Lenovo Vantage vs. System Update

We've had several customers ask "should we use Vantage or System Update to keep our systems current?"  Some of these customers have been using System Update and managing an Update Retriever repository for years.

What's the difference between the two when it comes to updating Lenovo drivers and hardware apps, such as Hotkeys?  There really isn't one.  Both tools use the same mechanism to check and install updates.

Vantage

What makes Vantage an attractive option is that it comes preloaded on Thinkpad.  With the ramp up in AutoPilot and cleaner OEM Windows 10 images, keeping the end user updated out of the box sounds like the way to go.  An added bonus if you have an Update Retriever repository and want to control which updates your systems install.  Just like System Update, you can point Vantage to a custom repository or to the default repository hosted on Lenovo's servers.

A brief explanation on a couple of the moving parts.  Shortly after OOBE, a scheduled task is automatically created by the System Update plugin.  The scheduled task will automatically trigger Vantage to check for updates weekly at a random time.  If you open Task Scheduler and locate the Plugins folder nested under Lenovo\ImController, you'll see a Task named

LenovoSystemUpdatePlugin_WeeklyTask

This is a simple task and when scheduled to run, will create a registry key to initiate the check for updates.  By default, Vantage will reach out to the default repository hosted on Lenovo's servers to scan the catalog for applicable updates (the same way System Update checks for updates and using the same catalog).  If you're already managing an Update Retriever repository for your fleet of Think products and want to control which updates are installed through Vantage, one registry key is all that's needed.

Alternatively, you can import the ADMX file contained in the Vantage deployment zip and view additional settings in the Group Policy console.  For example, you can disable the installation of Recommended updates once the scheduled task runs on the system.


One thing to note is if you disable Critical updates, the auto update feature in Vantage will show as disabled.  However, if you manually check for updates in Vantage, they will still be available to install

Below is a sample PowerShell script that will create the Vantage registry key if it doesn't exist and set the value, which will be the path to the repository containing the updates.  The scheduled task section can also be modified.:

#######################################################
### Create Vantage registry key if it doesn't exist ###
#######################################################

$path = "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Lenovo\E046963F.LenovoCompanion_k1h2ywk1493x8"
$keyName = "F5D7BFC9-1AA2-43F2-8D63-2131C65C991D"
$repo = "C:\\UR" # Local drive

<# Other repo examples
$repo = "\\\\myServer\\myRepository"
$repo = "SUPPORTCENTER" # This will configure Vantage to use the default repository hosted on Lenovo servers
#>

IF(!(Test-Path $path))

    {

        New-Item -Path $path -Force > $null

    }

####################################
### System Update Scheduled Task ###
####################################

        New-ItemProperty -Path $path -Name $keyName -Value $repo -Force > $null

$time = New-ScheduledTaskTrigger -Weekly -DaysOfWeek Wednesday -At 12:00pm
Set-ScheduledTask -TaskPath \Lenovo\ImController\Plugins -TaskName LenovoSystemUpdatePlugin_WeeklyTask -Trigger $time

For testing purposes, I installed Update Retriever locally and downloaded a couple of critical and recommended updates, hence the repository path points to C:\UR.  If your repository is hosted on a network share, you'll want to set the UNC path to the share.  Make sure to keep the extra backslashes in the path.

There's a couple of KB's published that cover the scheduled tasks and pointing Vantage to custom repositories found in the Vantage Knowledgebase.

System Update

Everything you need to know about System Update can be found in the deployment guide located here.   Lenovo also provides an ADMX file for System Update that offers more configurations to be applied with Group Policy.  An important one to configure is the Adminstrator Command Line, located here:


This is where you can define a custom repository for System Update to look for applicable updates, whether it be a network share or on Lenovo's servers.  An example command line to enter here would be:


/CM -search A -action INSTALL -repository C:\UR -includerebootpackages 1,3 -noicon -noreboot -nolicense -defaultupdate

This will instruct System Update to search and install applicable updates with a reboot code of 1 (forces reboot) and a reboot code of 3 (requires a reboot) located in C:\UR.  If you want to bypass Group Policy and are only interested in setting the admin command line, below is a sample PowerShell script that can set the appropriate registry key and define the admin command line for System Update.


$path = "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Policies\Lenovo\System Update\UserSettings\General"
$keyName = "AdminCommandLine"
$value = "/CM -search A -action INSTALL -repository C:\UR -includerebootpackages 1,3 -noicon -noreboot -nolicense -defaultupdate"

IF(!(Test-Path $path))

    {

        New-Item -Path $path -Force > $null

    }

New-ItemProperty -Path $path -Name $keyName -Value $value -Force > $null

Going back to the AutoPilot scenario, these scripts can simply be deployed using the Intune Management Extension.  If you want to further customize Vantage, refer to this blog post that covers how to hide certain features within Vantage.

--
Helpful Links

ThinkVantage Technologies Administrator Tools - https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht037099

Intro to Update Retriever - https://thinkdeploy.blogspot.com/2016/06/intro-to-update-retriever-and.html

Managing PowerShell Scripts with Intune - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/intune/intune-management-extension

Comments