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Old Jan 19, 08, 11:46 am   #1
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Problems with my brand-new Lenovo T61p

Sorry this will be long, but I need help & don't know how to make it shorter.

I began configuring my new T61p (running XP Pro SP2) Thurs. AM and immediately had problems with the wireless connection to the internet.

Finally managed to connect and download & install MS Updates in 2 batches. Rebooted after each install. After the 2nd, I lost connectivity. My HP Pavillion, running same system and already fully patched, remained connected.

Finally managed to connect and began to move files from the old computer. It took ages to get the T61 to see anything in My Network Places.

About 1:30PM Thursday, I suddenly noticed that my T61 was showing the time as 2:30AM Friday. (I had been so focussed, I had paid no attention to the time.)

Went into the time settings and correctly set the time. Tried to synchronise with Windows time and got an error message. Discovered that I had lost my connection again.

Tried System Restore, but couldn't restore (because the current date was earlier than the restore dates from the MS updates).

Went back in and changed the date to Friday. Was then able to connect, but still couldn't synchronize (too much difference).

Finished transferring files.

Friday AM, I booted, no connection. Tried to enable connection, system hung.

After shutdown and rebooting, I got a connection. Found a service number for Lenovo and called and talked with a service tech about the clock problem which I (stupidly?) assumed was causing the connection problems. He suggested that I reinstall the OS. Insisted that I don't need CDs. Refused to walk me through the process (but offered to connect me to the paid telephone service). I declined.

I decided to give it a day or so and then try to change the clock again when there were no restore points to cause conflicts.

Friday PM, I logged in, no connection. Tried to enable connection and the system hung. Finally was able to start shutdown, but got an error message about "AcWLIconWnd".

Shutdown hung at "Windows is shutting down" for at least 15 minutes. When the screen finally went to black, the power light was still on. I tried the power on button, but everything was absolutely dead except the Power On, Battery and Plugged-In lights.

Called Lenovo again and service tech walked me through removing the battery and repeatedly pressing the power button to "drain" something (don't remember what).

Rebooted and connected. Later when I tried to shut down, the system hung again (not quite as long), but this time the power light went off and I could reboot.

Checked Event Viewer and found error reference to Ac Svc service. Googled and found that the is the ThinkVantage Access Connections service, and that a lot of people have had connection and sloooow shutdowns because of bugs/conflicts with it.

Saturday AM, I uninstalled ThinkVantage Access Connections. This seems to have solved the slow shutdowns, but I'm still having connection problems.

About half the time when I reboot, the wireless light comes on while windows is starting, but goes off before I can log in. When this happens, if I try to enable connection, the system hangs and I have to use Task Manager to shut down the attempt.

If I reboot, I usually get a connection.

I really don't understand what is happening. My wireless and LAN settings are on the T61 are identical to those of the HP, which is having no connection problems.

And, did I mention that I still haven't reset the clock?

I would really appreciate some good advice. I don't think simply reinstalling the OS will do it, although that is my fallback.
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Old Jan 19, 08, 12:00 pm   #2
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May be you should try to download a new driver or firmware update for the
wireless adapter from the Lenovo/IBM site. This may fix the issue.

You might have to do this from your other computer and transfer it via a USB
drive or CD.
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Old Jan 19, 08, 12:37 pm   #3
 
  
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Is this running Vista? There's another thread about wireless problems with vista that's pretty recent.

Anyway, why not use a wired connection to get all the updates and driver updates downloaded and set up? Then see if you still have the wireless problem, and/or take a look at that other thread if you are running vista.

-David
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Old Jan 19, 08, 2:28 pm   #4
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Try getting to the clock from the BIOS instead of from within Windows. That'll make things a bit easier, as Windows will update from there. Also make sure that the timezone setting in Windows is correct.

As for the connectivity issues, most likely one of the patches in the second batch hosed a driver. If you can get wired connectivity and update all your drivers (particularly the wireless NIC) that should help.
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Old Jan 19, 08, 2:58 pm   #5
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Thanks, all,

I am running WinXP Pro.

I had connectivity problems from the start, even before I downloaded the Windows Updates. Fortunately, when I can connect wirelessly, the connection works well, so that if I need to download new drivers, I should be able to do it.

Before that, I think I'll reboot the modem and router, and delete the old network connections and create new ones. It just occurred to me that there may be something funky going on with the router and/or modem because I set up the original connections when I still had the ThinkVantage Access Connections software installed.

I checked and the timezone settings were correct. I will definitely try to change the clock in the BIOS.

Also, I've noticed that, since the incident Friday when I had to remove and reinstall the battery, my battery guage never reads higher than 98%. (I'm always connected through a surge protector, haven't tried to run on the battery.)
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Old Jan 19, 08, 4:08 pm   #6
  
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As CPX suggested, update the wireless driver. Lenovo Thinkpads use a program called System Update to check and update all the drivers to the latest version. Download that program first and run it.

During setup, try using a wired ethernet connection to your router/switch until everything is complete. There are a few chipset patches and power management drivers that are not in the standard WindowsXP install which may cause these problems. Was this computer shipped with Vista and you converted it to WindowsXP?

The Access Connector cannot setup WPA encryption well. If you are using WPA encyption, when using AC to add a new profile; it will give you a choice to use Windows to configure the security parameters. Go ahead and click that selection.

Last edited by SJUAMMF; Jan 19, 08 at 4:18 pm
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Old Jan 19, 08, 5:34 pm   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SJUAMMF View Post
As CPX suggested, update the wireless driver. Lenovo Thinkpads use a program called System Update to check and update all the drivers to the latest version. Download that program first and run it.

During setup, try using a wired ethernet connection to your router/switch until everything is complete. There are a few chipset patches and power management drivers that are not in the standard WindowsXP install which may cause these problems. Was this computer shipped with Vista and you converted it to WindowsXP?

The Access Connector cannot setup WPA encryption well. If you are using WPA encyption, when using AC to add a new profile; it will give you a choice to use Windows to configure the security parameters. Go ahead and click that selection.
Thanks for the advice. The computer shipped with XP. I went with Lenovo because I couldn't get an HP with XP and didn't want a Dell. (I have to keep files synched between my US computers and the one I use in France, and didn't want the extra hassle of different OS.)

I've uninstalled the Access Connector, so I'll just be using Windows to connect this time.

If I need to download drivers, I'll definitely dig up an ethernet connector.
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Old Jan 19, 08, 5:37 pm   #8
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennisbum View Post
my battery guage [sic] never reads higher than 98%. (I'm always connected through a surge protector, haven't tried to run on the battery.)
This is intentional. The Thinkpad doesn't charge batteries that are close to full capacity. It goes something like this:

100% charge
removed from A/C for 10 minutes
98% charged
plugged back in
Will not charge until battery drops below threshold (which lowers as battery ages)
remove from A/C for 1 hour
70% charge
plug back in
Charges to 100%.

The threshold for a new batter is around 95% as I recall.
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Old Jan 19, 08, 6:09 pm   #9
  
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You'll have a lot more networking luck with ThinkVantage Access Connections than the built-in Microsoft zero config.
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Old Jan 19, 08, 6:29 pm   #10
  
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I have a Thinkpad X60 with version 4.42 of Access Connections running, build 7mcn38ww. That should be about the latest version.
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Old Jan 19, 08, 7:01 pm   #11
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennisbum View Post
...
I've uninstalled the Access Connector, so I'll just be using Windows to connect this time.

If I need to download drivers, I'll definitely dig up an ethernet connector.
I suggest to re-install the Access Connector. It is generally a pretty solid piece of software. It help manage multiple wired and wireless profiles such as home, office, T-Mobile and any other connections that you may return to.

We had ordered Vista in this past year but IT standard is XP. So we installed XP until they let us make the switch.

The hidden partition the Lenovo helpline talked about is access by pressing F11 at boot time. This is only to be used when some serious problem such as FAT table corruption had occurred.

For synchronizing time, I use the NIST time synch'ing client. It is the most accurate.

http://tf.nist.gov/service/its.htm
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Old Jan 19, 08, 9:04 pm   #12
  
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I frequently have problems synchronizing the time, but not just on my Thinkpad. Lots of XP systems. It is a little buggy. I think that the time synchronization doesn't work if the computer is part of a domain / active directory. It will synchronize the time with your domain controller instead.

As for access connections, I haven't had any of those problems. One thing I will note is that you don't want to download the wireless driver as part of windows updates. Definitely use the one provided by Lenovo or Access Connections. The standard Intel driver (presuming you have an Intel card) is not meant to work with Access Connections - it just works properly when you use the windows wireless networking manager. I suspect this is what happened. I had a mess of trouble when I tried to use the standard Intel driver with Access Connections.
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Old Jan 19, 08, 9:25 pm   #13
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Originally Posted by elCheapoDeluxe View Post
I frequently have problems synchronizing the time, but not just on my Thinkpad. Lots of XP systems. It is a little buggy. I think that the time synchronization doesn't work if the computer is part of a domain / active directory. It will synchronize the time with your domain controller instead.

As for access connections, I haven't had any of those problems. One thing I will note is that you don't want to download the wireless driver as part of windows updates. Definitely use the one provided by Lenovo or Access Connections. The standard Intel driver (presuming you have an Intel card) is not meant to work with Access Connections - it just works properly when you use the windows wireless networking manager. I suspect this is what happened. I had a mess of trouble when I tried to use the standard Intel driver with Access Connections.
Well, after I had the complete shutdown freeze with Access Connections installed and read (on a Thinkpad user forum) that others had experienced similar problems with AC, I just uninstalled it, and I must say that I've had no shutdown problems since then. And, given what you've said about AC and Intel drivers, I think I'll just use Windows for my connections: I have one of the Intel Centrino Duo processors.

After I change the time in BIOS, I'll try synchronizing with Windows or NIST. My other 2 computers synch with Windows.
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Old Jan 19, 08, 9:28 pm   #14
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Originally Posted by SJUAMMF View Post
I suggest to re-install the Access Connector. It is generally a pretty solid piece of software. It help manage multiple wired and wireless profiles such as home, office, T-Mobile and any other connections that you may return to.

We had ordered Vista in this past year but IT standard is XP. So we installed XP until they let us make the switch.

The hidden partition the Lenovo helpline talked about is access by pressing F11 at boot time. This is only to be used when some serious problem such as FAT table corruption had occurred.

For synchronizing time, I use the NIST time synch'ing client. It is the most accurate.

http://tf.nist.gov/service/its.htm
Since I don't need any other wireless profiles on this computer, and since the Access Connector seems to be the culprit responsible for my shutdown problems, I think I'd better leave it uninstalled.

I also think that reinstalling the OS is a bit of overkill for my problems. That's why it's my last resort (even though it's what the Lenovo service tech recommended).
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Old Jan 19, 08, 9:31 pm   #15
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Originally Posted by boberonicus View Post
This is intentional. The Thinkpad doesn't charge batteries that are close to full capacity. It goes something like this:

100% charge
removed from A/C for 10 minutes
98% charged
plugged back in
Will not charge until battery drops below threshold (which lowers as battery ages)
remove from A/C for 1 hour
70% charge
plug back in
Charges to 100%.

The threshold for a new batter is around 95% as I recall.
Thanks. I'll try that and, if it works, stop worrying about it.

The thing is, when a product has problems right out of the box, it tends to make me paranoic about every little anomaly.
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