Software: System Update
The single most valuable piece of software in the ThinkVantage Productivity suite has to be the System Update Utility, in our opinion. The System Update utility is basically a one stop shop for Thinkpad updates, drivers and firmware (including the system BIOS). Upon first run, the software identifies your machine type and model. From that point it uses a catalog of stored updates on your system to go out to the Lenovo support site to compare and capture new updates for the system. System Update works in the same manor as Microsoft's Windows Update.
When presented with the first screen the user has the ability to perform several options including immediate download and install of available updates, install deferred updates, schedule updates, view installation history, or install hidden updates. All of which administrators will truly appreciate.
Choosing the default action of "Get new updates" (left photo below) will result in the utility connecting to the Lenovo package server. Once connected, the application then does a comparison of the install catalog located on the Thinkpad and then reaches out and provides the available updates (right photo) The user is then presented with three different categories they wish to update much in the same manor as Microsoft: Critical, Recommended, and Optional.
If the user selects the updates by placing a check in the box and clicking "next", they are then presented with a review screen where they have the option of deferring the installation. On the last screen of the process the user is presented with a confirmation of the installed packages. If the installed updates require a reboot, the user will be presented with a pop-up at this point giving that option.
Of interest in the System Update utility is the manor in which it does BIOS updates. Rather than rebooting the system and then applying the update, System Update performs the BIOS flash from within the OS. Upon completion, the user is prompted to reboot.
System Update is a very useful application that simplifies the entire driver and firmware update process. No longer do users have to go out and perform lengthy searches on the support site for the latest updates. Now it is a simple 5 step process. This sort of innovation is what helps set IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads apart from other business oriented systems.