Friday, November 16, 2007

Thinkpad Power Manager Problem

There's a lot of misinformed information about how to fix the Power Manager problem where the profile does not set, or the list is blank. I have a rock solid answer why this occurs, and how it can be addressed.

Bug #1. The list is blank. This is because the lowest numbered Profile Policy in the registry is blank. For example:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\PowerCfg\PowerPolicies\1]
If it doesn't contain any information, your list of profiles in the power manager will be blank. Every time the power manager is accessed, it will create approximately 4-10 additional default profiles due to a bug.

Bug #2. Newly created (or even default policies won't set). This is because when there is a background policy of power manager is running, it won't let you set policies where the number (according to the registry) is above 50. You can test this by:
Terminate the both instances of power manager, open up the windows task manager (taskmgr.exe), go to processes tab, and just to be sure that we kill the process, kill all that say rundll32.exe.

Start up a foreground instance of power manager, go to start -> all programs -> thinkvantage -> power manager. you'll notice now (by referring to the registry's profile numbers) you can now set any profile in that list, even profile policies above #50. For verification of the problem, start up the background process again by going to start-> run:
rundll32 C:\PROGRA~1\ThinkPad\UTILIT~1\PWRMGRTR.DLL,PwrMgrBkGndMonitor
and switch to any profile policy #50 or below (like number 10) which should set. then try switching back to a profile that is higher than #50 (like number 90). It will NOT set.

5 Steps in getting this problem handled once and for all.

1. Go to: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\PowerCfg\PowerPolicies] and delete ALL the policies.
2. (close first if its open) Open up a Power Manager. (This action will create 4 default profiles when none exist.) Don't worry about not being able to set them just yet.
3. Create any custom profiles that you want. Don't worry about not being able to set them.
4. (close first if its open, as the registry needs to reload), Open up the registry (regedit.exe) and go to: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\PowerCfg\PowerPolicies]
5. Renumber these (the profile numbers on the left panel) starting from 1.
6. Set [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\PowerCfg]"CurrentPowerPolicy" to an existing number.

I've emailed ibm about how to fix it. Lets see if they do anything about it. its been a major bug that's been around for years.

Optional Step...if you've for some reason deleted the GlobalPowerPoilcy\Policies key, then you gotta have it. Here's an example
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\PowerCfg\GlobalPowerPolicy]"Policies"=hex:01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,03,\ 00,00,00,10,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,03,00,\ 00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,01,00,00,\ 00,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,00,00,00,c0,01,00,00,00,\ 05,00,00,00,01,00,00,00,0a,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,01,00,00,00,01,\ 00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,\ 00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,\ 00,16,00,00,00


  1. Thank you for this post. I have a 6-month old T61 and the power schemes have been driving me up the wall for 3 months. This fixes the issue quite nicely.

  2. Nice work, and thanks a lot! I was having big problems with my user accounts all having different power profiles which was causing further complications with Notebook Hardware Control. It's very satisfying to have sorted it out now thanks to your advice.

  3. Thanks for that. Had this bug once before and found a solution somewhere, but then forgot all about it and updated the power manager, which broke everything again. A very useful post. Don't know why Lenovo doesn't fix this... it's completely stupid.

  4. Hi,

    thanks for your post. It worked perfectly. I guess this problem is somehow correlated to to the problem when attaching the notebook to a docking station and not getting response from external screen. So i guess you whether can have energy mgmt control OR seamless docking station environment detection.


  5. thanks a lot buddy.. solved my R61 problem too ... gr8 work

  6. Hello, thank you very much for this excellent blog entry! You explained the issue very clear.

    Greetings from Hamburg,

  7. Thanks very much, problem with power manager solved. Nice work!

  8. omg thank you thank you thank you. its been months that i've been struggling with this. thank you for your work, and i hope IBM does note this

  9. Someone responded that you can additionally do these steps if you have trouble creating additional power polices after you reboot. If everything works fine, I wouldn't touch it.

    (Optional Step 6) Go to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Controls Folder\PowerCfg] and set LastID key to the number of the last policy.

    You may need to do this step below, in between steps 1 and 2 in the original post. Do at your own risk.

    Go to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Controls Folder\PowerCfg\PowerPolicies] and do the same thing there.

    It looks like the new power manager from Lenovo has fixed the problem somewhat. Although the power policies seem to not set sometimes, it doesn't seem like it permanently gets locked/broken either. If it doesn't set one day, it might set after the reboot. When that doesn't work, I just use the slider (only available in the new power manager). I recently upgraded my T60 to Vista, and it actually has a very similar power manager built in to the OS (you just won't get the cool battery features). So I just use that and don't bother installing the Power Manager.

  10. Thanks for this. It was driving me nuts!

  11. Pretty sad, that I fixed my T60 power manager using these instructions for the second time during the almost 3 years lifespan of the laptop. What has the Lenovo being doing, if this bug has persisted for "years" already in 2007? In my case it seems that adding any custom power scheme causes numerous of power schemes to be generated in the Windows XP registry, during a update of power manager, or maybe just launching power manager, I don't know. Anyway, this pretty much pisses me off that although these machines are physically durable, there exists these stupid bugs that make life hard.

  12. Nice job, Michael.
    I have been struggling with this for some time on my T61. One note, though. After deleting all profiles and restarting, there was a prolife "0" created that was blank, continuing issue #1. Not sure if this is an issue for eveyone, but check for that. Simply (re)deleting this profile and setting the Current Profile key to a "valid" profile resolved the issue.