Thursday, November 1, 2012

Windows 8 – Sixth Pass: Lenovo T400 Fixes

At long last, I have finally been able to resolve some odd Windows 8 hardware compatibility issues with my Lenovo T400 laptop and Windows 8. I’m not sure if these are related to Windows 8 finally being available to the public or not.

A good bit of internet research revealed that for legacy hardware, like a T400, your best bet is not to use the general Windows 8 drivers come with the OS but rather to revert back to the latest version of the driver for Windows 7.

As I’ve posted here, I’ve been having problems with my display. Areas of the screen will at time fuzz out and become unreadable and I have to refresh the display to solve the issue. I’ve also had issues with my ATI Radeon Mobile 3400 chip overheating. My T400 has switchable graphics and in order to avoid the overheating problem I only used the Intel Mobile Series 4 chipset graphics driver. This created the fuzz out problems. Both of these graphics chips were using the built in Windows 8 WDDM 1.1 drivers.

Lenovo’s website has not been very helpful in terms of Windows 8 so I manually downloaded the latest Windows 7 switchable graphics driver. I installed it and then manually updated each graphics card driver using the Device Manager to the Windows 7 driver.

Presto – success! Not only did it solve my overheating problem but also my switchable graphics is working again and there are no more areas of fuzz out making my computer very difficult to use.

Through a bit more research, I discovered the Lenovo System Update utility has finally been updated and released for Windows 8. I installed it but it didn’t find any updates for my computer. Again, as this is legacy hardware there probably won’t be many drivers released specifically for Windows 8. As such, the Windows 7 drivers are the way to go. I did find it interesting that it didn’t find an update for my touchpad through the tool but I found an update for it manually on the Lenovo drivers list for the T400.

Another problem I had was with the wireless network indicator light. After the Windows 8 upgrade the light was on when the wireless was on and off when it was off. With Windows 7, it would flash to indicate activity. Reinstalling the latest Windows 7 driver, downloaded manually, also fixed that problem.

I’ve been running Windows 8 since mid-August and I’m just now starting to feel as though my laptop can be productive once again.