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Alienware m17x problems

Last response: in Mobile Computing
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November 2, 2010 6:37:57 PM

Hello,
Everytime the power cord comes out the lap top crashes and I have to do a system restore. Has anyone had this problem and been able to resolve it?
December 4, 2010 6:10:05 PM

means your laptop only run when it is connected to power? if it is the problem then change the battery
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December 11, 2010 4:41:06 AM

Change your battery.
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December 30, 2010 4:14:16 AM

DON'T CHANGE THE BATTERY, ITS ONLY WASTING YOUR MONEY

OK, i own the Alienware M17x R2, the problem can be fixed easily, but you need to be on external power and have a CD/Flash Drive (must be less than 2 GB),and must have some kind of knowledge of BIOs.

THIS ONLY APPLIES IF YOU HAVE THE 5870M GRAPHICS CARD

http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/driverslist.a...

Download Dell's Graphics driver for the ATi 5870M.
Install Dell's driver, and NOT the one from AMD/ATI
NOW, after the above is completed, download the 5870M VBIOS and A09 BIOs
1)INSTALL the A09 BIOS first, restart PC
2)Start 5870M VBIOS, burn ISO to CD or to Flash Drive via given software. Restart
3)Start Alienware, i believe the laptop should start automatically from the CD/USB, if it doesn't, just press F2 and change the boot order
4)Press the button that the dispaly says to flash the VBIOs, i think its "B"
5) Start your PC and it SHOULD be fixed, it worked for me
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December 30, 2010 3:43:01 PM

M_706,

The issue with all of the higher performance laptops and mobile gaming rigs is power consumption. When you spool up the drive and have the video card running you are going to eat through a battery pretty fast. Battery life will definitely suffer but you do not have the same video card as Zodiac a change to your power settings may help. Set the system to a power saver mode when you aren't using the graphics card for gaming and double check the bios settings for the video card power usage. If you have it unplugged I'd avoid using more video intensive programs as well and see if this helps.


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December 30, 2010 4:28:01 PM

Evilavatar, the M17x R2 comes only in two forms, being the GTX 285M or HD 5870M (and possibly the 4870M in XFire). The VBIOS(5870M) flash is actually what dell recommended to fix these issues. The issue of crashing in Windows on the Alienware when unplugging/plugging in the external power OR starting the M17x from battery power is due to the AMD BIOs that it was sent with. And if the battery is dead, wouldn't the computer shutoff, rather than crash?

BTW, R2 means "revision 2" and is prevalent on all alienwares now, until R3 comes out.

BY Default, the ALienware M17x switches to Power Saver when it is unplugged (ATi Catalyst automatically switches). It may be a power issue but if M_706 has the 5870M, then flashing the VBIOS will most likely fix this.

And i believe a battery to the M17x costs more than $100, so im sure that flashing the BIOs will only cost him 50 cents for a CD

Like I said before, this worked for me, and it was when i plugged in my laptop that it simply crashed or when i booted it off the battery, where a blue screen error showed up every time
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January 23, 2011 2:32:41 PM

zodiac321 said:


Like I said before, this worked for me, and it was when i plugged in my laptop that it simply crashed or when i booted it off the battery, where a blue screen error showed up every time



Hi Zodiac321,
I just got an m17x R2 as well, and i might be having this same issue... What exactly happened with yours?
With mine, it boots fine when I turn it on unplugged, and gets to windows and everything, but when I plug it in, it hangs.
If I boot it plugged in, it will hang before getting to windows.

Is that what used to happen to your m17x too? Would following your solution fix mine?

Thanks

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January 25, 2011 10:02:40 PM

moonshiner said:
Hi Zodiac321,
I just got an m17x R2 as well, and i might be having this same issue... What exactly happened with yours?
With mine, it boots fine when I turn it on unplugged, and gets to windows and everything, but when I plug it in, it hangs.
If I boot it plugged in, it will hang before getting to windows.

Is that what used to happen to your m17x too? Would following your solution fix mine?

Thanks


Look, basicly it may. Although, after the VBIOS update, other errors occurred, like slowness in games. The main issue of the laptop freezing was fixed, but games ran very horribly, with either AMD or Dell drivers, so it is a risk. Yet, battery power will not last long when gaming, so you might as well update and take your chances with Dell support if this happens. The errors (slownes in games) were experienced after two weeks.

Basicly, the VBIOS update was meant to fix all power-related issues with the R2. Remember, if an error occurs, call Dell, and they will either send a tech over or let you send the laptop to them. They may even send you the parts needed for repair, though you will be forced to pay a deposit for the new (or refurbished) parts while they are in the process of being replaced.

If you must know, MY laptop at first didn't experience crashes, (except when turned on from battery, which went to a blue screen). After about 4 months, I had to use the camera to make a video. when i unplugged it, everything worked fine. The video was created, now I plugged it back in and it crashed (meaning it froze without any response). After the crash I had to shutoff the R2 by pressing the Power button. I powered it on when it was plugged in, and it crashed after I logged into my account. I formatted the hard drive (after backing up files to a desktop) and reinstalled Windows. This fixed my issue of crashing issue when loading into Windows, but it crashed when turned on from battery or unplugged while running.
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January 25, 2011 11:44:33 PM

I see. Thank for the tips.
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April 13, 2011 2:21:31 PM

I too have a similar issue. I haven't done the VBIOS update yet and I will be doing that when I return home at the weekend. I can say you don't have to reformat your HDD to get the machine to restart. I've been living with this issue for the last 6 months or so.

You can still boot your machine up in safe mode I suspect, you then rollback the display driver and reboot and boot back up into our normal windows settings. Then just reinstall the video drivers.

I suspect when it crashes the catalyst drivers get corrupted somehow which is why this approach works, until reading this I was unaware of the VBIOS update and I'll see if that fixes my issues completely. Although I'm a little bit concerned about the possible performance hit.
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February 15, 2012 6:00:29 PM

I'm having this same issue. Are there any current fixes for the slowness in games after the bios update?
Thanks
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February 23, 2012 3:14:23 PM

Having same issue with power cord comes out when running on power in that it will freeze and will not boot again unless I do system restore. Dell had replaced motherboard in October and problem did not go away. makes it tough to use as laptop.
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March 11, 2012 6:18:26 AM

Dave Eaton said:
Having same issue with power cord comes out when running on power in that it will freeze and will not boot again unless I do system restore. Dell had replaced motherboard in October and problem did not go away. makes it tough to use as laptop.


to try and close this thread, I will respond with the same information, and elaborate a bit.

If the M17xR2 is crashing when unplugged from the PSU, AND has one or two 5870Ms, then your best bet is to install the Dell VBIOS which can be downloaded from Dell's website. before doing that, install Dell's Drivers for the AMD card, not the AMD drivers. Flash the VBIOS, and it should work as new.

To improve on the slowness in games, make sure you (or a game) did not accidentally install PhysX drivers, which were the root cause of my slowness. If you happen to have them, use driver sweeper and get rid of them.

Obviously, Dell Support won't know about this issue, as they are pretty much brainless until a tech can see it. Replacing a motherboard didn't do the trick because that wasn't the problem, the problem was with the Video card.
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August 24, 2012 11:33:45 PM

mobinga said:
Change your battery.


All of you talking about the battery do not understand the problem. With a full battery charge if the lap top unplugs for several seconds it freezes up. My understanding is that there is a software bug where the video card is denied power for an instance when the laptop shifts to battery power and this causes a freeze up.

We need a fix from Dell on this. Right now I just make sure the laptop never becomes upplugged. Basically it is a desktop.

I have never been so disappointed with a product as this Alienware machine. Most of my problems center around Dell's idiotic charger and battery software. Plugged in but not charging errors constantly. Now freeze ups when the laptop becomes unplugged, etc... Amazing that a $5000+ laptop cannot perform as well as a $300 machine from Walmart when it comes to the basics.
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November 6, 2012 2:11:42 PM

I have had video card problems since day 1 of owning this laptop, an Alienware M17x R3. First, it was a driver error that Dell refused to fix. My hard drives failed from all of the blue screens. They replaced my card and it worked okay for a while. The graphics were still not up to par with what I had expected from this machine. Now, when my ac adapter comes unplugged, my computer blue screens. I want to throw this laptop out the window.
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