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How do I change the USB 3.0 mode in BIOS on W540 and W541 ThinkPads?


How do I change the USB 3.0 mode in BIOS on W540 and W541 ThinkPads?


On Haswell and Broadwell series laptops, enabling USB 3.0 mode is optional. The default setting for USB 3.0 mode is "Auto". In some cases, the performance of USB 3.0 mode may be more consistent when the setting is set to "Enabled."


Here is a step-by-step guide on how to change the USB 3.0 mode setting from "Auto" to "Enabled".


1. Boot into BIOS by either powering on or restarting the device and tapping the "F1" key repeatedly.

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2. Tab once to select the "Config" tab.

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3. Arrow down to "USB". Tap the enter key to select "USB".

IMG_9769 v2.jpg


4. Arrow down to "USB 3.0 Mode". Tap enter to select the options.

IMG_9773 v2.jpg


5. Setting choices for USB 3.0 mode will appear in a pop-up window. Arrow up to "Enabled." Tap the enter key.

IMG_9774 v2.jpg


6. The setting for USB 3.0 mode has now been changed to "Enabled."

IMG_9775 v2.jpg


7. Tap the "F10" key to save changes, close BIOS, and boot up the laptop.


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Bauden On 2016-04-17, 12:31 PM

How do I know which is the USB 3 port???? They are all black on my W540!!!! ( and too close together on the left side). When using the system as a workstation at a media/event, and having an assistant to d/l CF cards, I need to go over all the ports to use when using USB devices. Telling the assistant plug into the blue port is not a valid answer for this black box. Just AWFUL user interface. WHO DECIDED to violate set standards/indicators like a blue port on the W540!!!!! FWIW, my W540 is full of p-Touch labels so the user (when used by an assistant (often a temp) will know the Fn keys and the correct ports. (PS no words can desscribe the trackpad, either from me or anyone that worked for me using this so called workstation).

sandysurfer On 2016-05-20, 18:59 PM

All USB3.0 ports (no matter the color of the connector) will have the following designation next to it:

Bauden On 2016-07-02, 16:23 PM
Yes, right, black on black. Had to carefully use a white paint stick to fill the scripted holes so you could read them. Then carefully removes/swab off the excess paint so only the writing shows. But a p-Touch label did the trick and is more obvious. This is a do it yourself machine with user patches to remedy design failures. The SIMPLE answer IS for Lenovo to follow accepted standards, and make the USB guides blue for the USB 3.x ports.....AND put a light on the power brick. How often I never know if I have power on an extension cord under a tent..
Bauden On 2016-08-14, 18:22 PM

Dear Sandysurfer,


Uppon revisiting the PROBLEM, this is not a appropriate answer.  I still have issue with the lack of EASILY visible labelling, as the label you mention is difficult to describe to an assistant, AND invisble in a darkened enviroment that photographers use.  The answer is blue, read carefully,  BLUE!  Even my connectors are BLUE. (AND in case you did not read - if I connect on the left side, only ONE can be used due to the closeness of the connectors).  We also need a light on the power brick, to show power good.


This computer, the W540, is akin to a Leica M-D (Typ 262).  A great integration of quality parts, but a useless black box with poor hardware dialog to the user.  Not a workstation, but a FAST dumb terminal.

sandysurfer On 2016-08-15, 13:52 PM


I can certainly sympathize with your situation, especially given the low light usage condition.

Having said that, I'm not sure what you expect to be done.  Lenovo, as well as our competitors, moved away from using the blue tab inside the USB3.0 port a few generations ago.  You will not find them in current product set of either Lenovo, HP, or Dell.  If I had to guess why it would be cost.  This is a cost driven industry.

For power status LED on power bricks....I do not know what our next generation enhancements look like yet....but current generation has a power indicator LED on the system where the AC adapter is attached.

Bauden On 2016-08-16, 2:51 AM
Dear Sandy, Maybe as a Lenovo employee, over lunch, you could mention the issue of following some user protocols. Often seeds of ideas come from luncheons. Indeed, all black sockets for a PC that has ONLY USB 3, is fine. The reason is obvious, as USB 3 is backward compatible with 2 who cares about the color!. Hence if the PC is only 3.0, marking the socket as USB 3 is irrelevant We need some Cartesian logic, of mind vs the matter at hand. Making a black box for the naive masses is not acceptable in a so called workstation.. We have to aspire to better systems, not cater to the mediocre. With all the obvious flaws of the W540, Lenovo should contact the owner that have quantifiable repoorted PROBLEMS with the W540, and offer them a discount, equivalent to a wholesale price sold to Lenovo resellers, to a CORRECT workstation.... The quantifiable PROBLEMS have been well documented, not the least, the useless track pad, and non removable DVD drive (unlike the T430s which is closer to a REAL workstation), CPU throttling issues, Lettering of Fn Keys tiny and meant for wathching movies, not real work applications that use clearly labelled F1, F2, F3....etc, MISSING HD Activity light, missing WiFi hot harware switch, Missing NumLock, CapLock or Shift indicator LED, Missing dedicated ScrollLock key for Excel pane sync, useless 4 keys on top of numbers keypad, No WiFi indicator light, SD opening has no indent for the finger/fingernail (makes it hard to insert/remove SD card), USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 left ports too close, if key or plug is too big, only one can be used., and more that can be found in previous forum threads. May I note that I'm a Toshiba user, and Toshiba had a similar issue, and gave owners credit to buy from their store replacement products. Such a good will gesture would keep owners faithfull to Lenovo, and Lenovo would make the same profit as selling to a retail store. As it stands, I received a T430s from a friend who was upgrading, and the T430s is far superior to the W540. So you ask what can be done? 1] Follow protocols to differentiate ports when there are two distinct types, and not blur the distinction in future models. 2] Issue a voucher to purchase at dealer's cost a replacement laptop directly from Lenovo. Lenovo would still make the smae profit, and guaranty brand faithfulness. 3] I assumed the power brick issue is solved (from trying to figure out what you mention, the new power bricks have a power light, either on the brick, or on the cable (like Dell). But I may be VERY wrong! BTW, we have 6 older Dell workstations, and the W540 was purchased as a test machine to update the EOL systems. 4] AND finally, make sure MY W540 purchase is NOT counted as a positive sale when doing quarterly reports, and future projections. Claiming as a positive acceptance of this product downgrade from a REAL W530 workstation, to a dumb W540 terminal.
Bauden On 2016-08-16, 2:53 AM
BTW, I clearly wrote in paragraphs and sentences, but the forum did it's own thing when saving the reply.... Sorry, but that is a Lenovo Forum issue.
sandysurfer On 2016-08-16, 21:52 PM


You will get no argument whatsoever with items such as missing status indicators or the W540 ClickPad, but Lenovo does listen to customer feedback and tries to implement improvements in each follow-on generation.

For example, the ClickPad you dislike so much only lasted a generation....it was removed in the follow-on W541 due to poor customer feedback.  The HDD status indicator found its way back into the current generation of P50 and P70....again due to customer feedback.

You will never have a system with every conceivable design feature you want.  Why?  It would be so expensive you would not buy it.  Just a decade ago you could not find a ThinkPad under $2k.  Now they start well under $1k.  So tradeoffs are made in business to balance features with cost to profit ratios.

One thing is clear...you don't like the W540.  Going over each of your line items will not change this fact.

If another vendor's product makes your work experience more enjoyable, then that is the direction you need to go.

Otherwise, you are just building up brand resentment...that's not good for anybody.  Who knows, perhaps there will be a future Lenovo product that meets and surpasses your expectations.


Good Luck to you!

Bauden On 2017-03-13, 6:51 AM

Ah! I'm back, looking to upgrade my 4 Dells, and one W540. I see NOTHING has changed in the P series - I fail to see where Lenovo listened to anyone. >I can certainly sympathize with your situation, especially given the low light usage condition. Having said that, I'm not sure what you expect to be done. Lenovo, as well as our competitors, moved away from using the blue tab inside the USB3.0 port a few generations ago. Indeed, if ALL the ports are USB 3, blue ports are not an issue, BUT if the black box has both USB 2 and USB 3, THEY SHOULD AND HAVE TO BE COLOR CODED. After 3 years owning this so called Workstation (now dedicated to Amibroker, and data streaming), I check the P series forum, and still see the same issues. I figured out, it's the "Job Effect". Cater to the lowest common denominator. Form over function.


>> It would be so expensive you would not buy it. <<

I paid $2,600 for the W540..... a dumb black box (bought early, before in stores - unseen - based on a shill review from a German reviewer/magazine)

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