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Some recent ThinkPads can be bricked by changing a UEFI-BIOS setting

Some recent ThinkPads can be destroyed by changing a UEFI-BIOS setting
Some recent ThinkPads can be destroyed by changing a UEFI-BIOS setting
Some modern ThinkPad laptops apparently have an issue with the UEFI-BIOS. When a certain setting is activated, this action can potentially brick the laptop. The only fix in this situation: Exchanging the motherboard.
Benjamin Herzig,
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In the past, firmware issues on laptops were rather rare. The good old BIOS was technically obsolete, but as such a simple interface, it also rarely was the source of problems. This has changed since the introduction of the more modern UEFI-BIOS. In the most recent case of UEFI related problems, newer Lenovo ThinkPads are potentially bricked when a certain option in the UEFI-BIOS is enabled.

If the user activates the option "BIOS support for Thunderbolt" or "Thunderbolt BIOS Assist" (depending on the model), there is a chance that the systems hangs at next reboot. Affected systems will only display a black screen, which apparently means that the UEFI firmware has been corrupted. The only solution in this case: Exchanging the motherboard of the affected ThinkPad.

At the moment, its not known how many models are affected by this. One thing is clear though: Cheaper models like the ThinkPad L380 or ThinkPad E480 and ThinkPads made before 2017 are not affected, because they lack Thunderbolt support. There are user-reports about the problem for the following ThinkPads:

Apparently, Lenovo is already aware of the issue since June 2018, at least in the case of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga. Still, no permanent solution like a firmware-patch is available as of now. Until Lenovo releases a UEFI update, the best advice for users is to not touch the option – or to contact the Lenovo support, in the case that the device is already bricked.

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Benjamin Herzig
Benjamin Herzig - Managing Editor - 912 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I was an ardent reader of Notebookcheck’s laptop reviews even back in school. After writing reviews as a hobby, I then joined Notebookcheck in 2016 and have worked on device reviews and news articles ever since then. My personal interest lies more with laptops than smartphones, with business laptops being the most interesting category for me. Technology should make our lives and work easier and good laptops are an essential tool for that to happen. This is why laptop reviews are not just my work but are also my passion.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 10 > Some recent ThinkPads can be bricked by changing a UEFI-BIOS setting
Benjamin Herzig, 2018-10-25 (Update: 2019-04-30)