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Alienware M17x r1 , Win7 Screen flashing black/blue on win start up

I went to turn on my laptop a couple weeks ago and after post the screen started flashing between black screen and the blue windows 7 startup screen. That's the basics of the problem, no ill tell a little bit about my system and what I've tried.

M17x r1
CPU :intel q9200 engineering sample, bought this a cheap upgrade, it has unlocked multiplier and basically functions as a extreme edition, But I know it may have issues. Its worked fine for over 18 months some overclocking at the beginning, but has been at or near stock clocks for the past 6+mos.
Motherboard: replaced underwarranty by dell about two years ago
Onboard Graphics Nvidia 9400 never any issue.
Discrete graphics : Single gtx260m also replaced by dell 2-ish yrs ago
Ram G-skill 8gb (2x4gb) I believe stock clocks 1333mhz ddr3 cas9 if you want more info, I can get it.
Hard drive : I cant remember Toshiba or Samsung single 500gb 5400rpm hard drive also replaced around 2 years ago.
Screen stock 1440x900, one of the best IMO
Upgraded/swapped wireless card from Broadcom to intel, also done years ago. Can give specs on wireless card if need be.
Stock slot load dvd burner.
no error lights, or failure to post.
I think Ive covered everything.
I believe the OS is windows 7 home premium 64 bit, I believe service pack one is installed

The computer is mostly used as a home theater pc and to travel with.
It began the problem while travelling , but was in a car in my possession nearly the whole time. It could have been dropped while in standby mode, Im not aware of this happening but not impossible..

Pretty much stock everything else, I really messed with it when I first got it, but after Dell rebuilt it I pretty much left it alone. Besides the cpu I haven't tore into it except partly every 35 months for a dusting.

Here's what Ive done to trouble shoot.
!. Swapped out ram sticks tried one then the other.
2. swapped graphics cards by turning off the discrete, booting then turning off onboard and booting.
3. Removed battery and power cord and holding power putton for 30+ secs, (supposed to be a sort of master reset)
4.Booted a disc of memtest memtest ran but froze as soon as it started. But I doubt both sticks would be bad at same time, maybe?
5. Took it partially apart for visual inspection and cleaning, nothing unusual noted.

I'm thinking about trying to boot from a usb or another disc. I had trouble with a usb today or that would have already been done.

I don't have ay other parts that would fit to try out, but wouldn't be completely opposed to buying maybe a cheap core 2 duo, ram, or hard drive to test out parts with, but video card is a little more expensive.

If you've read all this I appreciate it and any help or things I may check would definitely be appreciated.

I couldn't normally afford a $1500 laptop , but I got it in trade for a nice gaming tower I built. So I figure I had about 600-700 in it when I got it and then added the extended warranty for two years for an additional ~$200 , which came in handy since dell pretty much replaced the whole computer. The warranty is now long gone, but I really don't want to just sell this thing for parts.It still impresses anyone that sees it. and besides the current issue everything else works great
7 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about alienware m17x win7 screen flashing black blue win start
  1. Can you get into the bios? are all RAM sticks reported? what about GFX card and CPU in the BIOS?
    If you can boot to a CD then a re install of windows might help :)

    I had similar problems with my M17x R3 awhile back, a BIOS reset and a Windows reinstall fixed it, I still get the occasional Blue Screen though.
  2. A little update made some progress, booting into safe mode successfully. I read that it could be due to some new drivers for the facial recognition software. I don't use it, but it is installed on the computer. So working on that route. Atleast I have access to windows in safe mode
  3. ok new question can I uninstall a program in safe mode without access to windows besides in safe mode?
    I just started researching this and have only read so far about editing the registry to allow deleting in safe mode but I don't believe that's an option for me.

    Also here's the thread that I think may be related to my issue.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1713627/alienware-m17x-flickering-blue-black-screen-logon-aliensense-problem.html
  4. mitch8198 said:
    Can you get into the bios? are all RAM sticks reported? what about GFX card and CPU in the BIOS?
    If you can boot to a CD then a re install of windows might help :)

    I had similar problems with my M17x R3 awhile back, a BIOS reset and a Windows reinstall fixed it, I still get the occasional Blue Screen though.


    Ram is reported in bios, I can access bios and now safe mode.
    I am thinking of re installing windows but would rather not as Ive got a lot of stuff on here that I'd rather not loose.
    Matter of fact, Im going to back this thing up first thing if I get it going again.

    I tried the hard reset thing that sets bios to default values no luck with that.
    As far as the graphics cards go, I was able two switch between onboard and discreet in the bios, but no good way to tell if it really switched without windows though.
    Thanks for the response
  5. Best answer
    ***Resolved***

    Ok fixed it, Maybe I just needed to type it all out and sit down and figure it out lol.
    It was the new facial recognition drivers or software that I must have got in an automatic update of some kind.
    Kinda pisses me off because why update that crap? They certainly are not churning out updates for the rest of the system, and the one that they do really screws my computer and apparently others as well. I was thinking well I got it used 3-4years ago I guess its time to scap it out on ebay. What a loss that would have been, a perfectly good alienware scrapped because of some driver to an app that is while neat for a minute, is really worthless to most people. /rant done

    Any way Thanks for listening guys. I may go get my M17x a shiny new ssd, and some IC diamond thermal paste for not failing me yet. Much cheaper than a new laptop would have been.
  6. saratj1 said:
    ***Resolved***

    Ok fixed it, Maybe I just needed to type it all out and sit down and figure it out lol.
    It was the new facial recognition drivers or software that I must have got in an automatic update of some kind.
    Kinda pisses me off because why update that crap? They certainly are not churning out updates for the rest of the system, and the one that they do really screws my computer and apparently others as well. I was thinking well I got it used 3-4years ago I guess its time to scap it out on ebay. What a loss that would have been, a perfectly good alienware scrapped because of some driver to an app that is while neat for a minute, is really worthless to most people. /rant done

    Any way Thanks for listening guys. I may go get my M17x a shiny new ssd, and some IC diamond thermal paste for not failing me yet. Much cheaper than a new laptop would have been.



    Hey man great to hear you got it working, watch those Graphics Drivers though whatever you do do NOT update them through windows update!
    I had this problem and it caused a irreversible white screen on boot. Re-install of windows was needed, even updates from AMD website caused issues, I found it was best to stick on stock Dell drivers.

    Personally I would copy all personal documents and save-games off the computer and on to a external HDD, chuck a windows install disk in, reformat your HDD, install windows, install drivers and paste your documents back in. Then reinstall games and programs and you are back to where you started but with a working Alienware. :)

    I know re-installing Windows isn't the answer you are wanting to hear but it is much safer than messing with Safe Mode.

    I uninstalled the facial recognition software as soon as it arrived as I too got my Alienware second hand and I don't use the software.

    I would definitely recommend the SSD the difference is like Night and Day in terms of application load times.


    If I helped you, pick the post as your solution :)
  7. I had the same issue, its cause i left my iPad plugged in during installation of windows and it got screwed up (*Don't ask me how*) I also had the problem when i mixed ram sticks and when i installed face recognition software.
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