Lenovo equips just about all of its ThinkPad laptops and some IdeaPad laptops with what’s called the Active Protection System, and more recently also referred to as Lenovo Airbag Protection. The Active Protection System involves both software and hardware, the hardware comes in the form of an accelerometer and the APS software “listens” to the accelerometer for changes in laptop orientation. If the accelerometer detects rotation or a bump the software takes the action of parking the hard drive read/write head. This is critical because drops and hard bumps often result in data loss due to the hard drive being damaged by the read/write head when stronger than normal contact is made with the hard drive platter. It makes sense that Lenovo is now referring to the feature as Airbag Protection as it is pretty much equivalent to the airbag you get in a car, a safety feature that jumps into action when a larger than normal impact is detected.
The APS is a great feature of Lenovo laptops, but as with everything in life, it does have its downsides. First of all, it requires a process running in the background that the processor has to service and could therefore slow your laptop down if your processor is particularly slow or you have a ton of processes running. That’s of small to no concern in laptops with more modern processors such as the Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 family. The more intrusive problem comes if the Active Protection System is set to a high sensitivity setting and the slightest wobble of the laptop sets off the APS and in turn freezes your computer temporarily. This can be very annoying if you’re on a train, plane or simply have a wobbly table. Here’s how to decrease the sensitivity of the APS to prevent it kicking in so frequently:
- Open the ThinkVantage/Airbag Protection Software by going to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound and clicking on the “Lenovo Airbag Protection” icon. See the screenshot to the right where the Airbag Protection software icon is circled, you need to click on that.
- After clicking on the software a ThinkVantage Active Protection System Properties panel will open, go to the Configuration tab and use the Shock Detection Sensitivity slider to reduce the sensitivity, this will help inadvertent activation of the system if the laptop is getting lightly jostled:
- If you never move the laptop from your desk and simply don’t want the Active Protection System Running you can disable it by unchecking the option that says “Enable Active Protection System”. This is not entirely recommended and you should do it only if you know you’ll rarely be moving your ThinkPad off of a desk where there is little risk of a drop.
That’s all there is to it, it’s very easy to control the APS and as you can see in the configuration panel there are a number of configuration options such as temporarily suspending the APS and setting a mode that forces the laptop to ignore frequent alerts if you’re on a train or plane.