A large number of Lenovo ThinkPad laptops are suffering from serious issues relating to the USB Type-C port and Thunderbolt controller, but there is a fix in the form of firmware and driver updates.
The details of the nasty gremlins in the works are provided via a Lenovo support page (opens in new tab), where you will also find the relevant system updates for the different affected devices.
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This was highlighted by Notebook Check (opens in new tab), and there’s a long list of affected models provided by Lenovo, all of which are ThinkPad notebooks from 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The common denominator is seemingly that all the affected devices have Thunderbolt controllers, and they have gone wrong, or the USB-C port itself has become faulty.
Lenovo lists the various problems which can emerge with these machines, and are likely to do so within the first six to 12 months of ‘typical usage’ of the laptop.
Those issues include the USB-C port simply not working anymore, or experiencing connectivity problems. Alternatively, video output may fail, or power delivery via the USB-C port might fall over. In other words, the Type-C port will either fail completely or partly.
Furthermore, the user may get Thunderbolt error messages (and potentially a system hang at the start of boot-up).
How to fix Lenovo ThinkPads USB-C problems
Owners of the ThinkPad laptops highlighted are advised by Lenovo to immediately update with the relevant Intel driver and firmware packages (opens in new tab). You'll find the list of necessary updates for any particular affected device in a table towards the bottom of the web page.
Be sure to install both of these updates, and the manufacturer recommends that you should install the driver first, followed by the firmware update.
Lenovo also observes that: “Users with NVM version 4.0 please connect a Thunderbolt device to the system prior to updating firmware.”
Furthermore, if installing the above packages doesn’t help, you need to contact Lenovo technical support, who will doubtless advise you on the next steps to take.