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Chasing Thunderbolt Drivers Down

A famous quote from Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 reads “How can he see if he’s got flies in his eyes if he’s got flies in his eyes?” I was reminded of that snippet while chasing my tail this weekend. I wondered why I saw no Thunderbolt device in Device Manager on my Lenovo Thinkpad X380 Yoga laptops. Only gradually did I recall that because I have no Thunderbold devices, nothing SHOULD show up anyway. Only after spending some time chasing Thunderbolt drivers down, I realized that “Show hidden devices” might help. Here’s what that showed me:

Chasing Thunderbolt/USB-C Drivers Down.show-hidden

Took me a while to remember, but drivers without removable devices using them only show up when “Show hidden devices” is checked. Sigh.

When Chasing Thunderbolt Drivers Down, Don’t Forget the Rules

How did I figure this out? I knew I had successfully installed both firmware and driver updates for Thunderbolt, because their installers reported successful completion. Indeed, when I ran DriverStore Explorer (RAPR.exe), it happily showed me a Thunderbolt item.

Chasing Thunderbolt/USB-C Drivers Down.rapr

Note the item in blue at the bottom of this list. It says Thunderbolt(TM) Controller – 15BF at the far right.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Only then did I smite my forehead and quote Homer Simpson: “Doh!” A quick click on “Show hidden devices” in DevMgr and there was the ghosted/greyed-out listing I knew had to be in there somewhere.

Because I don’t own any Thunderbolt devices — yet — I am currently unable to make this item appear in normal text in Device Manager without using my head just a little. Interestingly enough, though, it does show up on my Lenovo X1 Extreme. It includes a pair of Thunderbolt ports and a controller to manage them. Thus,  it always has “something” going on in the Thunderbolt department even with no Thunderbolt devices attached. Here’s what that looks like when viewing attached Thunderbolt devices on that PC (available as a right-click option from the Thunderbolt icon in the right-hand app listing on the notification pane/area):

Now, I *need* to acquire some Thunderbolt hardware so I can really start understanding this stuff. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

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