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Posts: 10
Registered: ‎05-03-2011
Location: Canada
Message 1 of 5 (4,402 Views)

W520 USB 3 problem

Good Morning,

I have a new (few months)  W520 with 16gb ram an 80GB micro SSD and 500GB HD running Win7 64.

I have a problem with my USB 3.0 ports. I bought a new 500GB Seagate Free Agent Go Flex Pro USB 3.0 drive.

When I connect it, Windows does not see it. It does not show up anywhere, device manager, explorer, or any programs looking for it. The lights on the unit come on but show no movement. The USB drive is the portable unit with out an AC adapter not the desk top unit.


When I plug it into either of the 2 USB 2.0 ports on the W520 it works and a bubble pops up saying I should connect it to a USB 3 port for increased performance.


Has anyone had a similar problem or know a fix?  The USB 3 ports seem to work OK as I connect dongles, an older Seagate Go Flex 500 GB drive and my portable Neat works scanner and they all work just fine.


I read something somewhere that said maybe its a power issue and turning off the power saving function may help but I couldn't find that anywhere. Please help me out if you can


Posts: 469
Registered: ‎06-30-2011
Location: gibraltar
Message 2 of 5 (4,371 Views)

Re: W520 USB 3 problem

I connected up a USB 3 case + Carviar Black 750 GB 2.5" via a cheap USB 3 cable I got from ebay and it certainly works and is fast. Could it be the cable?
Posts: 9,479
Registered: ‎12-26-2009
Location: CA
Message 3 of 5 (4,365 Views)

Re: W520 USB 3 problem

Are you on a clean install or the preload? Did you disable the USB 3.0 Monitor at startup?

W520: 2960XM, Q2000M @ 1091/1380, 32GB RAM, 500GB&750GB HDD & 500GB SSD, FHD&MB168B+
X61T: L7500, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, XGA screen, Ultrabase
W550s: 5600U, K620M at 1164/1281, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3K touchscreen
X200s: SL9400, 6GB RAM, 64GB SD card, WXGA+ screen
TPT1: 1839-23U
What's DOS?
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-14-2011
Location: St. Louis, MO
Message 4 of 5 (4,310 Views)

Re: W520 USB 3 problem

I have a similar problem; however, my usb 3.0 external HDD only runs at usb 2.0 speeds. I cannot find any settings which can help. I've tried entering into bios, but I just get the rescue and recovery stuff (hitting F12 or whatever, not using the ThinkVantage button). Hopefully the resolution to the initial problem in this thread can help mine as well.

RAID Mirror
Posts: 488
Registered: ‎02-17-2009
Location: Vancouver Island
Message 5 of 5 (4,305 Views)

Re: W520 USB 3 problem



I don't have an answer for the original poster (top of thread), but for your problem, I have the following suggestions to offer:


1) Be sure you have the drive plugged into one of the two "blue" USB ports on the left side of the machine. The yellow port at the back is not USB 3, the ports on the Port Replicator and/or Docking Station (if you have either one of these) are not USB 3, and the SATA port (funny looking thing just forward of the lower of the two blue USB ports) is not USB 3.


2) I believe that you need a special USB cable to support USB 3 speeds.  Visually, it looks the same as any other USB cable, but the electrical tolerences are tighter, and there is (I think) a limit on cable length - around 3 feet or so.  I'm not 100% sure of this, but I believe this to be true.


3) You can't run the USB 3 device through a hub, it needs to connect directly to one of the two blue USB ports.


4) You need a special bit of software installed on your computer to support USB 3 operations.  Go to the W520 Device Driver File Matrix and download the file entitled "USB 3.0 Driver".


5) After you have downloaded and installed that driver, go to the Start menu and find the program entitled "USB 3.0 Host Controller Utility".  Launch it, and make sure that the check box for disabling the USB 3 controller is NOT selected.


Hope this helps,



W520 (4270 CTO), which replaced a W500 (4062-27U), which replaced a T42P, which replaced an A21P...
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