The Issue

The ThinkPad Workstation Dock comes in a different shape than previously known ThinkPad docking stations. Opposed to the well established “docking baseboard” form factor with the proprietary connector to the laptop, the Workstation Dock utilizes the Thunderbolt 3 standard to interface with the machine.

While this shift to a new connection bears some improvements, it definitely comes with its downsides. Mainly when taking into consideration, that the previously used mature docking technology is replaced with a bug-prone Thunderbolt one.

Flickering screens, lost audio and USB connections after a system start from hibernation and slow networking are some symptoms, to name just a few. In my case I had to deal with flickering screens every ten minutes or so, which of course is not as bad as other mentions on the internet, but nevertheless annoying. Especially when paying a pretty penny for this rather not inexpensive piece of equipment.

The Solution

As already indicated, the problems are caused by the Thunderbolt connection and its implementation. There are few things, one could do to resolve the reliability issues:

Adjust settings in the BIOS

Since the dock is dependent on an “obstruction free” communication link, it is strongly advised to disable any Thunderbolt security levels in the BIOS.

For that, enter the BIOS and navigate to the Config menu. Proceed by selecting Thunderbolt(TM) 3 ➙ Security level ➙ No Security. Safe the changes and exit the BIOS.

Install the latest drivers on your laptop

For this step, boot back into Windows and go to the official Lenovo support page. Download the latest driver version to your machine. At the date of writing this article, the latest version is the V10016. After the download is finished, close all unnecessary applications and install the driver. Follow the further instructions given by the driver installer.

Install the latest firmware on the Thunderbolt 3 dock

This step is analogous to the last “Install driver” step. Go to the official Lenovo support page and download the latest docking station firmware. At the date of writing this article, the latest version for Windows 10 is the V3.1.67. After the download is finished, close all unnecessary applications and install the firmware. Make sure the laptop is running off the power supply and follow the further instructions given by the firmware installer.

Conclusion

That’s it. These are the steps I’ve taken to solve my display flickering issues. Since then no further problems occurred with the docking station.

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