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About my Lenovo W520, presenting, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 drivers and more ...

About my Lenovo W520, presenting, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 drivers and more ...

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The issue of getting the right drivers for your OS

As an OEM System Builder in my early computer days, I spent quite a significant time finding the right drivers for a specific motherboard or a graphics adapter.
Everytime we have new hardware, the same problem arises, and I've seen many people showing up to a presentation at an event with brand new hardware and simply being unable to use the projector due to wrong configuration or not even having the driver framework installed.

Many people in our industry have the luxury to work with high performing laptops and experiencing beta products or being able to be an early adopter to RTM bits --- and as geek level presenters we always love to be on new hardware or cool technology right?

Running a presentation at an event is not only a privilege as a presenter, for which you need to make sure you have a well prepared presentation and demo, it also heavily relies on making sure your hardware works correctly and you have everything lined up to be successful and satisfy the hungry needs of the audience. And at times, geeks like me just like to do that on a brand new installed laptop, or brand new hardware that they haven’t truly tested prior to their presentation since they live in the assumption that “things just work the way they expect it”

Every time I switch over to a new laptop or a new operating system, I want to make sure that I have everything working correctly, in combination with a “tech-check” that I usually conduct onsite prior to my presentation (and typically well in advance rather than just a couple of minutes).
Primary reason for that is to make sure that I don’t freak out or stress out the 10 minutes prior to my session and give myself the time to either listen to some music to “Pump me up” (
Pump it up by Danzel really works well for that), or have a conversation with some of the attendees.
<Johan Waem - you owe me a beer I guess for promoting your music wherever I can including my children's education>

Lenovo W520

Recently I switched over to a Lenovo W520, and I have been a huge fan of its performance, but as I have seen several people struggling getting the correct drivers installed, or fellow presenters being able to display correctly onto a projector.

The Lenovo W520 is an interesting beast that has a variety of options when it comes to display adapters, driven by an Nvidia Graphics Quadro 2000M card and a separate laptop display.
Bios Settings however define on which of the output ports (VGA or DisplayPort) will function as the “Duplicate display” or as a 3rd display that you can extend graphics to.
Now the digital world we live in, with a mix of HDMI devices, display ports, DVI adapters or VGA adapters can be quite challenging.

Getting the right drivers for your OS and Lenovo W520

Currently, the only drivers that I’ve used to configure my Lenovo W520 are beta drivers that are available through the following URL: http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/detail.page?DocID=HT072084

Prior to installing the drivers and making sure nothing (or very minimal) hardware sources show up as unknown or without any device drives in Device Manager, you have to bear in mind that some of these drivers are depending on the .NET Framework 3.5, which can be configured by enabling the feature in Windows Server 2012 (Server Manager | Add Roles an Features Wizard) or under Turn Windows Features On or Off on Windows 8 (Easy way to get there is using Windows-X key and then selecting Program and Features from the menu that pops up.

 Install Intel Chipset Drivers

Networking – Wireless Lan Drivers:

Mouse and Keyboard:

Camera and Card Reader:

Audio:

Video:

Installation Order

While the majority of the above drivers can be installed in any particular order, you should start by enabling the .NET Framework first, followed by the installation of the Intel ChipSet drivers, you’ll notice a significant decrease of unknown devices in Device Manager after installing the Chipset drivers, and will continue to decrease the unknown devices significantly.

Enabling the .NET Framework on Window Server 2012

Using the Role and Feature based installation Wizard in Windows Server 2012 Server Manager you can easily add the .NET Framework.

 

Enabling the .NET Framework on Windows 8

A quick way to go to Program and Features in Windows 8 is using the magic Windows-X key which will give you access to the following menu.

You can then easily add the .NET Framework by turning on the .NET Framework as a Windows Feature.

Windows Server 2012 and Bluetooth

Windows Server 2012 doesn’t support the Bluetooth driver, so the left device that shows up as Unknown Device after you installed should be disabled.

Configuring the BIOS for VGA display as Duplicate Monitor

In order for the VGA output to function as the secondary monitor when you press Windows-P, you have to configure your BIOS settings to set the Graphics to “Discrete Graphics”.

Restarting your computer and getting access to the BIOS can easily be done by using the Thinkvantage button which will get you to the following screen:

 

 

Set the BIOS settings to the following settings in order for the Display drivers to correctly output the duplicate monitor to VGA.

 

 

After Save and Reboot you'll be happy to see that the Windows-P Duplicate display feature will now use your VGA adapter as the secondary feature.

Updates

As new drivers become available, I will update this blog article when appropriate.

 

Running Hyper-V on Windows 8

One of the primary reason I’ve seen people installing Window Server 2012 on their demo laptops is to make sure they have a host for their virtual machines built in Hyper-V. Needless to bring it to the attention that you can also have Hyper-V enabled in Windows 8 and thus can save a huge amount of time having to install dual boot machine configurations. You can easily turn this feature on on Windows 8 by configuring Program and Features.
Again - use the Windows-X feature to get you to the Program and Features quickly.

My Experience

I’ve been quite happy about the Lenovo W520 installation and was pleasantly surprised by the speed of actually installing Windows Server 2012 on it. The drivers were a bit challenging to find, but after all things just work amazingly great. While I have been playing around with VM replication etc, there truly isn’t a reason why I would not be able to use the Windows 8 client with Hyper-V enabled and run the Virtual Machines that we use on www.microsoft.com/sqlserverlabs on a local copy.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments
  • Thanks for the post!

    One thing - using Integrated Graphics will apparently give you better battery life over using Discreet Graphics. I was able to get my projector display working fine under Integrated mode, but I ended up switching to Discreet to get remote desktop working. Under Integrated mode, I got some really weird display behavior when I tried to remotely connect to my laptop. This was all with the Consumer Preview, though... I'll need to try it out again with the RTM build and latest drivers.

    The extra battery life comes in handy for long flights, as the W520's 170w power supply seems to be too much for the outlets on airplanes (at least on Air Canada flights).

  • Dandy...you rock!  Thanks man!

  • I have a W520...

    It shouldn't be too much different then yours I would assume, but where on earth did you get drivers for windows server 2012? They just released Windows 8 drivers, but none for servers, not even for windows 2008 are available on their website.

  • I have the same issues with projectors but if I disable the intel mode in the bios the machine freezes after a few min of usage. Did you have an issue like this?

    I do a lot of presentations and WebEx's and its killing me. About to re-install windows 7.

    I also downloaded the latest NVidia drivers but to no avail.

    Have you got it all working, if so maybe you could share you bios settings ( ACHP, descreet mode etc ) as it might be another issue altogether.

    I do thinks its the graphics as it hangs only if it is running in decreet mode.

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