Lenovo System Update Woes!

The computer was eligible for a Windows Vista Business Express Upgrade and I participated in the program and received my Windows Vista Business Express Upgrade DVD in March 2007 and waited until now to install Vista.


System Update UGH.

In my career working with computers and technology, there is nothing I hate more than having to make a call to tech support. Without trying to inflate my ego, I like to think that people generally call me to help them with their technology related troubles, so when I end up having to call tech support, I usually expect to be treated like a complete noob by the support representative. And don’t get me wrong, I know first hand technical support is like, so making the support reps job any worse doesn’t help me. Generally, though, I have found overall if you are clear about the problem, you can either play dumb and they will repair the issue or you can play smart and they will repair the issue. Unfortunately, that was not the case this time.

I have a Lenovo ThinkPad x60 Tablet PC that I bought in the beginning of 2007, before Windows Vista was available pre-installed. The computer was eligible for a Windows Vista Business Express Upgrade and I participated in the program and received my Windows Vista Business Express Upgrade DVD in March 2007 and waited until now to install Vista. My problem now stems from the Lenovo ThinkVantage Technologies application called System Update. At it’s core, System Update is a pretty sweet program if you ask me. The application detects what kind of system you have (Serial & Model Info), goes online to the ThinkPad package repository, fetches all the necessary drivers, applications, patches and updates and then installs everything for the user.  I’ve used it many times in XP and it is quite remarkable. From an administrator’s point of view, it’s the easiest way to build and setup images for new computers. Gone are the days of individually downloading and installing drivers! Anyway, down to the problem.

I installed Windows Vista Business Edition with no trouble on my tablet and proceeded to go online and download the most recent version of System Update (3.01). All was well until I went to run the application. System Update has a 3 step process: 1. Determine model and retrieve relevant package info, 2. Prompt user to select appropriate packages, 3. Download + Install said packages. My problems begin in step 1. When running XP (and how SU should work in general), System Update usually takes no more than 30 seconds to determine and download the repository xml list. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case with Vista and my tablet. SU spent 15 minutes determining my machine type and downloading the list. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, I selected the packages and began the automated process. Again I was plagued with insanely slow download speed, but in good faith let the machine download overnight. To my grand surprise in the morning, every package failed to install. Even better, Lenovo ThinkVantage Support told me it was because of a bad Vista install (that I messed it up somehow) even though I had installed Vista fresh 3 times to try and fix it myself.

After nearly giving up, I discovered another program part of the TV SU Suite called Update Retriever, which goes online and fetches all the available packages for specified Machine Types and stores them locally. While that program didn’t work under Vista, it did work under XP (which I just happened to have made an image of before upgrading to Vista). After loading XP back, retrieving all the updates, reinstalling Vista and configuring System Update to look locally, it would appear everything worked. Man, what a bitch.

I called Lenovo support back today in reference to my case as I am still unable to use System Update properly and to my delight, they are just going to send me the Vista recovery media for my computer considering I have an active license from my OEM Vista copy! Hopefully I’ll have the discs in 2 or 3 days and we shall see how it goes!

This problem is solved by disabling autotuning in Microsoft Windows Vista. See the update post!

1 thought on “Lenovo System Update Woes!”

  1. I’d love to have the original recovery media but I refuse to pay $50 for the media and cannot figure out how to get Lenovo to send me them for free.

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