How to Check if My Laptop has Thunderbolt 3 Port or Not?

Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 use the same USB-C or Type C 24-pin connector but they are not the same.

There are 3 ways to find out whether your laptop’s USB-C (Type-C) port or connector is Thunderbolt 3 or a simple USB 3.1 Gen 1 or 2.

But before that, let me clear up some confusion between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C (also called USB Type-C). I also had trouble with it for a long time.

In USB-C or USB Type-C, “C” refers to the connector or port, not the communication protocol. Thunderbolt 3 uses USB-C connectors/ports and is a communication protocol like USB 3.1 Gen 2.

In simple words, Type-C or C refers to the physical shape of the connector, while Thunderbolt 3 is a data transfer protocol.

I hope from now on, you won’t confuse USB-C or Type-C with Thunderbolt 3.

Now, let’s check if your laptop has Thunderbolt 3:

1. Thunderbolt Lighting Icon

Most laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports will have a lightning icon next to or above the USB-C port. The icon will look like this:

However, the thunderbolt icon doesn’t always need to be there.

Some laptops may have Thunderbolt 3 ports without the Thunderbolt icon. To confirm whether your laptop has one, check the specifications of your laptop.

2. Check your Laptop Specifications

To check your laptop specifications, visit the manufacturer’s official website and search for your laptop using its model.

For example, if you have a Dell laptop, visit the Dell support page and enter your laptop service tag.

Do the specifications mention that your laptop has a Thunderbolt 3 port? Yes? You are good to go! No, it doesn’t have one.

If you cannot find your laptop specifications on the manufacturer’s website, or it says Thunderbolt 3 is optional, you can confirm that in Windows System Information.

3. Check System Information

Windows 10 and 11 have a built-in tool called Microsoft System Information that gathers and displays information about your laptop hardware, system components, etc.

Here’s how to access Windows System Information and find out if your laptop has Thunderbolt 3 or not:

  1. Open the Windows Run dialog box by pressing the Windows Key + R keys.
  2. Type msinfo32.exe and hit Enter. This will open up Windows System Information.
  3. Under System Summary, click on the plus icon next to Hardware Resources to expand it. Click on IRQs. See the screenshot below:
  1. Now, in the right side panel, look for the Thunderbolt (TM) Controller.
  2. If you see it there, congratulations! Your laptop’s USB-C port is Thunderbolt 3 compatible. If you don’t find it there, there is one more place to look for it.
  3. Expand the Software Environment and then select System Drivers.
  4. Look for the Thunderbolt (TM) Controller there. If it’s there, your laptop supports a Thunderbolt 3 connection.

That is how you can find out if the USB-C connector on your laptop is Thunderbolt 3 or not.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

About the Author

Muhammad Qasim

Muhammad Qasim

Muhammad Qasim is an Electrical Engineer, Solo Entrepreneur, and Web Developer who loves troubleshooting gadgets and making cool things for the internet.

You can contact him on Email, LinkedIn, Twitter, or GitHub.

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