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Lenovo W520 doesn't support Win10, now what? DAW Software
Old 7th September 2015
Here for the gear

Question Lenovo W520 doesn't support Win10, now what?

I was trying to find a suitable & in my price range (around $500) Windows laptop for audio use.
After lots of reading, I concluded I need an older (thus less $$$) business workstation. Top contenders Lenovo Thinkpad W520 or HP EliteBook 8560w.

I settled on the W520.
However, a bit more digging and have learned that it does not support Windows 10! People have tried to load it and it fails. Lenovo, says only W530 and above, update--and even then, don't expect everything to work.

There are also problems with the Elite 8560w. HP says if the computer was built prior to Aug 2013, they cannot guarantee it will work with Win10.

Anyone have suggestions of something that is still in my price range, that is older and has enough umph? (I couldn't find an equivalent Dell.)

Or should I give up on that idea, if I am going to go with W10 OS, and buy a new, $400 consumer grade, something or other from Dell, HP, Toshiba, that runs W10 and take chance that it may be able to do audio. (I don't need touchscreen or gaming graphics). Suggestions are very much needed--specific models that you have experience with, that have worked, will be especially helpful.

Thank you,
Old 7th September 2015
My w520 runs w10 absolutely no problem.
Old 7th September 2015
Originally Posted by Masaaki View Post
My w520 runs w10 absolutely no problem.
Hey Masaaki,
I settled on a Refurb W540 with 16GB[2x8GB]RAM,i7 4900mq cpu[more powerful than my i7 2600k desktop-which I'd like to turn into a Hack]and I have the little"Get Windows 10" on the taskbar[right side],but one of the reasons I went for this machine was Windows 7 Pro.

Is 10 alright? because I had a heel of a time with my mothers failed birthday present -Dell Inspiron cheapest [I could afford]and the experience was breathtakingly awful.

No way to shut anything off,and not good for a woman who'd turned 80,and had never used a computer before!

So 10 is ok and I hear there is an "exit" sign to click now,so I'm wondering if I should update Mum's Inspiron,and see if it's good enough for SONAR Platinum and hundreds of Waves plug ins?

I also got a Thunderbolt port [only no.1]and thought I may be able to run a used but "higher quality" firewire interface,but apparently the 34 express card is the better option for firewire...who'd have guessed?
Best Regards

Last edited by rksguit; 7th September 2015 at 05:21 AM..
Old 7th September 2015
Hi Bob,

I have two W520 and the one W10 Pro is running fine was upgraded from W8.1. I'm using it for Adobe CC, several DAWs (Cubase 6.5, Reaper), Vegas Pro, several programming languages, and other office stuff. Lenovo actually released W10 compatible driver upgrades in July. Upgraded from 8.1 to 10 was very smooth and I didn't do anything extra, as compared to HP Zbook 14 G2 upgrade (stock 8.1 to 1) which actually had some video driver problems and BSODs.

I cannot comment on Sonar and Waves plugins, since I don't have them, but as long as you have a cloned copy of the original HD, you can go back to W7 anytime. When I upgraded from W7 to W8.1, I removed the original HD running W7 (rolled back to factory setup). I installed 256GB Samsung SSD and bought W8.1 OEM license and installed from scratch. I had to install W8 drivers manually, and found Lenovo's custom power utilities are not working in W8. But I just needed 'high performance', so I didn't care.

As far as the thunderbolt in W540 and interface selection goes, I don't have W540 so I can only speculate. But I would probably recommend USB interfaces since my experience of Thunderbolt driver (written by Intel) has not been the best (TB2 in ASUS motherboard). It does not really give you any advantages (at least for desktops), and rather give you some headaches like 'this device is not certified TB for Windows' message etc etc.

Expresscard is also not my favorite either because it pops out so easily. I have one SIIG FW card with TI chip, but I need to 'duct tape' if I want to use it for my RME UFX. Expresscard in W520 is just for 'backup' purpose, when all the USB ports are occupied with other stuff, but it never happened.

Is your W540 running okay with W7 with your DAWs and plugs? Is your OS drive stock HD? If so, again I suggest to get an SSD and clone it using tools like Acronis or Macrium. Then you can try W10 upgrade. If you have some problems, then clone the backup to the original drive.

Hope this helps for you (and for OP as well). Best regards.
Old 8th September 2015
Here for the gear

thanks. well the Labor Day sales are nearly over. My eyes&brain are worn out from reading so much stuff and still no decision. It seems if I go with the W520 or the Elitebook, do not update but keep on Win7.
Or, after cloning the Win7 drive, put in an SSD into the W520, go through the Lenovo update to Win8.1, then try the auto update to Win10 from MS. Just make sure to have the original drive backed up, so any damage done, can be undone.

I think maybe the best thing to do is instead of worrying anymore is buy a $400 consumer laptop to replace my laptop that just burned up.
Then, transfer all my programs over to the new laptop, strip everything off my i5 Win10 desktop, put my DAW on it and see if it will work as an audio computer.

IDK. Brain and eyes, too tired now to continue to function.
Thanks all,
Old 8th September 2015
Lives for gear
davet's Avatar

I'm running Win10 Pro (free upgrade) and Sonar Pro 8.5.3 on an HP Elitebook 8730. So far everything is running fine even the old Waves plugs I have. The only thing missing is the DVD player that's not included in Win10.
Old 9th September 2015
Originally Posted by davet View Post
I'm running Win10 Pro (free upgrade) and Sonar Pro 8.5.3 on an HP Elitebook 8730. So far everything is running fine even the old Waves plugs I have. The only thing missing is the DVD player that's not included in Win10.
I'm not sure who you're replying too,and it doesn't really matter,and thanks for your detailed response Masaaki!

What I'm really wondering is if someone with Windows 10 is better off with a "touch screen",as that was biggest problem for us with Windows 8,that and the overall "cheap look"with no rounded corners etc.

So Windows 10 better with a touch screen still? as I do not like or have any touchscreens yet[not even a tablet yet],I'm definitely a mouse/pointer/qwerty guy,but 8[not 8.1 I think?]was really optimised and almost demanded a "touch screen" if NOT,and if SONAR Producer 8.5.3 is easily navigable without a dreaded touch screen then cool!
Old 29th July 2016
OP @ sunslight obviously[-"not sure who you're replying to"]Sorry if ^ is perceived as a hi-jack,anyway NOW-almost a year on IMO not getting on the USB-C 3.1 Thunderbolt 3 capability,should be paramount if cash is tight,and being on top of it/same page[what we all want-future proofing]nuff said,except that audio interfaces with a USB-C connector would be smart-not necessary,but next logical move.

Last edited by rksguit; 29th July 2016 at 03:37 AM.. Reason: rediscovery of a cross cultural gaff poss?
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