XPS Desktops

Last reply by 03-25-2023 Unsolved
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2 Bronze
2 Bronze

XPS 8950, black screen flash, hardware glitch?

Hi there,

My daughter has a Dell XPS 8950 for her animation and visual effects degree course work. It's about 6 months old and has developed a glitch. The whole screen will 'flash' black for a few seconds (1-2 seconds) before coming back on and any audio playing at the same time will continue to play uninterrupted. This condition is completely random and is not specific to running a certain program. On one occasion the pc rebooted to a message “Windows hadn't set up properly”
Today it additionally did a windows hardware remove and insert chime as the screen went black and when the monitor came back on the chrome browser window had changed size.

This chime was this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9lmrqtwoXM windows hardware remove and insert chime.

Switching from HDMI cable to Display port didn't help.

Any thoughts or solutions would be much appreciated.

The full spec is listed below. The desktop is under a 4 year support onsite service and the monitor is under warranty

XPS Desktop 8950
4K UHD monitor S2721QS
12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K processor (16-Core, 30MB Cache, 3.2GHz to 5.2GHz )
750W Night Sky Platinum PSU with ODD
Advanced CPU air cooling
32GB DDR5, 2x 16GB, at 4400MHz
Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)
CyberLink Media Essentials for Windows
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB (LHR)
Killer Wi-Fi 6 1675 (2x2) 802.11ax Wireless and Bluetooth 5.2
Windows 11 Home
McAfee 30 day trial
McAfee LiveSafe 12 Month Subscription
1Y Collect and Return Service
1Y Premium Support Plus and Onsite Service Upgrade
2-4 Premium Support Plus and Onsite Service Extension


Replies (20)
3 Zinc

Since it's under warranty have you tried contacting Dell Support? Also maybe check for new drivers.

10 Diamond

@alansnell  Others have had similar issues with NVidia RTX 3000 series video cards like the RTX 3080 in your system. (Google for it!) This may be due to a NVidia driver update and can happen on any brand PC, not just Dell.

Was the NVidia driver recently updated on this PC? And what version is installed? Dell's latest NVidia driver is here.  You may want to use DDU (free) to completely remove all traces of the current NVidia driver before installing any other version.

The "disconnect" sound you hear may happen because the monitor has its own built-in USB ports and the monitor is connected to a USB port on the PC when the video card crashes. So if monitor loses USB connectivity when its screen blanks, PC treats it as a USB disconnection, and as a "reconnection" when video card and screen recover.


  Forum Member since 2004
  I am not a Dell employee

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Thanks Ron for the information, much appreciated.

The existing driver is:

Nvidia Control panel lists this as 526.98

We have now installed your recommended driver:

Nvidia Control panel now lists this as 517.66

We didn't run DDU yet.

Hopefully this has resolved it, I'll report back to confirm when it's been running for a while.




2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Update, it's still randomly flashing a black screen with the new driver installed


I had a 'similar' problem on my XPS8940 when first delivered. It would happen on boot though. As the PC was coming up, I'd see the desktop briefly and then the screen would go black for a few seconds, and the the desktop would appear 'blooming'. I contacted support and did all the 'usual' stuff, clean boot, replace the driver, try another Dell driver they had, nothing helped. Dell even replaced the card and motherboard. No change. Was told to try the Nvidia newest one, no change. In desperation, I tried using DDU to completely clean out the Nvidia components. Reinstalled the latest Dell drivers and problem gone.

Note, I did have the Nvidia GEFORCExperience and Control Panel removed and re-installed as well.

I'd give DDU a try.

By the way, you might be aware of this, but Nvidia has 2 versions of drivers, Studio and Game Ready. Dell only seems to release the Game Ready. The difference is described here, https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/forums/creative-apps/26/296943/nvidia-studio-driver-vs-game-rea... and it sort of suggests the Studio Driver might be a better choice. I'd also forego GEFORCExperience as well.

Dell Support had told me I can use the Nvidia released drivers, but if a problem appears, I need to use the Dell 'tested' and 'supported' drivers from the D/L area.


I am a Dell TechExpert. I am not a Dell employee. I enjoy using my free time to help the community. If you find my posts useful, you can thank me by clicking on Kudos!


Irv S.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Thanks Irv S for the additional input and detailed advice.

I will try the DDU but I can't risk it at the moment as my daughter has a big project on at the minute so she can't have this machine out of action for even a few hours if things go wrong! It's still working OK so will try the Nvidia clear out and DDU when she's got time for me to do it. Additional problem is that she's at university 100 miles away so briefing her and helping fix this remotely. 

Thanks for your help


10 Diamond

Any chance daughter can test her monitor on a different PC or a different monitor on her PC, just to rule it out?

Keep in mind that Windows Update might automatically update the NVidia driver again without warning or permission, after you downgraded back to the Dell driver. So check to see if 517.66 is still installed.

I'd run DDU, especially since the Dell driver is older than the one that had been installed. You want to make sure everything is completely removed before you install the Dell driver again.

You may also want to run a couple of easy tests to make sure there isn't some other Windows problem causing the blinks. They're safe to run. You can copy and email these instructions to your daughter so she can run them, or maybe find a geek to help her. 

  1. At desktop, open a CMD prompt window, Run as administrator

  2. At the prompt, type in: chkdsk c: /r and press Enter. Accept offer to run chkdsk at next boot and reboot PC. chkdsk will run before Windows loads so be patient. Note any error messages shown when that's done.

  3. Back at desktop, open a CMD prompt window as in #1

  4. At the prompt, type in: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and press Enter. Be sure to include one space in front of each / and note any error messages when that's done.

  5. Assuming no "unfixed" errors in #2 or #4, at the CMD prompt, type in: sfc /scannow and press Enter. Be sure to include one space in front of the / and note any errors when that's done.

  6. Assuming no "unfixed" errors in #2, #4 or #5, reboot PC and watch for the video issue...


  Forum Member since 2004
  I am not a Dell employee

10 Diamond


Is the right driver installed for the Dell S2721QS monitor in Win 11?  The Dell driver is here.

Is the latest Dell Display Manager application installed for this monitor?

NOTE: There have been some issues reported for screens blanking on S2721QS monitors like yours, but they seem -so far- to be limited to systems using a USB-c(PC)>DP(monitor) cable or a USB-c(PC)>HDMI(monitor) cable, so may not apply to your situation.


  Forum Member since 2004
  I am not a Dell employee



DDU takes about a minute or so to run. Once it runs, I recall you need to reboot. At that point, the MS default device driver for the display loads. It may not support the resolution that is required though. I have a 32 inch running at 3840x2160 for instance and MS driver was quite a bit lower. However, once I installed the Nvidia driver and went back to the default resolution, all was OK.

What I'd suggest is that you first make a C: back-up to be safe. Most will use Macrium Reflect. I don't know if they still post the FREE version though as it is no longer supported. Might find it on the web though? They do have a 30 day free trial of the home version though, https://www.macrium.com/products/home 

I'd also I'd recommend DeskTopOK (http://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Freeware/DesktopOK ) to save and restore the Desktop Icon's. As you change resolution, the icons do move, and sometimes don't return properly. Really might need this while running DDU.

I'd also suggest the Studio driver, at least try it out, might fit your needs better, and supposedly it is more stable.

Another thing to try, and this will rule out other causes, move to the HD Intel on-board connector if possible (had the proper monitor connection and if it supports the required resolution). See if the problem exists there or not. If it doesn't have the problem, then you know it is Nvidia connected. Still does, well, other problem could be monitor or even Windows?


I am a Dell TechExpert. I am not a Dell employee. I enjoy using my free time to help the community. If you find my posts useful, you can thank me by clicking on Kudos!


Irv S.

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