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LastDitch
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XPS 15 (9550) System lockup/Freeze after BIOS update

My 9550 was on it's original BIOS from 2016, I think it's (01.02.10), everything was running just fine. The issue began after I let SupportAssist update a bunch of things, and among them was an update to the latest BIOS released about a week ago (1.11.2). After the update my system now freezes randomly and I have to do a hard-reset each time. Here is everything I did to try and fix the issue that did not work: - Reset BIOS - Downgrade to older BIOS, even to the original one I had. It will say update failed (because of Intel ME), yet the BIOS version number changes in system information. - Wipe everything and install Windows again (from recovery partition). - Wipe everything and install Linux (Pop os). Other notes: I noticed the issue is less frequent when AC is plugged in, so I disconnected the battery from the back but it still freezes. I also suspected it could be an SSD issue so I tried booting from a Live Linux USB and the system still freezes. Any advise on this is really really appreciated as I am very desperate to getting this fixed.
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8 Krypton

Re: XPS 15 (9550) System lockup/Freeze after BIOS update

Went through a similar experience updating a "mothballed" XPS 15 9550 from BIOS 01.01.15, released in January 2016, to 1.10.0.  Was paranoid about bricking the laptop.  Updated it manually, without any Dell software installed.  Went through each firmware and chipset related update to decide which to apply and in what order.  Ended up applying 8 BIOS updates, several Thunderbolt driver and firmware updates, several Intel Management Engine updates, plus the Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework. Despite my care, Thunderbolt disappeared from the Device Manager - had to uninstall the TB driver, reinstall it, then reapply the TB firmware update to get it back. Note: I did not update the TPM firmware (or try to change it from its current 1.2 to 2.0), nor were there any SSD firmware updates for my drive.

Since your issue seems to occur regardless of operating system, I'd assume it is firmware or firmware setting related.  My key realization was that the 9550 has three update types that are firmware related:  BIOS, Thunderbolt, and Intel ME (Management Engine).

Things I'd think about doing are:

  • Make sure Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework is updated since seems this is chipset related and may affect how updates are applied.  8.2.10900.330, Released July 2016, seems to be latest.
  • Making sure BIOS is set to Defaults before updating BIOS (and update BIOS from F12 boot menu to reduce risk of bricking laptop).  I'd also set BIOS to Defaults once after applying a BIOS update.
  • Verify Thunderbolt firmware is ok by running Thunderbolt Software, then exiting popup and right-clicking on Thunderbolt Software icon in System Tray -> About.  The bottom section should be filled out and show "NVM Firmware version" as 26.01 or later.
  • Run the Intel Management Engine Components Installer to make sure ME firmware is up-to-date.  Latest is 1846.12.0.1177, released March 2019.  I believe BIOS updates may also update the ME firmware, but I'd run Intel ME Components Installer as well.
  • Check for any SSD or HD drive firmware updates.

I suspect the issue is related to Intel ME firmware...

LastDitch
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Re: XPS 15 (9550) System lockup/Freeze after BIOS update

Thank you for your reply,

 

I did all the updates you mentioned yet to no avail. I noticed that Thunderbolt Software shows the bottom section empty even when I installed the thunderbolt driver and restarted.

 

Another test I did to make sure the SSD isn't faulty is that I removed it and booted from a Linux usb and the system still froze.

 

Any other advice?

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8 Krypton

Re: XPS 15 (9550) System lockup/Freeze after BIOS update

A blank, bottom section of Thunderbolt Software, About screen means the TB driver can't find the TB firmware.  What resolved this for me was to uninstall the Intel Thunderbolt Controller Driver (even if it's the latest one), reboot, install latest TB driver, reboot again.  Then I installed the Intel Thunderbolt 3 Firmware update.  After that, the About screen was populated properly with TB firmware version.

EDIT:  I also updated the "ASMedia USB Extended Host Controller Driver" to the latest version, 1.16.56.1, Release Date April 2019, prior to doing the above successfully.  May or may not be necessary.

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8 Krypton

Re: XPS 15 (9550) System lockup/Freeze after BIOS update

It didn't look like the 1.11.2 got pulled, it was present all the time among "older versions". Just the 1.9.0 seemed to get a fresh timestamp, so that it appeared as the latest version. Unfortunately, things like this occur at Dell support all the time. Date sort appears to be by the date someone last edited the description, not by the release date. 

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Re: XPS 15 (9550) System lockup/Freeze after BIOS update

LastDitch,

 

Click my name and private message me the pc service tag number.

 

 


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Re: XPS 15 (9550) System lockup/Freeze after BIOS update

LastDitch,

 

Click my name and private message me the pc service tag number.

 

 

 

 


Social Media Support
#IWork4Dell
To help us troubleshoot, send us via a private message: Dell PC or Monitor Service Tag number
Out of Warranty Support
Where do I find my Dell PC Service Tag or Express service code?
Where do I post SA (SupportAssist) issue/questions?
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