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Is your ThinkPad's USB-C port not working? Upgrade its firmware.

Lenovo has issued a firmware update for ThinkPad laptops made between 2017 and 2019 to fix various USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connection issues.

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Lenovo makes some great laptops but like every company makes missteps. In Lenovo's case, it has confirmed that there's buggy firmware responsible for problems with the USB-C ports on many models of its 2017 to 2019 ThinkPad laptops.

As reported by Notebookcheck and later posted to a Lenovo support page, the USB-C firmware issue affects more than a dozen ThinkPad laptops including the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (5th Gen to 7th Gen), X1 Yoga (2nd Gen to 4th Gen), and P-series ThinkPads. 

It turns out that a firmware update issued in August 2019 corrupted the software controlling the port. According to Lenovo, symptoms of the USB-C problem include:

  • Port not working
  • Intel Thunderbolt controller not visible in the OS/Device Manager
  • USB-C or Thunderbolt docking stations not visible or having connectivity problems
  • HDMI output not available
  • System battery not charging with a USB-C power adapter connected to the USB-C port
  • Intel Thunderbolt pop-up error message
  • Intel Thunderbolt safe mode error message
  • BIOS Thunderbolt communication error or hang during POST

If your laptop is one of the models affected, Lenovo recommends to immediately update your system with new driver and firmware packages that are designed to resolve any USB-C problem. If the updates don't work out, Lenovo urges ThinkPad owners to reach out to Technical Support

Here's a complete list of the affected laptops.

  • P43s (Type 20RH, 20RJ)
  • P52 (Type 20M9, 20MA)
  • P52s (Type 20LB, 20LC)
  • P53s (Type 20N6, 20N7)
  • P71 (Type 20HK, 20HL)
  • T470 (Type 20HD, 20HE)
  • T470 (Type 20JM, 20JN)
  • T470s (Type 20HF, 20HG)
  • T470s (Type 20JS, 20JT)
  • T480 (Type 20L5, 20L6)
  • T480s (Type 20L7, 20L8)
  • T490 (Type 20N2, 20N3)
  • T490 (Type 20RY, 20RX)
  • T490 (Type 20Q9, 20QH)
  • T490s (Type 20NX, 20NY)
  • T570 (Type 20H9,20HA)
  • T570 (Type 20JW, 20JX)
  • T580 (Type 20L9, 20LA)
  • T590 (Type 20N4, 20N5)
  • X1 Carbon 5th Gen - (Type 20HR, 20HQ)
  • X1 Carbon 6th Gen - (Type 20KH, 20KG)
  • X1 Carbon 7th Gen - (Type 20QD, 20QE)
  • X1 Carbon 7th Gen - (Type 20R1, 20R2)
  • X1 Yoga 2nd Gen (Type 20JD, 20JE, 20JF, 20JG)
  • X1 Yoga 3rd Gen (Type 20LD, 20LE, 20LF, 20LG)
  • X1 Yoga 4th Gen (Type 20QF, 20QG)
  • X1 Yoga 4th Gen (Type 20SA, 20SB)
  • X1 Tablet 3rd Gen (Type 20KJ, 20KK)
  • X280 (Type 20KF, 20KE)
  • Yoga 370 (Type 20JJ, 20JH)
  • X380 Yoga (Type 20NN, 20QN)
  • X390 (Type 20Q0, 20Q1)
  • X390 Yoga (Type 20LH, 20LJ)
  • P51 (Type 20MM, 20MN)
  • P51 (Type 20HH, 20HJ)
  • P51s (Type 20HB, 20HC)
  • P51s (Type 20JY, 20K0)
  • P72 (Type 20MB, 20MC)