Friday, July 10, 2009

ThinkVantage Access Connections

I like my ThinkPad and I appreciate the flexibility I get from managing network connectivity using ThinkVantage Access Connections. However, the ThinkPad got into a state where any change to a wired or WAN Miniport profile caused the Ethernet connection to fail with error "DHCP server not responding." Wireless connectivity continued to work, although it took me a long time to figure that out.

Similarly, any change to the Access Connections (like trying to upgrade to the current version) caused wired connectivity to fail.

For a long while, the only solution I found was to revert changes using Windows system restore. Last weekend I decided I had had enough, and spent the time to out-stubborn the problem.

It turns out that deleting and re-adding the Ethernet NIC using Windows Device Manager and Add New Hardware did the trick. I could now change profiles, upgrade software, etc. without breaking my wired connection. Good!

However, deleting and re-adding the NIC broke all my WAN Miniport connections. VPN access and even dial-up no longer worked. Happily for me, "harrisb" had posted a solution for this one on a Lenovo forum: It's one I would never have figured out on my own!

So, I am back to being a happy ThinkPad camper.


I'm Bob Brown and I've spent thirty years managing technology and another dozen (with some overlap) teaching about it at the university level. I'm still teaching and I do a bit of consulting.

In the process, I frequently prove that experience is what you get when you're expecting something else.

To help others share those hard-won experiences, one hopes with less labor and frustration, I want to write about them, sharing answers with others who may face the same problems. We shall see how I do.