was actually being submitted and I never heard back from Yahoo.  After about a week (and I tried several different days through the week), I was going to sing into Google Analytics.  When I tried to log in with our account credentials, I received the error message “Your browser’s cookie functionality is turned off. Please turn it on.”  I knew it was not turned off, but followed their help and went to Tools, Internet Options, Privacy, Advanced, and verified "First-party Cookies" were not blocked.  While trying to discover what the problem was, I looked under websites to see if it was listed as a blocked site.  I found more than 100 sites listed as blocked including all the major search engines (I did not add them, so they must have come from the factory).  When I removed Yahoo.com, I began to be able to post jobs.