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November 28th, 2023 19:20

XPS 8940, locking up/freezing since 2.15 BIOS update

XPS 8940

XPS 8940

This is a last ditch effort to get some kind of help because I honestly don't know what to do. While my computer was under warranty, I experienced no issues. Everything ran perfectly and it was an amazing computer. Once my warranty expired on July 23, 2023, I began experiencing some intermittent lockups that I brushed off because there was no BSOD. 

The lockups/freezing started to happen more as the year went on, and the past few months have been nothing short of miserable with this computer. It is my only computer and it's what I would consider a good computer, less than three years old - and to have issues like this is kinda ridiculous. However, its out of warranty now and I can only get support if I pay, which I cannot afford right now because I live on a fixed income. 

Since I updated my BIOS at the beginning of the week, the freezing/lockups are happening 3-5 times a day, requiring a manual restart of my computer. There are no other signs that anything is wrong - and my computer passes all other "Support Assist" tests. There are no slow downs, no BSOD, and it doesn't happen when I'm under heavy workload usually - it's typically when I do something mundane like - open a text document while in a discord call, open something in file explorer from another drive, open another browser window. Low effort things. 

Here is my system information: 


Windows 11 Home - 10.0.22631 Build 22631
Dell XPS 8940
11th Gen Intel Core 17 - 11700 2.5GHz 8Core

32G RAM - NVIDIA GeForce 3060 Ti

BIOS version 2.15.1 9/27/2023


NVME WD BLACK SSD 1000GB main drive

WDC WD SSD 1000GB 2nd drive

WDC WD HDD 500 GB storage

Please let me know if I can provide other information. I feel like I cannot use my computer and I don't know what to do. This is my first Dell computer, and in all my life, I've never had issues like this with a desktop PC, which should be more stable. I'm honestly so disappointed in the lack of support options and the lack of help I've been met with and don't know what to do. 

March 4th, 2024 05:03

Thanks for the post - have been having the same issue over the last couple of months. My 8940 will just randomly freeze (even when not under load). I've been trying to downgrade the NVIDIA drivers with no success. I've just found this post, and then tried the specific June '23 driver from the Dell site. Will see how it goes.

Interestingly my Lenovo X1 Extreme laptop started bluescreening (at least then I get an error code unlike when it freezes) at a similar time with the NVIDIA driver referenced in the event log just before the crash as having sustained errors resulting in the blue screen.

Reinstalled latest Win 11 2H23 on both devices without any improvement. Fingers crossed this specific driver fixes my XPS.

Update March 14: That fixed it (the linked June '23 driver). Still on latest bios.

(edited)

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March 4th, 2024 17:57

@ispalten​ 

You are a genius! I read your earlier post and set NVidia power to max. I'm now going on 3 days without a freeze on both computers! The computers also backed up without a problem! I was having 2 to 10 freezes a day (depending upon the software I was using), and there hasn't been a single issue in almost 3 days! Thanks for your suggestion and thanks for responding!!

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March 12th, 2024 16:04

In November of 2023, I made this post to explain issues that my XPS 8940 was having. I rolled back my NVIDIA drivers as was suggested, and that seemed to temporarily fix the issue with hangups/hard freezes. There were intermittent updates to the computer and BIOS which I did update. However, I have not updated the NVIDIA driver, and I don't know if that is causing the problem, and there are now additional issues.

I have a WDC WD HDD 500 GB storage that is supposed to be an F drive that the computer no longer recognizes. It just doesn't exist any longer. The computer takes minutes to restart and start instead of seconds and I imagine that's because of the issue with the drive. The hard freezes are back despite the fact that I have not upgraded NIVDIA since rolling back.

I tried to do a memory test using the windows memory diagnostic tool as was suggested in the comments of my previous post, but it was like the computer froze as there was no activity after 20 minutes or so, I had to hard reboot and then got an error of "windows failed to start" in black and white. after I hit enter, the computer started normally.

I don't know what's going on, but it's insane to me that the hardware could be degrading this quickly. Is there anything I can do to diagnose the computer, or can anyone tell me what might be going on?

Again, here are my hardware specs:

Windows 11 Home: Version 23H2 (Build 22631.3235)
XPS 8940

11th Gen Intel Core 17 - 11700 2.5GHz 8Core

32G RAM - NVIDIA GeForce 3060 Ti
BIOS Version 2.17 12/11/2023

NVME WD BLACK SSD 1000GB main drive

WDC WD SSD 1000GB 2nd drive

WDC WD HDD 500 GB storage


Thank you for any help you can provide. This has been an ongoing issue for a long time and I am growing increasingly frustrated and don't know what to do anymore.

(edited)

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43.7K Posts

11-03-2024 18:29 PM

Is the 500 GB WDC drive F: internal or external (USB)? If it's USB, disconnect it and all other USB devices, including any USB connections from monitor, leaving only mouse and keyboard connected to USB. See if boot speed improves.  If that helps, reconnect only the WDC drive and see what happens.

Then reboot and tap F2 when you see the Dell splash screen to open BIOS setup. Make sure Windows Boot Manager is first in the boot sequence. Save the change, if any, when you exit BIOS setup.

Try running the diagnostics again, this time without any USB devices connected, except mouse and keyboard.  Full diagnostics on 32 GB of RAM may take a lot longer than 20 min, so be patient.

Did you ever change the NVidia Control Panel>3D Settings>Power Management option to "prefer max performance"? That seems to solve the freezes for many other XPS 8940 users.  Note: You probably have to check this same setting every time you install a new NVidia driver.

2 Posts

March 15th, 2024 17:21

I have a Dell XPS 8940 with NVIDIA RTX 3060.  In the fall of 2023 I began having problems with my display blanking and flashing. Later I had repeated problems when using Chrome with the display freezing; sometimes just pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up the Task Manager would fix the problem, but often I would have to reboot the PC.  I reset Windows, but that didn't help.  I tried other remedies and nothing worked.  

The other day I moved the HDMI monitor cable from the NVIDIA card and plugged it into the other HDMI port.  So far I have not had any problems.  This seems to have fixed the problems.

I am not tech-savvy, and I don't know if this will continue to work or why it would work.  I have not noticed any differences in how my monitor displays anything. (I am not a gamer.)  Windows indicates that my monitor (Dell U3415W) is Display 1 connected to Intel UHD Graphics 750.  However, I can start the NVIDIA Control Panel and it doesn't give any indication that my NVIDIA card is not hooked up to my monitor.

I don't understand why my graphics is not any different when not plugged into the NVIDIA card, or why the NVIDIA card could crash the system.  But, FWIW, moving my HDMI cable from the NVIDIA card seems to have stopped the issues. 

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1.8K Posts

March 15th, 2024 20:39

@PBN52​ 

I recall this was 'discovered' some time ago.

You are NOT using the Nvidia card, but it is powered up and the driver loaded, and it just 'sits' there.

You are on the Intel HD750 probably (most 8940's shipped with the 11th Gen Intel CPU which has that video device on it, but some did ship with the 10th Gen as well, which might have the HD740).

So not 'exercising' the Nvidia card of course avoids the problem.

If you have a large monitor, run High Graphics games, and need fast response, you would know in any of these situations why the HD750 would not cut it.

Check this link out, https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-RTX-2060-vs-Intel-UHD-Graphics-750/4034vsm1498842, and you can select your Nvidia card model on that page, this link is for my Nvidia card essentially (RAM size is not specified and can change some numbers).

If you are using the XPS for 'slow' or non-high resolution or graphics, the HD750 would probably be good enough for you. I mean running an email client to get email and reply, working with Word or Excel, even streaming video's. Don't try to use it for MS Flight Simulator, you would not be happy, or other high intensive speed/video game.

As you have discovered, Nvidia Control Panel can still interact with the card, but it is meaningless. Now if you go into Device manager and DISABLE your Nvidia card, it will not effect your experience, other than the Nvidia Control Panel will not have anything to display.

By the way, I also discovered by accident that with the Nvidia card disabled its HDMI port will still work, as it shares the bus with the HD750 and you are using the HD750 via the Nvidia HDMI port (and you will not lock up that way either).

You indeed have stopped the lock ups, but the issue still remains, when you use the Nvidia card.

2 Posts

March 15th, 2024 21:15

@ispalten​ 

Thanks for replying to my post.

I guess I paid for a graphics card that I did not need.  I am still surprised that so far I haven't noticed any difference whatsoever in how graphics are displayed.  My monitor is big, 34" diagonal that I really like, and it predates my XPS 8940.

It seems like this may be malware on the NVIDIA card.

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1.8K Posts

March 15th, 2024 22:42

@PBN52​ 

I have a 32" Dell monitor. When I connected the HD750 I could tell the visual display was different, not as crisp. I run at a resolution of 3840x2160. With your size monitor, it should be about the same as the default suggested value though.

No Malware on the card (if it were, then how would ALL Nvidia models, no mater if Dell supplier or a 3rd party vendor have it, and it were, than anyone with such a card would be complaining on any PC). Not in the driver either, suspect is the Dell BIOS as this problem first appeared over 2 years ago when BIOS V2.4.0 was released. No problems before that one was released.

Dell has never 'taken ownership' of the problem, and have told people (here) to only USE Dell tested and posted in its Driver and Downloads page for you card. That does seem to work for some users, but not all. Same goes for the Power Setting in the Nvidia Control panel, or turning off Turbo in the BIOS. Works for some, but not everyone.

March 23rd, 2024 15:26

@dellio26​ Are you referring to the Cpu mosfets? 

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18 Posts

April 1st, 2024 14:45

I had this problem in 2022 with my XPS 8940 when bios 1.10 came out. They couldn't fix it. Gaslighted me. Time me it wasn't an issue (under warranty). Refused, even with video, to acknowledge it was a problem.  Sent me a new machine. Sent me a new motherboard. Didn't matter because both were on 1.10. 

I finally elevated, threatened, cried, harassed. Until they sent me an 8950 as a replacement that has a different motherboard and doesn't have this issue. 

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9 Posts

April 1st, 2024 20:13

I think I found the solution to this problem. I've been fighting this for about a year and a half now!

I purchased my XPS 8940 with Nvidia 1600 SUPER graphics card and received it Nov. 2022, It came with Windows 11 installed and I immediately downgraded to Windows 10. At first, the lockups were only about 1 per month. I've only had 2 BIOS upgrades since, the last one about 2 months ago, but the problem became noticeably much worse with each upgrade. I leave my computer on 24/7 and, since the last upgrade, I would find the PC was getting daily lockups/freezes every morning when I woke. It would be rare to have a morning without a lockup. The only way to recover from them has always been a hard reset.

After this last BIOS upgrade, I researched this problem more extensively and found an article that said you should not get your driver updates from anyone except your PC manufacturer, such as DELL. It said that companies like DELL will sometimes have their own hardware/license codes for 3rd party OEM equipment and an upgrade from the OEM manufacturer (like NVidia) may not be compatible with your PC and BIOS. I had been getting my updates from both DELL and NVidia, as NVidia's drivers were always much more current.

So, I decided to download the DDU driver uninstall program ver. 18.0.7.4  https://www.wagnardsoft.com/display-driver-uninstaller-DDU- and uninstalled the old NVidia drivers and installed a clean copy of the latest driver from the DELL website. Since doing this, I've gone from having daily lockups every morning, sometimes twice a day, to not having a lockup for the past 5 days. 

When Running DDU, it's recommended to have the PC in Safe Mode (without Networking or Command Line). You also need to download the DELL Driver and have it ready to install, then disable your network so the PC doesn't auto-update while the Driver is removed. Inside the DDU program, you can click on the top right drop down box to select GPU, and then click to uninstall the drivers at the bottom right of the screen. it will remove the Video and Audio drivers in less than a minute and you can see the progress. Then, update with the DELL latest version of the NVidia driver/software and reboot normally.

I hope this helps you all like it did me. DELL's support has proven to be pathetic and not worth the cost or aggravation they typically cause consumers. All they can do is to go through the same sheet of "Try This" options, have you doing numerous unrelated reinstalls and resetting things, and then they don't know what to do. If they are using special hardware and licensing codes in their systems, this should be an obvious solution and their DELL technicians should already be made aware of this and have a solution available. I think I'm done again! They can have their messed up SupportAssist, too!

(edited)

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April 2nd, 2024 12:34

I've got all of the above freezing systems with an XPS8940 with AMD RX5600 graphic card. Started last fall. I've rolled the bios back to 2.13.1 and the amd driver back to a June version. Still freezes. I've been monitoring CPU core temps and the highest they ever get is 85 Celsius. If I disable the amd driver and just use the motherboard Intel driver issue goes away but that's not an acceptable solution.

Prior to all this Dell support had me do a clean OS install then update to current latest software/firmware releases (still froze) and then replaced the SSD and motherboard which accomplished nothing either.

I saw a thread somewhere that the IME (Intel Management Engine) could be a suspect. Haven't tried rolling that back yet.

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April 8th, 2024 20:36

I am having all the same issues of freezing.  Tried everything.  So aggravated.  Hoping there is a fix soon.

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April 9th, 2024 19:09

@Vonra

I am having all the same issues of freezing.  Tried everything.  So aggravated.  Hoping there is a fix soon.

Have you tried opening the NVidia Control Panel and changing the Manage 3D Settings>Power Management option to "Prefer max performance"?

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April 9th, 2024 21:52

Dell released a new driver yesterday after 8 months, replacing the August 2023 Nvidia studio driver as the newest one on the support site. It has both the gaming and studio versions listed. So far, it seems stable using the gaming version, but I will continue to monitor it.

I'm happy to have some resolution after thinking of tossing this desktop to the curb with little help from Dell.

Driver VER. 31.0.15.5168 on BIOS 2.17.0

 

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43.7K Posts

April 9th, 2024 23:55

@cale9770 - In NVidia Control Panel, how is Manage 3D settings>Power Management set in this new driver, and did you change it or keep the default setting?

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