Lenovo Tech Support Rating

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Lenovo's tech support has been a source of frustration in recent years. The company finished with an overall score of 75 last year — down from a 78.75 in 2013 and a 85 in 2012 — mostly due to unhelpful phone support and mediocre online resources. However, since our last evaluation, the leading PC vendor made several key improvements, including a large database of tutorials, live-chat support and a callback service.

The company's Web support now provides easy access to a wide variety of solutions, both to broad Windows questions and Lenovo-specific issues. Phone-based support remains very frustrating, as two out of three calls lasted longer than 30 minutes as stumped reps tried to find the answers to our questions and sometimes failed.

To test Lenovo's support services, we used the company's budget-minded Ideapad 100S, which comes preloaded with Windows 10 but doesn't have any proprietary Lenovo utilities. For our brand-specific question, we asked how to change the top row of keys so that they act as function keys (F1, F2, F3) rather than media buttons (volume, brightness).

Web and Social Support

lenovo support homepageLenovo maintains a dedicated support site at http://support.lenovo.com, which features drivers, manuals, utilities and instructions for every Lenovo product, along with support forums, live chat and the ability to schedule a callback. After I created a Lenovo account and entered the Ideapad 100S' serial number, the site listed the notebook under a header titled "My Products," where I could click on its name to see a list of product-specific information, such as drivers and user manuals.

lenovo support contact optiYou can also search for your model without registering it. However, when I visited the site without being logged in, every time I wanted to get the tech support phone number or initiate a new live chat, I was prompted to re-enter the laptop's serial number. When I was logged in, though, the system remembered my information.

lenovo support chat windowThe live-chat function is convenient, though wait times varied. When I initiated a chat session, a status window told me I was 12th in line, with a 32-minute wait. That turned out to be accurate — after a half an hour, I heard a beep, and a greeting from Marc appeared. After I asked him how to set up "Hey Cortana" on my laptop, he sent me a copy-and-pasted answer from the Microsoft Support site that explained how to fix the voice assistant if it wasn't working at all. When I explained that the solution didn't work, he sent me the correct one. However, when I initiated a second chat on a Friday at 2 p.m. ET, Chris came on to help me in less than 30 seconds.

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I also did a search for "Hey Cortana" using the support.lenovo.com search function, and that yielded good results. It pointed me to Lenovo's "What is Cortana?" article, which has setup instructions about halfway down the page. The same article was available from Lenovo's Windows 10 resource page, which has about three dozen articles about different aspects of the new OS. There's also a Windows 8.1 page with just a bit more than a dozen articles.

Lenovo's support site offers a wealth of helpful tips. When I tried to find an answer to my question about how to change the Function key mode by searching for "function key mode" or "hot keys," I got literally thousands of results, and all of the results on the first page pointed to irrelevant information about other products. I wish that Lenovo would automatically narrow its search results to those that apply to your product.

However, when I typed "function keys 100S," I got a PDF of the instruction manual, where I found steps describing how to change the Function key mode by tweaking a setting in my BIOS. The same instruction manual was on the dedicated product support page for my laptop as well. Unfortunately, the BIOS didn't have that setting within it, which means the instructions were wrong.

Because the 100S' touchpad doesn't support multitouch, we also had to modify our standard trackpad question and ask how to enable finger scrolling on the laptop, rather than how to change its direction. The correct answer is that, on this notebook, you can't scroll at all.

Unfortunately, there's no documentation on what you cannot do with your notebook, so neither the instructions nor any of the search results explained that this common capability is unavailable.

Lenovo's support forums are loaded with thousands of threads from users looking for answers to very specific questions that, in many cases, other users or Lenovo reps have answered. However, there's no specific time frame or guarantee of getting a reply. After 24 hours, I hadn't received any replies on the forums.

Just as it did last year, Lenovo's @lenovohelp Twitter account provided a quick and accurate response to a support question. When I asked how to turn on "Hey Cortana" listening mode on an Ideapad, I got an answer 2 hours later with a link pointing me to a tutorial — which, coincidentally, was our Laptop Mag tutorial on the subject. However, as before, tweeting a question to @lenovo generated no response. Forget about getting help via Facebook. A message I posted to the Lenovo wall went unanswered.

Phone Support

If you're going to call Lenovo tech support, get ready for a long wait while the rep figures out a solution to your problem — or possibly fails to. Also, make sure you have your laptop serial number on hand, because you will be asked for it, perhaps more than once.

On each call, it took me 2 to 3 minutes to navigate through the menu options and listen to all the messages before I could get into the queue. Some of these messages informed me that, for Windows 10 problems, I should visit Lenovo's support site, contact Microsoft or call another number for paid premium support.

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When I called on a Friday at 2 p.m. ET, I was connected to Tariq after 8 minutes and 30 seconds. After asking for my name, he said that he was having "technical problems on his system" and took a description of my question, along with my phone number, and promised to have someone call me back. I waited all day, but I never received a call.

lenovo-tss15_pq_chromebook_windowOn a Monday at 4 p.m. ET, I called and again waited 8 minutes and 30 seconds, after which I was connected to Lou, a support tech in the Philippines. (All of my calls were connected to the Philippines.) She immediately asked for my laptop's serial number, my name and my phone number. After spending several minutes carefully repeating my information to her, I was asked for the same exact information twice on my next call.

I asked Lou how to enable scrolling on my touchpad, and after she put me on hold for 5 minutes, I allowed her to use remote login software to attempt to fix the problem directly on my computer. As I watched my screen, she spent a long time going through the Control Panel and a variety of menus on my computer in a fruitless effort. At one point, she stopped to ask me if I had a Chromebook — which is strange, considering she was actively navigating my Windows desktop at the time. After launching the Web browser on my computer to search the same Lenovo support site I could have used myself (and not finding any answers), she finally informed me that the touchpad doesn't support scrolling. Her investigation took about 20 minutes out of the 34-minute call.

I called again on a Tuesday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. ET and was connected to Kline, also in the Philippines, after 7 minutes. After she asked me for my serial number and complete contact information, I asked her about how to enable "Hey Cortana" on my computer. She had me go into the BIOS and restore default settings there. Then, she asked me to boot up my machine, look at the language selection in Windows and read her the options there. When we couldn't find the correct option there, she said, "Let me check it here," and stopped talking. After a minute and a half of silence, the hold music came on.

After I spent 5 minutes on hold, the phone rang, and a different support rep, Cherlynn, answered the phone. In a heavy accent, she said that I wasn't registered in the company's system, and asked for the same contact information and serial number I had given Kline earlier in the call. I had to explain my question to her again in detail, because she appeared to have difficulty understanding that Cortana wasn't broken for me; I just wanted to enable the assistant's "always listening" mode. After she put me on hold for another 3 minutes, she picked up again. "You mentioned earlier that you recognizes [sic] it when you're using the microphone or when you're turning it on," she said in broken English. "But sir, why don't you just set your microphone to 'always on'?"

Then, she told me that the answer to my question falls outside the hardware category and tried to convince me to "activate" premium support. I had to ask her two times for the cost; she eventually told me the price for this support is $19.99 a month, and I politely declined and ended the call, which had lasted more than 32 minutes.

Lenovo Callback Service

Lenovo really wants its users to schedule callback service online rather than directly dialing its support number and navigating through the phone tree. When you call the support number, automated messages repeatedly encourage you to hang up and schedule a call before you even get put into the queue.

After entering the serial number (which is now saved if you are logged in) and selecting "Give Me a Call" from the available options, I was presented with a brief online form, where I entered my phone number, a brief description of my issue and a callback time, which could be any day at any time or "Call Me Now." At 11 p.m. ET, I requested an immediate call, and my phone rang within a minute. An automated message informed me that I had to hold for a representative, but less than a minute later, I was connected to Joy, who was located in the Philippines.

When I asked Joy the question about changing the Function keys, she put me on hold for 2 minutes while she looked for the answer. After she picked up again, she walked me through the process of booting into the BIOS menu and getting to the configuration menu there, but unfortunately, the option to change the Function key mode was strangely missing. After a few more minutes, she concluded that my particular notebook does not support changing the Function mode, even though the Ideapad 100S is supposed to have that feature. Her answer was correct, but it would be nice if she had known it when I first asked.

Bottom Line

Though it could be a lot better, Lenovo's online support system has improved significantly from last year by adding some helpful tutorials and a useful live-chat feature. However, using the company's phone support, whether you schedule a callback or dial in, was both an exercise in frustration and a waste of time, as representatives struggled to answer our questions. In either support venue, we wish the company did a better job of storing and reusing our registration information so we don't have to give every representative we speak to all of our contact data, and so we can find more tailored results in support search.

Tech Support Showdown

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Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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20 comments
  • Denzil Says:

    I have a Lenovo laptop it keep telling me that I have to update my system software, then i go in there to update press launch ,but it did not install.status:out of date last up
    and lastupdate not available

  • nadia guarino Says:

    I have lenovo thinkpad x61 i cant open windows 7 i need the password of Windows 7

  • Moshe Says:

    I bought Lenovo Premium Support deal - 2 years for 300.00 because I was having a terrible time on my Y50 4K laptop. After 40 minute wait on hold, I finally reached a man in India who to the way to fix my laptop was to restore to the factory settings. Never tried a thing to fix the problem. I could do that for free. No expertise, not even an effort. When I was unable to use the one-touch button to restore the laptop mailed one a recovery disc to me. After we ng up, I noticed that there was a one touch recovery program on the laptop that worked fine to restore my laptop. I calld back to ask to refund my 300.00 dollars and they wanted to charge me 70.00 usd for te disc. I talked them down to 40.00 and could not get him to budge past that. Bad service, terrible refund policy and I swear the guy was reading from a script that said, listen to them until they un out of steam then restore the computer to the factory settings. Terrible.

  • kimosey Says:

    I have been waiting a month for Lenovo to fix my Yoga that won't even turn on. I have spoke with multiple representatives. I have never been so poorly spoken to. They are rude and inconsiderate. Only order if you can fix your own computer.

  • kelvin Says:

    hae i have a problem with my laptop where its not displaying antying its just starting and off no display at all... please help me how to repair this mess

  • Mark Zabb Says:

    Incredibly frustrating customer service experience. I had purchased the accident protection plan for a Yoga 900 and my screen cracked. Setting up the return took an unnecessarily long time on the phone (close to an hour) but otherwise went fairly smoothly. They promised that it would be returned within 7 business day. 12 business days later (after hearing nothing from them) I called. This time I waited at least 45 minutes before speaking to anyone and when I finally did, it took another 10 minutes for him to explain that the part was unavailable and there was no time frame for when it would be ready; so they were holding my computer indefinitely!! I pressed to speak to a manager and (after another 10 minutes or so) the technician told me that one would be able to call me back within THREE DAYS??!! When I did eventually get the call days later, there was lots of apologizing but absolutely no useful info about when my computer might get repaired. This process has been absurd and I still don't have my computer back.

  • Stephanie Pedrotti Says:

    Absolutely the worst customer service ever. Bought a Flex 3 for my daughter for Christmas 2015 for college use. When I tried to register warranty they said it was registered to someone else. That should have been my first clue this was a returned lemon that I purchased. Computer started to freeze up within 1 month. By the time she came home for Easter break it was freezing every 30 min. Totally useless for her classes. I purchased a 2Y In-Home next business day extended warranty. Talked to Lenovo in the US they wouldn't do a thing for me as it was purchased at Best Buy. If I had purchased it through them they would help. Therefore I was transferred to the Phillipines where after there diagnostic tests it was the hard drive failing after 3 months! They refused to honor the warranty about getting a tech to my daughters site the next day or getting her a new computer. This is stated in the warranty I purchased. They refused! The US Lenovo customer service again refused to intervene as the computer itself was purchased through Best Buy. The extended warranty was purchased through Lenovo. Still waiting for phone call from Phillipines. No tech. No part. No Service. Never again will I purchase a Lenovo!

  • Kemi Ola Says:

    I have a broken screen, I wanna know how much a Lenovo g410s touch screen repair is

  • Ertan Yilmaz Says:

    Lenovo is the worst customer service company I ever dealt with. We ordered the Laptop online, took 4 months to get delivered instead their 4 weeks commitment. We had a major issue recently with the laptop. I have been dealing with them to resolve the issue last three (3) months. Still I cannot use my laptop.

  • claude boucher Says:

    get a window pop up that tell me enternet explorer stop working could you help me out

  • nogo16 Says:

    Thinkpad purchase.In 1 year,it has "blown up "with issues 3 times! Pre sold software was missing, motherboard replaced, boots into black screen that Windows can't repair. Like the author, I found using phone support ineffective, and VERY aggravating. They wanted me to pay premium support to install my missing software that was supposed to be imaged for my configuration!Clearly,when Lenovo support's under skilled, they default to forcing customers to PAY for a senior tier support;unacceptable. Chat spent 30 minutes only to be told to CALL tech.support. When I sent my Thinkpad in for repair, they returned it damaged.

  • vamsi Says:

    I have lost my drivers so...i am unable to get them how could i get them back

  • annie Says:

    video card as I work graphics lg files which is good for working.

  • David Says:

    They wanted me to pay for premium support $199 for me to download the Dragon Assistant software after I accidentally deleted it. (It came pre-installed.)

    Also the $17.95 that Brittany mentioned in her post is a _monthly_ charge with a year contract. Otherwise I was willing to do it as a one time fee. But no, it's a contract with a cancellation penalty.

    Doubt I will buy Lenovo again since you can't reinstall the preloaded software.

  • Kiara Says:

    I buyed lenovo laptop a few months ago. Everytime I try and turn off my Lenovo G5080 Laptop, it will say shutting down and the screen will go black but the power button light will never go off. Also, if I leave it sitting and it falls asleep it won't actually hibernate and I will have to hold the power button to turn it off all the way and then turn it back on. What to do?

  • Brittany Kalisek Says:

    Didn't help me at all. Said they could help and charge me a one time fee of $17.95. I'm like no, I'll decline. I just wanted to ask if my computer is compatible with an external DVD drive, and he said you can talk to my engineers if you pay the $17.95. I was like, no thanks, I'm a college student, and I've already forked out $750 for the computer... You'd think you could get some customer service.

  • Patel Says:

    Lenovo is very bad in Laptop and servicing so kindly requesting all never buy Lenovo product and in laptop 'G' series is very bad. I suggest to Lenovo please stop to selling of Lenovo 'G' series laptop and if possible please collect all laptop back from users and markets.

  • C Andr Says:

    Had a positive experience and now a negative experience:
    Current laptop has been with the service center for a month due to parts. The at home service guy super glued a part together that is why its back at the service call. Each time they tell me someone will call me back in 3 days and no call is ever received. Poor poor service period

  • nilesh Says:

    Your Service is very very evry very 3rd class

  • what Says:

    >In a thick Southern accent....

    What does the person's accent have to do with them or their following their company's policy? Author is clearly racist against southerns.

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