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Correspondence with Lenovo (ThinkPad T430)

Table of contents

Windows Update Infinite Loop.
Windows Update Infinite Loop.

1) S. Jetchick (2013-April-10)

1) S. Jetchick (2013-April-10)

-----Original Message-----
From: Stefan Jetchick
Sent: 10 avril 2013 16:01
To: hthimmegowda(add the "at" sign here) lenovo.com
Subject: RE: Returns on the order # 4242560308

Good day Mr. Harish Thimme Gowda,

I just got your e-mail with the Return Authorization number
(#4220331023). Thank you very much for trying to help me.

Could you please do me a favor and send this e-mail (and the
associated hyperlink) to whoever is responsible for these
things at Lenovo? Maybe the description of my difficulties
and frustrations can be useful to help Lenovo improve their
products and their service. Hopefully what happened to me
will never happen again to another customer (or Lenovo will
quickly go out of business).

Here is what happened to me (I wrote this on April 07, but
I could not send it to Lenovo because I never found an
e-mail address on their web site):


I tried to explain my situation by telephone, but I don't think
I succeeded, so I'm trying in writing.

My new Lenovo ThinkPad T430 arrived recently (2013-April-04;
Order# 4242560308; Lenovo Part# 2342CTO).

Like a good boy scout, I first went on www.update.microsoft.com
to get all operating system patches. It downloaded 241 megabytes,
and apparently installed them. Then, when I tried to shutdown,
it asked "Please do not power off or unplug your machine. Installing
update X of 61". After the shutdown completed, when I rebooted,
it displayed a message saying it needed to "configure updates",
then started announcing that it was something like 7% completed, then
15%, and then "Failure configuring Windows Updates. Reverting
Changes. Do not turn off your computer."

(You can see the pictures I took with my digital camera of these
screens here above.)

The plot thickened when this happened everytime I tried to
shutdown or reboot! After three or four of these "wash-rinse-spin"
cycles, I was getting desperate! So I bit the bullet, created
the four recovery DVDs, wiped the hard drive clean and re-imaged
the hard drive to put everything back in factory state. I thought
maybe I had broken something, because I had dis-installed some
junk before going on www.update.microsoft.com (like Norton Antivirus,
which I consider to be almost as bad as a virus itself).

Even with a hard drive in pristine factory state, it still
refused to shut down or reboot without attempting and failing
to update Microsoft Windows. (And each of these "wash-rinse-spin"
cycles would take almost an hour...) At one o'clock in the
morning, I gave up.

The next day I called 1-866-96-THINK, to send the confounded
thing back and get a refund. I wish I had the equipment to
record telephone conversations, because an MP3 file accompanying
this article would have been hilarious. Starting with the
phone number which gets redirected, as in "you're using an
obsolete phone number, use 253-6686 instead". Well, you
printed that number on my fresh invoice! Shouldn't you change
it at your end?

Then after mucking around in the dreaded voice menus, I got to
a human being, who was very polite and helpful, but who had
ESL Syndrom (English as a Second Language), which meant a lot
of repeating. He told me he didn't have a choice, and needed
a "case number" from the "technical team", so he transfered

The chap from the "technical team" had the ESL syndrom too,
so communication was also difficult. He was very confused as
to why I was talking to him, and asked several times how I
got his number, and who sent me, and where I purchased my laptop.
I had to identify myself (again), but this time with numbers
related to my laptop, whereas the first chap figured out who I
was using numbers related to my order.

Anyway, I managed to convey with difficulty that I had just
spent the better part of a work day trying unsuccessfully to
open and shut down my laptop... yes, only that. With much
prodding, he finally gave me a case number (A0572ST). So I
called back at the other number. More explanations, but at
least he took my case number. Then he said that they would
examine my situation, and if they decided to allow a return,
within two business days, I would get an e-mail with some
labels to print out. Then after getting the laptop they
would decide whether to allow a refund.

All those requests for permissions annoyed me, but I didn't
have a choice.

The following day, after gentle prodding from my neighbor
and my Mom, I tried another approach. I opened "Lenovo
Solution Center", and ran its "Software Update" service. Another
280 megabytes or so, and none of them were marked "important".
But what did I have to lose? So I let it install all that,
including flashing the BIOS! Then, after, I ran Microsoft
Windows Update, which downloaded its 61 or so updates, but
this time installed them successfully, without going into
the dreaded Infinite Update Loop...

So here I am. Now my new Lenovo Thinkpad can start up and
shut down. Big improvement! I can't help but feel anger
at the factory employee somewhere in China who hasn't
kept the master hard drive updated, so he continues to
image the hard drives for new laptops with an outdated
image... Roughly one full day wasted because of him...

By the way, I had another problem. When I tried to put an
SD memory card into the laptop, it got stuck inside!
I would push the SD card, it would partly pop out by about
5mm, but I could not pull it out completely. I could push
it in flush, and pop it partly out, but that's all. Pulling
fairly hard didn't work.

Fortunately, I have at least 10 big toolboxes filled with
tools in my house, so I had a machinist's Feeler Gauge Set,
so that made a nice solid and very flat tool to stick in
and jimmy around until the SD card was released. I tried
again, it got stuck again. Feeler gauge again. After 2-3
times, it worked properly.

I really love my old IBM ThinkPad T41, and I'm going to
use it until it dies. The only reason I tried buying a
computer from Lenovo for the first time was because of
that old trusty IBM ThinkPad. I was getting ready to buy
several Lenovo ThinkPad T430 laptops, but this whole
experience makes me hesitate... I'm just glad I bought
it for myself, and not my Mom for example (I'm a C++
programmer and a handyman, so I was able to dig myself
out of my Lenovo troubles, so far anyway.)

Then I tried to send you this article in an e-mail.
No e-mail for Lenovo! Nowhere in sight on your web site!
Neither: www.lenovo.com/contact/ca/en/,
nor even searching Google for "lenovo customer service email".
[A few days later Mr. Harish Thimme Gowda contacted me
by e-mail, so that problem was thankfully solved.]


Stefan Jetchick

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