Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lenovo Offers Crappy Support

I'm still trying, now and then, to fix my Thinkpad T40's problem.

A friend tells me that my problem is that since I replaced the hard drive, installing a new Hitachi TravelStar 80 gig 7200 rpm drive in a laptop that was released in 2003, I likely need to update the BIOS. He says this can easily be done. Just put the new BIOS onto a USB flashdrive. When the laptop boots up, it will first go to the USB port, and update the BIOS.

I don't know if that's easy. I went to the Lenovo website, searching for the right BIOS update. Nothing clearly related to my hard drive, and no mention of a BIOS update that can be put on a flash drive. Instead, the website was full of info on how to burn the BIOS update onto a DVD.

So I called Lenovo's toll free help line. Plodded my way though their horrible and annoying phone menu. (Are there any large companies that don't have horrible and annoying phone menus?) I finally connected to a live person.

I spent more time giving him all sorts of numbers from the underside of my laptop. After which he told me that my laptop was past warrenty, so I didn't qualify for assistance on the free help line. He said I could only seek help on the website.

I know my laptop's past warranty. I'm not looking for Lenovo to replace the hard drive or DVD drive. (I already replaced both, out of my pocket -- and bought a new edition of Windows XP since Lenovo doesn't include Windows DVDs with their systems.)

I told the customer service rep that all I wanted was for someone to email me the correct BIOS update. He said I didn't qualify for help on the phone line, and "I am now disengaging this call."

His exact word. "Disengaging." I was "disengaged" by Lenovo. A nicely sterile way of saying "F--- you."

I felt like I was brushed off by Hal 9000.

Since both Lenovo and the HAL 9000 have roots in IBM (even if unintentional), this seems appropriate.


Mark said...


Sorry to hear that you didn't have a positive experience - it sounds like this could have been handled more politely at the least. Unfortunately, phone support is now only available for in-warranty customers, although some fee based support offerings are being considered.

All files available for download, including bios are available from the support site at

Another good resources to get some assistance would be lenovo's forum at or a third party enthusiast forum,

In some ways, I'll recommend the ThinkPad forum because many of the members there are actively working with T40's, T42, T43 vintage systems and have been through what you are trying to do. I suspect by posting there, you would get some great advice from others who have been down the same road.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

Just don't buy Lenovo Thinkpad generally! Lenovo 'Thinkpad's are not IBM Thinkpads; my experience is they last well for 2 years then they are just well-built junk once something important breaks. They are inferior to the IBM thinkpads from years ago. Other laptops I've had last 5 years (ok not as good build quality - but work longer). Oh and as you see the support is legendary (bad)!