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I just did a clean install of Win 7 Ultimate to my ThinkPad X301. Windows seems to have drivers available for most of the system devices, if not all of them.

If I choose not to install the Lenovo ThinkVantage updater and the array of software available directly from Lenovo, what exactly will I be missing? Are the drivers available from Microsoft not quite as good in some respects?

For example, will Windows 7 built-in power management be just as good?

I'm actually inclined to think that the Microsoft stuff might be better than Lenovo's "improvements," but I'm curious if anyone has enough detailed knowledge to explain the pros/cons of using Lenovo's software.

Another way of phrasing the question might be:

Which of Lenovo's drivers and/or applications should I install for a clear-cut improvement over what's available from Microsoft via Windows Update?

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There might be some hotkey or other special key functions you might want, other than that you won't miss much if you don't install TP bloatware. Get your Intel drivers from the Intel site to get the latest – Moab Jan 16 '12 at 5:41

I don't have a x301, but I've had the x61 and I installed Windows 7 on that. Windows supported most of the hardware, and if you're not looking to use the lenovo update center or rescue and recovery, then you won't miss much. I still had to install the touchpoint driver since it was better than the stock windows support and provided the control panel applet to adjust settings. The only other software I installed was the fingerprint software and the intel video driver, but that was only since the windows driver wasn't as mature.

Power management seemed to be fine without the lenovo software and my fn buttons worked although the on screen display didn't work (the green pop-ups).

Even the TPM module and the intel ready boost 1GB add-on deal worked as well.

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Thinkpad X61 here. After a clean install of Windows 7, the only drivers I installed were those for Bluetooth, Intel Graphics and Intel Turbo Memory. I have yet to miss ThinkVantage and all the other Lenovo bloatware that came pre-installed on my system.

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