Fixing the Lenovo BIOS Update Utility “Driver Loading Failed. The Utility cannot proceed.” error

I just recently moved from a Lenovo Thinkpad T440 to a T470. Both great pieces of hardware and Windows 10 has been great along with the Linux subsystem. The T470 had a BIOS update I needed to run, but every which way I tried to run it, the ThinkPad BIOS Flash Update Utility would dish me the annoying:

Driver Loading failed. The Utility cannot proceed. 

This made it impossible to run the BIOS update from Windows. I downloaded it via their service bridge tool, their system update tool, directly from the support site, everywhere. No matter how I got it or ran it, I would get to the “Next” point and it would fail. I initially thought it had to do with the fact that I clonezilla’d my drive from a 2.5″ SSD off the T440 to the M.2 SSD I put in the T470 and that Lenovo still had some sort of information on the T440 that was throwing the installer off. I also tried to download the boot ISO but Rufus didn’t like making a USB bootable disk off it, so I had to try something else. Besides, you should be able to do this directly in Windows. 

I’m also running on a Windows 10 Insider Build that could have been throwing the Utility off, but anyway, it was annoying. Lenovo posted that this was a pretty urgent BIOS update and I was noticing some weird power issues on the T470 that ended-up being related to Intel SpeedStep (disable it in BIOS, trust me, it’s not worth it.)

Anyway, here is what worked for me.

  1. Download the BIOS update from Lenovo. Run the extract. Remember the path it puts in or give it a path you can Windows Explore to. 
  2. It will try to run the Flash BIOS Utility and fail with the “Driver Loading” error. Close out of it. 
  3. Navigate in Windows Explorer to the directory the installer expanded to.
  4. I think the issue with this is that the script used to launch the utility is running a 32 bit version or some other slightly incorrect version that is bundled and probably the most compatible (except for this) so running the 64 bit version worked. Find a 64 bit application in the directory and try that.
  5. In my case it was WINUPTP64.EXE and run it.

Run this and it starts the BIOS utility in 64 mode. This probably isn’t the version that runs by default on the download/extract script. Running this, I was able to update the BIOS no problem. 

Hope that helps others out there. 

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