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April 11th, 2024 17:52

x17 R1, getting BSOD after 2 years

Alienware x17 R1

Alienware x17 R1

I have had an Alienware x17 R1 for a little over two years and before now, it has been flawless. Approximately two months ago, I started getting blue screens every 1-3 days. I am an IT guy by profession, but I haven't been in Desktop Support for many years and I am a bit rusty.

 

I tried to analyze the BSODs with tools like WinDbg and BlueScreenView, but all I got out of it really was that the NT Kernel crashed and I couldn't really see anything that would help me narrow the issue down (hardware, driver, etc.) The problem seemed to start after installing the MS February Quarterly Update, so I removed all the recent updates and the result was strange behavior (black screen after Windows login and terrible performance). I decided to wipe/rebuild the OS and I did this two ways, using Dell Recovery, and completely from scratch. The BSOD problems persisted.

 

I have run multiple hardware scans (Alienware thorough diagnostics, Windows diagnostics (memory/SSD), and even third-party memory/SSD scans from USB). All of them passed with flying colors with the exception of one warning of CPU temperature (early on) that hasn’t returned. I was doing some reading about this model and decided to try removing old drivers with Driver Store Explorer and disabling the hybrid graphics ability in the BIOS, which seemed to stabilize the machine to the point where I had one BSOD within a two-week period. Since I made a classic mistake of doing two things at once, I was not sure which made the difference. I tried turning on hybrid graphics again and the problem returned. I disabled the hybrid graphics yet again, but it did not seem to help this time.

 

I am running out of ideas here. My only other thoughts are to try replacing the RAM and maybe the SSD. The BSODs don’t seem to always make the same references and the Intel UHD does utilize RAM. I suppose it is possible there is a RAM issue that hardware diagnostics cannot determine. I do like this model, but I am not sure I want to start blowing money on guesses at this point.

Anyone out there smarter than I am (it does not take much) that can give me any guidance?

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May 1st, 2024 15:53

Well, the last thing I did was completely remove the Intel UHD driver and do a clean install of the driver. The system has been stable for one week now. I can't explain why the problem persisted through two wipes of the machine, but here we are. 🤷‍♂️

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April 15th, 2024 16:37

I had a couple of thoughts over the weekend.

1. There were some new Killer and NVIDIA drivers that I installed.
2. I then ran all the stress tests (all day) that the free version of OCCT offers on Saturday and the system seemed stable. I knew better than to get my hopes up and I got a BSOD Sunday morning.

I was thinking to myself that these blue screens never happen when I am actively using the machine. In every case, the BSOD happenes when I wasn't actively doing something on the machine. While plugged in, I only have Windows shut off the display. I am going to check through Event Viewer to see if something is going to sleep and not waking up in a good mood.

As you can see from the screen shot, all the recent blue screens are still referencing the NT Kernel. However, the bug check string varies.

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April 23rd, 2024 17:38

I ended up cleaning the vents and internal fans because WhoCrashed Pro suggested that it could be heat related. I also reseated the RAM since I was in there. Neither seemed to make any improvement.

I just decided to try a complete removal of the Intel UHD driver and do a clean install since the problem seems to be worse when running on the Intel graphics card. It seems to be better, but I am not holding my breath. The recent blue screens have been painfully generic, which doesn't help me troubleshoot this issue. I will say that WhoCrashed Pro seems to be giving me most information from the dump files.

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