Lenovo ThinkPad black screen issue fixed, but bricked systems need repair at service center

Lenovo fixed a nasty issue affecting some of its ThinkPad series laptops. The problem was major, as it resulted in bricked systems.

Reports about the problem started pouring in sometime late November. Users said upon changing display settings from hybrid graphics to discrete graphics, when the laptop booted up, everything went black – no way to enter BIOS settings and the OS didn’t start.

So effectively, their systems got bricked.

After messing around in the BIOS a day after getting a new thinkpad x1 extreme I decided to change one of the display settings from using hybrid graphics to using the discrete graphics. Ever since then, the laptop boots up fine but everything is black including the BIOS

Same problem. I changed from Hybrid to Discrete and now it’s black screen (I can hit Enter to get the boot options, but if I go into BIOS it’s black screen after “Entering Setup…..”

It took weeks before a company employee addressed affected users on the official Lenovo forums. In a post late last December, they said the problem has been identified and a new BIOS version will be released to fix it.

While that was good news, the sad part was they confirmed the only way to recover bricked systems was to take them to a service center.

Dear customers, regarding to the POST hang issue when switching Grphics mode from Hybrid to Discrete, development team identified the root cause and preparing the solution by BIOS #35(v1.17). It will be available by next Monday.

However, I’m sorry we couldn’t find the way to recover the system by customers so that customers still need to contact Lenovo service to repair the planar

Users who want to use discrete graphics, please update this BIOS #35(v1.17) first, then switched to discrete

lenovo-thinkpad-display-settings-issue

BIOS version 1.17 was released on the eve of Christmas last year and its release notes say the following two issues were fixed:

  • Fixed an issue where the system might not boot with Discrete Graphics
  • Fixed an issue where the system will black screen under OS environment

Some of those who installed this latest BIOS version confirmed the display settings problem got fixed.

Even the ArchLinux Wiki page for Lenovo ThinkPad P1 endorses BIOS version 1.17 for this purpose.

Use the comments section below to let us know if BIOS 1.17 fixed the issue for you.

“Configuration Changed. Reboot the system” bootloop issue

While researching on the previous issue, we stumbled upon another major problem being reported by some ThinkPad series users.

Initial reports said after changing some settings in BIOS, the system starts bootlooping, and all users can see is the error message “Configuration changed – Restart the system”, which appears for a second during bootloops.

The following report should give you a better idea about the issue:

After changing some settings in the BIOS (deactivation of some devices: WIFI, Camera, Ethernet, Fingerprint reader…) for troubleshooting a linux issue I had. The laptop now bootloops right after the Lenovo logo with the following message displayed for barely a second: “Configuration changed – Restart the system”…

It’s absolutely impossible to get to the BIOS, I can get to the boot menu via the F12 Key but any option I choose (BIOS, Diagnostics…) gets immediately the same message and it restarts

A Lenovo forum administrator addressed the complainants last week, revealing this is indeed an issue and company engineers are currently looking into it.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Engineers are looking into this

The forum admin also revealed that so far it appears disabling audio through BIOS causes the problem.

lenovo-thinkpad-bootloop-issue

This indeed seems to be the root cause, as several users confirmed the behavior.

I can confirm I indeed disabled audio. So this error is reproducible, good to know I’m not alone

Just to double confirm, the audio is what I disabled as well

Recently, a Lenovo employee confirmed on the same thread that a fix should be rolling out soon.

Good news is development team prepared the fix BIOS urgently so that it will be available soon

lenovo-thinkpad-bootloop-fix-coming

There has been no further update from Lenovo about this problem and the fix roll out.

Rest assured, we are keeping an active tab on the matter, and will update this story as and when more news worthy developments take place. Until then, if you have been affected by the issue, share your experience in the comments section below.

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Himanshu Arora

My interest in technology and writing started back in 2010. Since then, I have written for many leading publications, including Computerworld, GSMArena, TechSpot, HowtoForge, LinuxJournal, and MakeTechEasier to name a few. Here at PiunikaWeb, my work involves covering on daily basis the biggest tech stories as well as scoops that you won't find anywhere else.