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January 10th, 2020 09:00

Precision 7540 will only boot Linux if charger is connected

I recently got a new Precision 7540 laptop for work. The first thing I did was wipe the SSD and install the latest Linux Mint. It runs great, with one caveat. It will only boot if the AC adapter is plugged in. On battery, 9 times out of 10, it won't cold boot. I see the Dell splash screen come and go. I see a message about booting in insecure mode because secure boot is disabled, and that's it. I never get prompted for my disk decryption key, although the keyboard backlight activates if I touch the keyboard. I have to poweroff by holding the power button to get out of this state. If I plug the charger back in and power on again, it comes right back up. Once I've made it to the login screen, I can unplug the charger and everything keeps working normally from there. I've reinstalled without full disk encryption and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I've tried the latest Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Fedora, as well as Ubuntu 18.04.3, all with the same startup issue. The issue is there before I install Nvidia drivers and afterwards, so that seems to have no effect. Ubuntu 18.04 seems to get farther; I actually see the Ubuntu logo with the 5 white dots that turn orange, and then back to white, and then back to orange... for 20 minutes until I hold down the power button, plug in the charger, and power on again. And then it comes right back up!

I spoke with Dell technical support and their stance was that since the laptop shipped with Windows, they can't provide support. So I reinstalled Windows 10, and frustratingly, the problem isn't there. I was hoping it was an obvious hardware problem that could be repaired.

I know Dell ships this model with Ubuntu 18.04 installed, so I know the hardware 'should' be able to work in that configuration. However, Dell has their own customized Ubuntu image. Because my system shipped with Windows, I don't have access to an official Dell Ubuntu image that would likely contain any needed patches/fixes, if the issue truly is limited to software.

My main concern is that I'm coming up on 30 days with this laptop. If I can't gain confidence that it's going to work in the long term, I'd rather send it back and eat the cost of restocking rather than risk being stuck with a laptop that's not fit for purpose. Is anyone out there running a stock (non Dell customized) version of the latest Ubuntu on the Precision 7540? If so, do you see this same issue?

March 25th, 2020 01:00

You have to do it with root privileges. For example, from terminal

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

6 Posts

January 11th, 2020 06:00

This is my bios version: DMI: Dell Inc. Precision 7530/0425K7, BIOS 1.12.1 11/11/2019

6 Posts

January 11th, 2020 06:00

Hi, I have Precision 7530 and I have the exact same problem


I hadn't tried dell support yet.

6 Posts

January 11th, 2020 08:00

I found out that the problem disappears if I downgrade BIOS to version 1.7.0



25.2K Posts

January 11th, 2020 08:00



We appreciate your efforts in running the trouble shooting steps. 


Dell has tested Ubuntu 16:04 and Ubuntu 18:04 operating system on your system model so we recommend installing these to versions. As per the order details system is shipped with Ubuntu 16:04.


Were you having the same issue when you were using Ubuntu 16:04 that was factory shipped? ^KR

10 Posts

January 11th, 2020 10:00

Hi pgregy,

 I appreciate your response, and it's nice to hear that you were able to fix the issue by downgrading the BIOS. Updating the BIOS was the first thing I did when I received my 7540 and it looks like I can go back as well (from v1.6.0 to v1.5.1 in my case). Unfortunately, I won't be able to test this until Monday, as I left the laptop at my office over the weekend.

 I hope this fixes the issue for me as well, but either way, thank you for reaching out. Your help is very much appreciated. Also I hope you have a Happy New Year.




10 Posts

January 13th, 2020 09:00

I downgraded the BIOS from v1.6.0 to v1.5.1 and I still see the same problem. That's a shame because aside from this issue, I really like this laptop. Not being able to boot from battery is a deal breaker though.

10 Posts

January 13th, 2020 15:00

I was able to downgrade the BIOS below v1.5.1 by disabling BIOS security mitigations (SMM). I took the laptop all the way down to BIOS v1.0.0. And it works now. The laptop boots from the battery just like its supposed to. I'll try upgrading one version at a time until I can determine which BIOS version breaks my ability to boot from the battery.

10 Posts

January 13th, 2020 21:00

So I can confirm that for my Precision 7540, BIOS versions 1.0.0, 1.1.3, 1.2.3, and 1.3.3 all work as expected, with respect to my specific startup issue. With BIOS versions 1.5.1 or 1.6.0, the laptop won't boot Linux unless the AC adapter is plugged in. This issue doesn't seem to affect Windows, but it seems to affect multiple versions of Linux including Ubuntu 18.04 which is supposed to be officially supported on this hardware. Does anyone from Dell have any ideas why this may be the case?




1 Message

January 15th, 2020 18:00


I came to this thread looking for the solution to a similar problem that I am currently facing with my Dell Precision 7530 with Ubuntu 18.04. It does not boot unless the laptop is connected to AC power. This was not always the case. A few days back, I accepted the system updates and got them installed (I did not check what these updates were). The problem has started since then.

Could you please have a look into it?


[In case you need to know about the default OS that was shipped with the laptop, it was an invalid/inactivated Windows OS.  I specifically requested for Ubuntu 18.04, but the vendor had only 16.04. So we had agreed that I would install Ubuntu 18.04 on the laptop after I received it.]

1 Message

January 16th, 2020 00:00

I suppose I have the same problem.

  • Windows boots up normally, Ubuntu does not.
  • I am not exactly sure when the problem first arose but it was sometime in late december. I did a Dell-update in Windows (I use both OS daily) back then.
  • I use a Latitude 7300

Hope this helps the support-team fixing the problem. Thanks

10 Posts

January 16th, 2020 13:00

It's interesting that this issue is affecting different models. I'm still inside the return window for my laptop, but if it's clearly a BIOS issue, that at least makes me more confident in the actual hardware. And it's more likely that Dell will fix the issue.

4 Posts

January 22nd, 2020 17:00

Please try booting with the kernel param "dis_ucode_ldr". I believe there was a CPU microcode update in the newer bios which is causing issues with the newer kernels. The stock 18.04LTS image actually ships with a customized 4.15 kernel, which doesn't have this issue with the newer bios versions.

1 Message

January 26th, 2020 07:00

I've just installed the stock LTS version and the problem still exists.

February 11th, 2020 12:00

I have this same problem on the same laptop.

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