Lenovo just released an updated version of Lenovo ThinkVantage Toolboxthat includes a number of performance and functional enhancements based on customer feedback previously received. Internally known as version 1.4, but reported by LTT as version 6.0.5514.60, the new release made available for download in June is faster loading, easier to use, and contains new features. While many customers liked prior iterations of LTT, we heard the phrase "bloatware" used in a number of the comments critical of the product. So, we focused on trying to make it faster and lighter. Version 1.4 is definitely leaner and faster. The download file size has been reduced by 7 MB, and when idling, uses 0% CPU time and has a 50% smaller memory footprint that prior versions. Subjectively, launching LTT seems much snappier. The welcome screen is now displayed within 4 seconds and time to first message and application start times have been dramatically shortened. For example, a T42 running XP service pack 3 previously took some 26 seconds to present the first message and 29 seconds in total to load. Now, the first message is displayed in 6 seconds, and total load time is 26 seconds. More dramatic improvements will be seen on newer systems running Windows 7. For example, a T60 running Windows 7 took 1 minute and 9 seconds to load previous versions. Now, the first message is displayed in 4 seconds, and total load time is just 22 seconds. We've also improved the diagnostics by adding the CUDA test to support many of the Nvidia graphics equipped systems, along with new tests for video ports, WWAN functions, and a quick keyboard test. The UI has also seen some updates and a lot of redundant prompts have been eliminated.
We also frequently heard the perception that LTT was always loaded in memory - it's not. The toolbar launch icon is installed, but can be suppressed during the installation if desired. Simply uncheck the second item on the configuration panel shown above during install to avoid the LTT icon. But, do give this some thought - the toolbar icon can provide alerts as shown by the X in the red circle, and this can be a helpful feature to have. Another consideration during the install is whether or not to enable online support. This is the third check-box shown on the set up screen above, and this feature enables communication between LTT and Lenovo. Through this function, messages can be sent to LTT, and these messages are a mixture of technical alerts, feature updates and advisory messages, and special promotional offers. Many customers find these offers helpful and take advantage of then, while others may not and have noted that through previous feedback. Lenovo is considering an additional customization within LTT to allow the customer to select what kind of messages they want to receive, and I personally think that would be another great advance. When I downloaded and installed LTT, I had 25 messages, and they were fairly evenly divided amongst general information, support, and promotional messages. It was pretty easy to use the "dismiss" function to get rid of the ones I didn't want to keep. The online support selection enables more than just messages though. One of the capabilities offered in a prior release and refined in this one, is the ability to detect a failing battery, determine warranty status, and guide the user through ordering a replacement.
If the system is under warranty, the option to check for warranty replacement will be offered, and if clicked, will display a form to collect the additional information needed to process the replacement battery order online. This saves the customer having to call technical support and go through the normal support process.
Lastly, please make note of the "provide feedback" link shown in the bottom left corner of several of the LTT screens above. We've added a survey feature within LTT to provide customers who use LTT a direct and ongoing way to share feedback. This feedback provides the development team with quantifiable information and helps prioritize efforts. I hope that you will make use of this feature! You can download LTT here. If you don't have LTT installed and don't plan to, we would still like to hear from you in the comments on this blog. If not LTT, what diagnostic program do you use on your PC and what features does it have that you like most?