Lenovo ThinkVantage System Update

ThinkVantage System Update is an extremely useful and time-saving software application which aids in updating the Lenovo and IBM middleware that ships with ThinkPad laptops and ThinkCentre desktops that use Microsoft Windows.


ThinkVantage System Update (TVSU) allows you to update all your Lenovo and IBM middleware (such as Access Connections, Rescue and Recovery, etc.) and drivers in (usually) one process with one reboot, bringing applications and drivers up-to-date. Doing this can significantly enhance the performance and reliability of a ThinkPad or ThinkCentre.


In general, the latest versions of Lenovo's ThinkVantage software are compatible with Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7 SP1. However, compatibility does not equal "savviness," and not all ThinkVantage software is a good match for Windows in the University environment. This document details the different ThinkVantage software components and discusses which are useful and why.

How To Use ThinkVantage System Update

  1. Select Start, All Programs, ThinkVantage, System Update (this process may vary slightly on older systems).
  2. In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, click Continue in the User Account Control dialog box.
  3. The Welcome screen will appear. Click Next. The Searching For Updates screen will appear. When ThinkVantage System Update has finished searching for updates, the Updates For Your System screen will appear.
  4. There are four tabs along the top of the listed updates: critical updates, recommended updates, optional updates, and extras.
    • Critical updates should be installed unless you are sure you do not need them.
    • Recommended updates should usually be installed if you are using the software being updated.
    • Optional updates can be installed if you are using the software being updated.
    • Extras include various sales-related material (accessories, etc.) from Lenovo.
  5. In each case, an individual update is selected by activating the checkbox next to it. You can also take updates permanently off System Update's list by expanding a particular update and clicking Do not show this update.
  6. When you have finished selecting the updates you wish to run, click Next. The Review Updates screen will appear, listing the updates you have selected to be downloaded and installed.
  7. Click Download. A Download And Installing Updates dialog will appear. At various points in the process, license agreements and other dialogs may appear and require user interaction.
  8. If your system needs to be rebooted, a Your System Has Been Updated dialog will appear. Click Yes.

Note that that some driver updates and all BIOS updates will require a reboot. In some case, you may wish to run ThinkVantage System Update multiple times, as some updates require other updates to be installed before they become available.

Related information

Lenovo's ThinkVantage System Update product page.

--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (August 24, 2010, updated June 5, 2013)

Continuous use utilities

These are utilities that are in fairly constant use on a ThinkPad.

Access Connections Suggested Information Systems & Computing (ISC) suggests that Access Connections, which attempts to provide useful automation to Internet connectivity and related services, be used for ThinkPads. The most recent versions of Access Connections support connections to AirPennNet. Access Connections also can be used to enable WWAN connectivity such Verizon's EVDO.
Access Help Suggested ISC suggests that Access Help, which is a hardware-specific help reference, be used.
Active Protection System Strongly suggested ISC strongly suggests that the Active Protection System, which protects the internal hard drive from the effects of sudden drops, be used.
Client Security Solution Not suggested for most users ISC suggests that the Client Security Solution not be used unless there is a defined and specific need for the security features it provides. There are known conflicts between the Client Security Solution and the University's supported antivirus software. There have also been some serious functionality problems reported with the Client Security Solution at the University, which ISC continues to investigate.
EasyEject Utility Suggested ISC suggests that the EasyEject Utility, which enables and configures ejection of various hardware devices such docks, slices, optical drives, and network cards, be used, especially for single-spindle X-series ThinkPads used with a slice.
Fingerprint Software Suggested for some users ISC suggests that the Fingerprint Software, which enables the integrated fingerprint reader on some ThinkPads, be used when such a fingerprint reader exists.
Power Manager Suggested ISC suggests that the Power Manager, which enables far more precise control and monitoring of a ThinkPad's batteries than Windows, be used. ISC's testing also suggests that the Power Manager significantly enhances battery life over Windows' generic controls.
Productivity Center Optional ISC suggests that the Productivity Center, which integrates access to most ThinkVantage software, be used by users who find this integration useful.
Rescue and Recovery Suggested for most users ISC suggests that Rescue and Recovery, Lenovo's integrated back-up software, be used unless another back-up solution is preferred, in place, and in use.
System Update Strongly suggested ISC suggests that System Update (an integrated updating utility sometimes called TVSU) be used. System Update has especially high utility because ThinkVantage software is often being revised to increase functionality or compatibility.

 Limited use utilities

These are utilities that are generally used for system configuration or reminders.

Keyboard Customizer Utility Optional ISC suggests that the Keyboard Customizer Utility, which allows easy customization of keyboard commands, be used by users who desire this capability.
Maintenance Manager Optional ISC suggests that the Maintenance Manager, which allows somewhat integrated access to various Windows maintenance utilities and scheduling of their use, be used by users who desire this capability.
Message Center Optional ISC suggests that the Message Center, which displays various messages from Lenovo, be used by users who desire this capability.
Presentation Center Optional ISC suggests that the Presentation Center, which stores multiple settings relevant to doing a successful PowerPoint presentation, be used by users who frequently do presentations from their ThinkPads. Other users will find the Presentation Center to be of limited use.

Single-use utilities

These are utilities that are rarely used, but are part of the ThinkVantage software suite.

Create Recovery Media This utility, which helps create a full CD-RW based back-up, is suggested for use.
Secure Data Disposal This utility, which helps ensure that any critical data is permanently removed from a PC before it is disposed, is operating system-independent.
System Migration Assistant

This utility, which assists users in moving from any previous Windows-based system to a new Lenovo-based system, is suggested for use, but can be removed once the migration is complete.

Print This Page Share:
Date Posted: April 16, 2013 Tags: Provider Resource, Configuration, Lenovo, Notebook

Was this information helpful?

Login with PennKey to view and post comments