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Last reply by 05-19-2016 Unsolved
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2 Bronze
2 Bronze
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XPS L501x randomly freezes, fan goes full blast with no BSOD, event log or dump.

This problem occurs at different times. And again it never produces a BSOD, event log or dump and the fan ALWAYS goes full blast. Sometimes it happens while in the middle of something, sometimes when the computer is idle. Have to hard reboot it then but usually it will then occur on reboot, freezing anywhere from the Windows logo to sometimes shortly after desktop icons appear. Could take me 5 or 6 tries before it finally makes it into Windows and sometimes I can run it for a few hours before it locks up again, sometimes not. Thought it was a heat issue but running monitoring software showed the CPU heat levels consistently remained in safe range 40-60c, even moments before freeze up. Still blew out of the fan area just in case. But many times it happens when the computer has been off for a while, even overnight. I turn it on and it will freeze on startup so clearly it can't be overheating. Actually once that happens it takes many attempts before it finally successfully boots up again.

When it has cooperated I have managed to run Burn In Test, Memtest86 (4 passes) and even S&M Stress which I ran like 6 times 2 of which it did freeze but I think it was just a random freeze rather than being specifically triggered by S&M's tests. Also it passes the Dell preboot assessment.
I did a clean install of Windows 7 but same problem. Resorted to trying clean install of Windows 10 but problem remains. Amazingly enough I was able to get thru both reinstalls with no freezup issues which I found odd. I think I have exhausted all other causes so my thoughts are its either a bad processor or a motherboard issue but before I invest in a new board or processor I wanted some opinions.

Thanks,

Adam

Replies (7)
Moderator
2347

Hi Adam,

When the system freezes, do you have to manually restart the system on every instance or does it come back itself after a few minutes? What is the current OS installed on the system?

The system is not compatible to work with Win 10 - see this link 

Update the BIOS - http://dell.to/1sxfTAR- and run the psa again - Restart the system and press f12 key on startup - choose diagnostics. Let it run the diags and if you encounter any errors - make a note of the complete error and report the same to us. Also, run an extended test on the HDD.

If the system freezes again at any point, then restart the system and press f2 key to enter BIOS - leave the system in BIOS environment, with the adapter plugged in, for as long as possible. You would notice there is a system clock that keeps ticking. If the system freezes again, this clock would stop ticking. This would isolate the motherboard to be faulty.

Keep us updated.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
2347

When the system freezes I always have to manually do a hard shutdown and restart it. And as I said in my original post this problem was occurring when I was running Windows 7. I did all the testing I mentioned under Windows 7. It was when I could not isolate and rectify the problem I decided to loaded Windows 10 to see if the behavior changed which it didn't so clearly this problem is not related to what OS is installed. Both the Windows 7 Install and the Windows 10 install where clean installs done with full hard drive formatting.

Oh and I failed mention that I did upgrade the BIOS already, currently A08. It was one of the first things I did. I will attempt your idea of going into the BIOS and leaving the system clock up but I can tell you that so far I have never experienced it freezing at startup until at least Windows logo. Never froze at Dell logo. And as I also said earlier a ran many times Preboot System Assessment and it always passed with flying colors and never froze during that test.

I will run an extended hard drive test but based on the hard drive test done by Burn In Test and S&M Stress Test as well as the Short Test done by PreBoot Assesment the hard drive is fine. Assuming it passes the hard drive test any chance that point that the problem would the processor or is it most likely the motherboard. I really don't want to invest in a part I do not need.

Thanks,

Adam

Moderator
2347

Hi Adam,

Thank you for the update.

Well, since we do not know the source, we need to start somewhere. Hence, I suggested the extended test on the HDD and leave the system in BIOS to see if the system freezes at some point. This would easily isolate if the hardware is at fault. Else, we would then need to work on OS level to find the source of the issue.

Try the steps as suggested.

Keep us updated.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
2347

Oh wanted to mention also that if I leave the computer in Windows and it doesn't freeze while awake when the computer goes to sleep, (requiring waking it using power button) the keyboard and all lights come on but screen stays black and fan goes to full speed. This occurs consistently when it sleeps.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
2347

Well hard drive test passed just fine. Actually pulled hard drive out of laptop and ran the test on it plugged into a working computer using USB/Sata adapter to run the test. And also was unable to get machine to freeze leaving it in BIOS for 3 hours. Decided to reformat the hard drive again and loaded the Ubuntu OS (linux based) on it to see how it would behave with a non Windows OS and it installed fine. All linux device drivers for the hardware are loaded and working including Nvidia driver. and for the last couple of hours the machine is running completely stable. Lets see what happens overnight.  Doesn't make sense being the problems were occurring with both clean installs of Win 7 and Win 10 using latest windows device drivers. 

Moderator
2347

Hi Adam,

Thank you for the update.

Its great that you have managed to test the HDD on another machine. 

I don't feel that 3 hours in BIOS would be sufficient time to confirm if the system would freeze or not, as in BIOS, the system does not use much resources. This will easily confirm if the source is hardware related or not. Might I suggest you to leave the system overnight if possible?

Since, you have installed Linux, observe the system for a couple of days and keep us updated when you can.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
2347

What software have you been running to check the temperatures.

Have you run something like Speedfan that will read the dell SM bus.

Maybe it is some other hardware locking up the system.

Graphics adaptor perhaps?

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