Lenovo ThinkPad X200 Ultraportable Notebook

First-boot & Software

Lenovo includes a fair share of proprietary and after market software on the ThinkPad X200 with the intention of increasing productivity while boosting system security. The notebook came equipped with Windows Vista Business (32-bit) and a sizable collection of software including:

Adobe Acrobat Reader
Microsoft Office Ready 2007 (Trial)
Microsoft Windows Live Toolbar and Search
PC Doctor Diagnostics
Creator Business Edition (combo models)
Intervideo WinDVD (DVD models only)
Intervideo WinDVD Creator (DVD models only)
McAfee VirusScan® Plus (30 days)

ThinkPad Utilities (Power Manager and Presentation Director)
ThinkVantage Access Connections
ThinkVantage Fingerprint Software
ThinkVantage Productivity Center
ThinkVantage Rescue and Recovery
ThinkVantage System Update
ThinkVantage System Security Solution

The list of pre-installed software may seem longer than usual but many of the included packages are standard necessities for an office machine and not simply bloat. Most of the multimedia software is only pre-installed if the X200 UltraBase docking station is included with the order since the UltraBase includes the optical drive that the X200 is missing. The rest of the software are part of the ThinkVantage suite included with all ThinkPad notebooks.

First boot reveals a fairly busy desktop with numerous desktop shortcuts, an activated Vista Sidebar and a very cluttered taskbar. The system ships with a special Windows Sidebar widget pre-installed that can display a variety of system information such as wireless signal strength, battery status, display resolution and the next time the system is scheduled to update itself. While there certainly are a lot of programs pre-installed with the X200, there isn't much bloatware since most of the software is relatively useful and compact. Only the pre-installed Windows Live toolbar can be considered to be true bloat, since it is far from necessary and doesn't provide a valuable and otherwise missing function.

Lenovo ThinkPad X200 - Desktop Screenshot

ThinkVantage Software Suite
The Standard ThinkPad Suite Of Maintenance Utilities

The ThinkPad ThinkVantage software suite is included with every ThinkPad notebook and has recently been upgraded with the introduction of the X300 and the X200 also receives this new version. The ThinkVantage Productivity Center can be launched from shortcuts within Windows or by pressing the blue ThinkVantage button next to the volume controls above the keyboard.

ThinkVantage Power Manager offers custom power profiles to help maximize the performance based on the system's intended use. Not only can the system be optimized for Maximum Battery Life or Video Playback, the interface shows the effects the power profile will have on the system's Performance, Temperature, Fan sound level and Power Usage. The software also offers advanced settings along with a status indicator of how much charge time remains. There is also an option called Battery Stretch that, when enabled, can control various component behavior to eke out the most battery life possible. Lastly, a battery maintenance option provides for draining the battery completely to prevent degradation, if the system is mainly run on A/C power.

One of the more robust proprietary software packages is the ThinkVantage Productivity Center, which offers a broad range of features and functionality. First, the software works as a front-end, integrating other ThinkVantage titles into a simple menu that is sorted by the category of software.  The software does a nice job of tying all of the individual titles together into an intuitive interface that shouldn't be daunting, even for the less experienced user. The menu offers quick links for easy access to Wireless configuration, backup options, maintenance procedures and support. 

The ThinkVantage Access Connections provides one-stop location for controlling all of the notebook's available networking and communications devices. One of the main features of the Access Connections software is a visual representation of all of the WiFi networks within range as well as their signal strength and estimated distance from you.

The ThinkVantage Fingerprint software controls access to the system log in, adding both security and convenience to logging onto the system. The ThinkPad Active Protection System is an accelerometer that detects when the notebooks is falling and shuts off the hard drive to protect it from impact as much as possible. The corresponding ThinkVantage Active Protection System software allows you to manage and adjust settings related to this system. The ThinkVantage System Update utility works to ensure the software and system drivers are all current while ThinkVantage Rescue and Recovery is a full-featured backup and recovery software package for enhanced data protection.

Overall, the ThinkVantage suite remains one of the most impressive and comprehensive software suites included with a notebook by any OEM we've seen to date. It offers a wide range of useful utilities that can help you use and maintain your notebook and it does this with minimal system resources. You can learn more about the ThinkVantage software suite at the ThinkVantage website, where you can read information about each of the components as well as view a presentation about the benefits of the ThinkVantage suite.

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