Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 Reformat Guide

10/4/2017 Update: I was just in the bios and I tested the touch screen. It works for pretty much everything on the screen!

Check the end of the article for updated information about Windows 10.

Objective: Format the drive, install Windows 8.1, install minimum drivers and let Windows Update do the rest.

I bought the Tablet 2 in early 2013 but didn’t use it as much as I wanted because of it’s slow speed and inaccurate digitizer. A year and a half later I was ready to give up on it. The specs are low. I thought it would be impossible to ever be fast. After using Linux daily for many years I forgot the benefits of a clean Windows install. At the end of the day, my TPT2 is faster than it ever has been. In fact, it feels like a different machine.

You will need a few USB accessories: keyboard, mouse, flash drive, USB hub. You need the hub! Without a USB keyboard you will be unable to set the boot device or install Windows.

This is guide wasn’t intended to walk you through each key stroke or click to format your first computer. If this is your first time you will need some supplemental guidance from a begginer’s guide.

Write down your Windows 8 product key. You can use the Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder, it is free.

Download Windows 8.1 iso. Don’t use the Microsoft upgrade program to download it or you will end up with a Windows 8 iso instead of 8.1. Instead find the torrent of the MSDN iso here. Don’t worry. You can verify it with the sha1 hash against MSDN’s to make sure you are getting the real thing. I used Windows 8.1 with Update (multiple editions) (x86) – DVD – MultiLang. Make this into a bootable flash drive. You can use a DVD if you have an external DVD drive available.

Boot from the USB drive. To get into the bios: press the power and volume up buttons at the same time.

Windows setup. Delete all the partitions. Create a new one with all the free space and agree when Windows setup says it may setup some extra partitions. You will need to use a Windows 8.1 generic key for the installation process. Don’t worry. After setting up the drivers to get WiFi working you can enter your Windows 8 key.

Setup minimum drivers to get Windows update working. Save the drivers on a flash drive. Download them from here. It maybe helpful to use the drop down menus to filter out the other choices. Install one at a time and reboot after each one if prompted.
1. Chipset => Intel Platform Driver for Windows 8.1
2. Networking: Wireless => Broadcom Wireless LAN driver for BCM4330 abgn for Windows 8.1
3. Mouse and Keyboard => WinTab Driver for Windows 8.1 (This is the driver and calibration software for the pen. It is Wacom specific so I suggest you install it.)

Activate Windows. Go ahead and try to activate. It will say your key isn’t valid and give you the option to enter a new one. Provide your original Windows 8 key.

Run Windows Update. Running this for the first time is excruciatingly slow. You will feel like it is stuck at 0% forever. You will think that something is not working. And even though I am telling you this, it is so slow that you will still think that something is not working correctly. Leave it for at least an hour or two and you should have a list of updates. Go ahead and select everything and install. Again, this is very slow. It will look stuck on 0%. Give it 2-3 hours and it should be nearly done.

Enjoy. Reboot and check Windows Update again. You should be done with the major stuff and have a bloatfree tablet. There will be two unknown items under unknown devices. I don’t know what they are. After using the new setup for a week I have not noticed anything missing or not functioning properly. In fact, I really love using the tablet now and I don’t really mind that it runs Windows!

A few last notes… I don’t recommend installing any of the other Lenovo software. On my first attempt I let Lenovo’s update program install everything it recommended and it slowed the tablet down. Like WAY down. The second time I did what I described above and if I was to do it all over again, I would do it the same way. Don’t forget to calibrate your screen using the Wacom tool in the control panel.

Consider installing Classic Shell. It is a free Start menu replacement which used to be open source. Then head over to Ninite to grab a customized installer to install all your programs. Last but not least, don’t forget to grab your free copy of OneNote. Note: The new free version does not properly import notebooks from Onenote 2007 that have PDF printouts with notes written on top. The first few pages of the section look okay. Scrolling down will reveal your writing progressively shifts up and is no longer aligned the way you wrote it on the printout.

Update 1/26/2015: In Windows power management you may notice the options are limited to one setting, balanced. To get even more performance you can install some registry patches that restore options under advanced power settings. So far I have added processor power management, wireless adapter settings, PCI express and created additional power profiles like high performance and battery saver.

Update 7/16/2015: Please read the comments below for some more helpful hints. Rick said he was able to create a Windows 8.1 clean install media straight from the tablet that includes all drivers and is activated. Roger was also able to help us figure out the two unknown devices, one being the Broadcom GNSS geolocation driver and the other is Atmel touch debug port driver boot bridge peripheral driver. Thank you kindly, gentlemen!

Update 8/4/2015: Windows 10!

It is possible – but my experience was sluggish compared to an already lackluster Windows 8.1. Here’s how I did it… By the way, I only ran it for a day, then returned to Windows 8.1.

Use the Media Creation Tool to setup the Windows 10 installer to a USB drive. I went with Windows 10 Pro 32-bit, as I currently have Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit installed.

Boot from the USB drive. (Power and volume up buttons at the same time. Then set the USB drive as the first selection.)

Select “custom install” and then delete all partitions.

Select “Drive 0 Unallocated Space” and click next. The next part will take about 25 minutes until the next user input is required.

After you choose your settings and Windows finishes setting itself up, install the drivers.

For the chipset, I used the Acer Iconia W3 Windows 8.1 driver package. Run setup.exe from the “MI” folder. It is a bit newer than Lenovo’s – which did not provide functional drivers for everything under Windows 10. You will also need Lenovo’s Broadcom Wireless LAN driver for BCM4330 abgn, Broadcom GNSS Geolocation Driver, Atmel Touch Debug Port Driver, WinTab driver. For any devices remaining with a question mark, update their driver from a location on your computer, pointing it to the “MI” folder. If I recall correctly, that should take care of any remaining devices, or Windows Update will.

Windows Update will take some time to get going so be patient.

I ran some benchmarks and the results are as follows:

PassMark: 202.9
CPU Mark: 625
2D graphics mark: 81.5
Disk Mark: 187.5

If you were able to find a way to get the performance up to par – then please let us know! When I tried playing back 720p video on VLC, it was laggy and unwatchable!

Update 8/20/2016: Windows 10

I tried the free update to Windows 10 and it still felt sluggish. Went back to Windows 8.1!

28 Replies to “Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 Reformat Guide”

  1. Hi… nice share.
    I wonder does the new windows can automatically recognise the pen, or you have to install a driver for it ?
    Thanks

    1. Hey, sorry, I forgot to respond! Anyway, Windows does have the driver but I recommend you install the Wintab package from Lenovo because it includes the Wacom calibration software and may or may not have other included advantages over the default Windows 8 configuration. I updated the article for clarity. Thanks for your question!

    1. You should be able to find the key for MS office using the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder. Make a note of which edition you have. To get a copy of the installer you may be able to enter the key into Microsoft’s website and then download it. You could also try the My Digital Life Forum. If you are still having trouble, you may be able to find a trial version to use your key to unlock the full version.

  2. One of those unknown devices is the Broadcom GNSS Geolocation driver. (You can get it from the drivers page under Networking Wireless)

    The other is the Atmel Touch Debug Port Driver boot bridge peripheral driver. (Also in the drivers page, but for Win8, it is under Keyboard and Mouse, while for Win8.1, it is under Display and Video Graphics)

    1. Hi Hussein, There was one unrecognised device in Device Manager after the install, but once I had run Windows Update (which came up with about 500MB of updates) all devices were recognised. Even the Mobile broadband is functional.

  3. where do i getvthe registry patch please? my fresh install is sluggish and hates video/games even websites take forever to load almoat feels like when there is no graphics driver but there is? any ideas?

    1. You may need to change the advanced power management options. You can also try the registry patches linked in the bottom of the article. Driver updates can be had from Windows Update or Lenovo’s support site (linked in the article.)

  4. Hi, I have a problem, I’m not able to boot from usb or from an external dvd drive. I can only boot my TPT2 in safe mode, but It seeems I can’t reinstall windows from there. Any suggestions?

    1. You need to set it up in the BIOS. Press the power and volume up buttons at the same time to get into the BIOS menu.

  5. Great post…I ran into issues upgrading to Windows 10. It was buggy and then gave me the blue screen of death. I had no way to recover, so had to do a clean install of 8.1. I was stuck on which drivers to use; your post was very helpful. Now my tablet is better than before!

    1. Hey, glad you found it helpful! I haven’t tried updating to Windows 10 – but I think I am going to give it a shot! It’s been a few weeks since I used my tablet and I am about to start using it again for some upcoming projects.

  6. hi, am trying to install a fresh window 8.1 on the lenovo tap2 with a bootable flash drive, i was able to change the boot sequence to boot from flash but it won’t work. when the boot option appears i choose the usb hard disk to boot from the selected sequence instead it turns blank and return to the boot option. any special settings from the bios setup? because the system partition is damaged and it won’t boot.

    1. Set the bios to default. Plug-in the USB drive and reboot back into the bios. Then set the USB drive as the first boot option. Save settings and exit. If it doesn’t boot, then test it in another computer. Also, while this shouldn’t prevent it from booting, make sure it is a 32-bit version.

  7. My niece accidentally agreed to the windows 1 upgrade when prompted (something I kept cancelling). When it finished all it would do was start to boot windows 10 then says shutting down. I went into bios but do not see a USB boot option. I then pressed the reset hole with the opaper clip and now it wont boot at all (meaning I cannot even go into BIOS). What can I do to fix this issue?

    1. Hi Frank. I will try and help you the best I can. Here are my recommendations:

      1. Try using the paper clip again to make sure the reset button isn’t stuck.

      2. Leave it plugged into the charger – could the battery be drained?

      3. Check for any legacy USB settings that may need to be enabled (may or may not be needed). Then reboot and enter the bios, your USB drive should appear. If it doesn’t, unplug and plug it back in, reboot and enter the bios again. Sometimes it can take a few tries for it to be detected.

      I hope this helps!

    1. I am using a Belkin 4-port USB hub that I picked-up from BestBuy. Your issue maybe related to not enough power being available for your keyboard and the USB drive. That being said, I do use my USB hub without the power adapter. However, peripherals do vary and the keyboard I use is a basic $10 Insignia USB keyboard from the BestBuy open box table. Second problem could be the wiring inside your adapter – you should be able to rule out a wiring problem by testing the adapter with the USB drive only.

  8. There is no problem with the boot because when I put the flash drive directly on the table, it is bootable. However. when I stick it on the hub there is no boot.

  9. Thanks Dr. Hussein

    I was able to install a fresh copy of windows 8.1. The problem was that the usb hub needed power as you said. I bought the [ Anker Ultra Slim 4-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub ] form amazon.ca for 17$.

    Wow I am impressed with the tablet speed now.

    thanks

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