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Last reply by 06-17-2022 Unsolved
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2 Bronze

Dell XPS 15 9560 Blue Screens

I have a Dell XPS 15 9560 laptop (2017) which has been working very well until about a three weeks ago. I started getting blue screen crashes occurring at random showing the error VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR. 

I can usually resolve this sort of thing on my own but having spent a lot of time on the internet researching & trying various proposed solutions (disconnect peripherals, uninstall all recent drivers or programs etc, chksdk, sfc /scannow, dism etc – none of which report errors) I haven’t been able to fix this one.  

All Dell diagnostics from the BIOS, Dell Support App or Dell Website all seem to report everything is fine. Only the battery gets flagged up as something that I might want to consider replacing.

I now only use the laptop connected to the supplied Dell 130w power supply. The battery capacity has reduced over the years to ‘Fair’ so it only lasts 1-2 hours before going flat (originally 4-5 hours). I’m not fussed about replacing the battery as I don’t travel with it – I'm fine with it being plugged in all the time. 

This supposed DirectX related error can occur at any time while using Windows. I haven’t used my laptop for any games at all since this started happening. Sometimes I can go an entire day without an issue. Other times it will crash several times in the space of an hour or two. The blue screen can occur when the laptop is just left alone doing nothing, or when using it for simple tasks such as just clicking within File Explorer windows or using the internet etc (I’ve tried various browsers all separately and all at the same time). 

The laptop was using all the latest Dell supplied (Dell Update) drivers before these errors starting happening. Since the errors started I have tried updating to the latest NVIDIA (GTX 1050 GPU) and Intel (Intel HD 630 GPU) drivers direct from those manufacturer sites but those more recent (non-Dell) drivers didn’t fix the issue. I have since re-installed all the Dell supplied drivers.

I did eventually look into one of the recent mini-dump files and I could see references to the NVIDIA driver files. However, I also saw mention of a ‘Power’ related kernel issue causing a watchdog exception. Having read around online, I did see mention that Dell laptops can exhibit degraded power connections between components after a lot of use. I didn’t fancy putting my laptop in an oven to ‘bake’ repair dodgy soldering though! 

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Also: in recent years I’ve noticed when gaming (Skyrim, Grim Dawn, XCom 2) as soon as the GPU gets into the 70 degrees C heat range it will go into thermal throttling mode, dropping the FPS to < 5fps. That is very annoying as even after exiting a game and when it’s cooled it takes a long while before even Windows responds properly (mouse lags, everything unresponsive etc).

I have had to use the NVIDIA drivers to limit the max FPS to 30 to keep the GPU temps under 70 degrees C - which worked well. When I first had the laptop this wasn’t necessary (Skyrim at 1080p, max detail, no FPS limit etc), but I think some Dell updates (BIOS, Intel or otherwise) applied a more restrictive heat cap before it started throttling.

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Having written all the above in the past few days (I was preparing a Word document before posting here), today I have now started getting DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE blue screens. These seem to be happening instead of the VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR error. However, as before it just seems to be occurring at random. I did try running the BIOS diagnostics this morning, which seemed fine (except the battery). Also tried the Dell Website Support diagnostics which seemed to take a long time but annoyingly the laptop blue screened while doing it...

I've scoured the Dell XPS Community boards this morning again to try to find some concrete reference to these issues but I can't see anything obvious (I've tried a lot of things already) related to this specific model that may provide a solution.

Anyone have any ideas about what might be happening here?

Replies (20)
2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Hi Rage Feret, 

 

Thank you for writing back. I think we have a similar issue. I also have a similar experience regarding what you mentioned (below).

'I noticed that the Epic Games client would not start and would show some error message such as "Graphics card not supported". I did re-install it a couple of time and it did start working again briefly, then stopped working again...'

The only work around that I found when encountering the problem of an app saying "graphics card not supported" is to open device manager >> display adapters >> double clicking NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1050 >> going to the drivers tab >> disable device and then re-enabling it. Usually after that, reopening an app like Epic Games client would work and no error message would pop up. 

I also did not know that dell produced their own GTX 1050 drivers. I am currently running the latest NVIDIA driver which I downloaded from the NVIDIA website. I might check if using the dell driver would make a difference

 

Again thank you for writing back!

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Hey doorhingee,

Back when the blue screens started happening (maybe just before), I noticed that the Epic Games client would not start and would show some error message such as "Graphics card not supported". I did re-install it a couple of time and it did start working again briefly, then stopped working again...

After I did the whole DDU driver removal then Dell NVIDIA driver re-install, I got Epic Games re-installed too and then it seemed to be happy starting again.

What is worth saying: I kept an eye on the Task Manager tab that shows GPU use for the Intel and NVIDIA cards as I was doing things. When opening Steam, Origin, GOG Galaxy, Ubisoft Connect and Battlenet none of those caused the NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU to trigger any use at all i.e. remained at 0% the whole time (and that's even when opening them all back to back). Instead they all seemed happy running only on the Intel HD 630 GPU.

However, on opening the Epic Games client that will trigger the NVIDIA GPU immediately, and every time. It doesn't matter if there's any other clients or programs running or not.

I did notice a pattern with trying to open Epic Games that it would often (but not always) trigger that blue screen VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR crash.

Aside from Epic Games client, I haven't tried playing any actual games at all since these blue screens started happening. I assumed anything using DirectX (related to the blue screen issues) would likely trigger a crash pretty quickly.

Epic Games may be the only obvious Windows application that I have been using that that would trigger the NVIDIA GPU to be used. That said, I did find if I just left my XPS alone for a while (30 mins, 1 hour etc) it would occasionally have just crashed with the same blue screen issue anyway - and that's with no interaction or having Epic Games client loaded and/or running.

I had been previously using the same Dell NVIDIA drivers since last year and did not have any issues at all until some time in March 2022. At a guess, some Windows update may have made the older Dell NVIDIA drivers conflict with the system changes. In this case, a more recent NVIDIA driver might fix the issue for a normal desktop machine but I did try the non-Dell GTX 1050 drivers direct from NVIDIA but it didn't fix the issue. That said, it's generally not a good idea to use the non-Dell drivers since the latter are tweaked to the XPS system power profile and BIOS behavior.

Hope that helps to clarify things a bit?

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Hi Rage Ferret, 

I also have an XPS 9560 and seem to also have the blue screen VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR issue. Just as you have done, I have tried rolling back drivers, uninstalling using DDU, changing the power manager settings, etc to no avail.

The blue screen VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR crash happens to me when opening a graphically demanding software like Photoshop (which I have set so that it always uses the NVIDIA GPU) after my computer (or the GPU) has been idle. For me, the issue seems to be that the NVIDIA graphics card is not able to start again after being idle.

You can monitor if your laptop or any app is utilising the GPU by having it as an icon on the bottom right of your task bar (the small icons next to where the date and time is located). If you currently don't have the icon there, you can open the NVIDIA control panel application >> click on  "desktop" on the menu bar >> check the "Display GPU Activity Icon in Notification Area"

After having the icon (shaped like a GPU) pinned to the bottom right of your task bar, you can monitor it. When no apps are using the GPU, the icon is usually greyed out. When there is an app using the GPU it will appear as coloured. 

I am posting because you mentioned in your original post that the crashes seem to be random. I just wanted to ask if the crashes you experience are triggered by the same causes as me?

If you want to check whether our case is the same, check if the crash happens after your computer has been idle or the GPU has not been used for a while (icon greyed out) and then try and start an application that will utilise the GPU, if it crashes, then I think we might have the same issue. 

 

I hope you write back, it would put me at ease if I am not the only one experiencing this

 

 

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

After my last post, I have been running with the GTX 1050 disabled in Device Manager. The XPS has performed exceptionally, no crashes or blue screens etc.

During that time, I ran the following tests (again) to completion without any reported issues:

  1. Dell BIOS standard & thorough diagnostics.
  2. Dell Support Assist application standard & thorough diagnostics.
  3. Command lines tools: chkdsk, sfc, dism etc
  4. Hammered Windows by simultaneously running lots of apps e.g: Steam, Origin, UPlay, Battlenet, Epic Games, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, HWMonitor etc. 
  5. Entire days of use without issues.

Last weekend I replaced the thermal paste (new Arctic MX-4) for the CPU & NVIDIA GPU and re-ran all the above again to make sure I hadn't broken anything. All good, CPU cores reporting around 40 degrees C on average when idle. Cooler than before with the original thermal paste (which there was very little of before I cleaned it off).

I was surprised by how healthy looking the inside of the XPS was. Very little dust, and only gathered around the fan exhausts. It was easy to clean. The XPS was also surprisingly straight. forward to disassemble (with the right Torx T5 & Philips drivers thanks to an iFixit kit I bought). It did help to first watch a couple of YouTube videos of people doing this to know what to expect.

Then I re-enabled the GTX-1050 in Device Manager. Within a couple of hours it blue screened with VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR. That was just in Windows doing some basic web browsing. It was the same NVIDIA driver files again.

Contrary to my previous posts, I now think this is a driver rather than hardware issue.

This is reinforced by having directly seen the NVIDIA GPU chip and circuitry on the main motherboard. It all still looked new with no burn marks, bends or cracks on the chip or surrounding boards.

If you search on the Microsoft Community site for VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR you'll see most replies from staff suggest this is caused by a broken NVIDIA driver with instructions to re-install those drivers. I also noted several replies from customers whose problem went away after a BIOS update from the laptop manufacturer such as ASUS (it's not only Dell laptops!).

I've already been through the DDU steps to strip off the NVIDIA driver and re-install the Dell supplied version. Also tried the same with the NVIDIA direct drivers. It didn’t fix anything.

I do now believe that 471.35 NVIDIA driver from Dell really could do with an update. It's a long way behind the main release of 512.59 for this card. There have been a lot of Windows updates since last year and we all know how they can interfere with your system and/or drivers!

It could also be the case that Dell may need to provide a BIOS update to help resolve these issues. Given the number of posts I've read where customer's laptops got magically fixed (from this particular NVIDIA driver related blue screen) I really do hope Dell can have a look into this for us.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Well, after having the NVIDIA v462.31 drivers on for a day and just using Chrome web browser and basic Windows tasks things seemed ok until I shutdown. Got a VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR blue screen then...

The following day I re-installed the Dell supplied v471.35 Geforce drivers, being careful to do a Clean install. I was going to un-tick the Geforce Experience option but that Dell installer didn't includ it anyway. Initially all seemed ok, I managed to open Steam and GOG Windows clients but as soon as I tried Epic Games I got the VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR blue screen again.

I had another sift through the Dell forums and I've come to the conclusion that this is not a software issue, but rather the GTX 1050 is dying. As its soldered onto the XPS motherboard there is nothing I can do about this. I've gone into the Device Manager and disabled the GTX 1050 completely. 

Today I've been running the XPS all day just on the Intel HD 630 GPU. No blue screens so far and that's after opening all clients for Steam, GOG, Origin, Battle.net and Uplay and leaving them running in the background (have't tried Epic Games yet). I've been using Chrome for web browsing, email and YouTube videos. I'm typing this on the XPS too.

Very sad to see the end of any gaming on this XPS. After my main gaming PC died before Christmas I was still able to play Skyrim and Xcom 2 for a few months on this laptop. Guess I'll just be using it for the basics now. Feel pretty bad now having spent over £2000 on it originally, it was meant for for software development (32GB RAM, 4K Screen, 1TB SSD) but I used it for all sorts over the years. Just feels wrong that there is no way to fix this issue

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

This is what the most recent mini dump file looks like (courtesy of WinDbg app from the Microsoft Store).

DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE (9f)
A driver has failed to complete a power IRP within a specific time.
Arguments:
Arg1: 0000000000000003, A device object has been blocking an IRP for too long a time
Arg2: ffffd18f80e4b060, Physical Device Object of the stack
Arg3: ffffd00c58c3f750, nt!TRIAGE_9F_POWER on Win7 and higher, otherwise the Functional Device Object of the stack
Arg4: ffffd18f9875b010, The blocked IRP

Debugging Details:
------------------

Unable to load image \SystemRoot\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\nvdm.inf_amd64_3349a8117b680632\nvlddmkm.sys, Win32 error 0n2
*** WARNING: Unable to verify timestamp for nvlddmkm.sys
Implicit thread is now ffffd18f`9af3e040
*** WARNING: Unable to verify checksum for win32k.sys

KEY_VALUES_STRING: 1

Key  : Analysis.CPU.mSec
    Value: 5046

Key  : Analysis.DebugAnalysisManager
    Value: Create

Key  : Analysis.Elapsed.mSec
    Value: 11893

Key  : Analysis.Init.CPU.mSec
    Value: 546

Key  : Analysis.Init.Elapsed.mSec
    Value: 13338

Key  : Analysis.Memory.CommitPeak.Mb
    Value: 113

Key  : WER.OS.Branch
    Value: vb_release

Key  : WER.OS.Timestamp
    Value: 2019-12-06T14:06:00Z

Key  : WER.OS.Version
    Value: 10.0.19041.1

FILE_IN_CAB:  050722-13093-01.dmp

BUGCHECK_CODE:  9f

BUGCHECK_P1: 3

BUGCHECK_P2: ffffd18f80e4b060

BUGCHECK_P3: ffffd00c58c3f750

BUGCHECK_P4: ffffd18f9875b010

DRVPOWERSTATE_SUBCODE:  3

FAULTING_THREAD:  ffffd18f9af3e040

BLACKBOXBSD: 1 (!blackboxbsd)

BLACKBOXNTFS: 1 (!blackboxntfs)

BLACKBOXPNP: 1 (!blackboxpnp)

BLACKBOXWINLOGON: 1

CUSTOMER_CRASH_COUNT:  1

PROCESS_NAME:  System

STACK_TEXT: 
ffffd00c`5f0e7278 fffff806`341fafae     : 00000000`00000000 ffffd18f`0000000b 00000000`00000000 fffff806`33a8188a : nvlddmkm+0x7fb88a
ffffd00c`5f0e7280 00000000`00000000     : ffffd18f`0000000b 00000000`00000000 fffff806`33a8188a 00000000`00000001 : nvlddmkm+0x7fafae

SYMBOL_NAME:  nvlddmkm+7fb88a

MODULE_NAME: nvlddmkm

IMAGE_NAME:  nvlddmkm.sys

STACK_COMMAND:  .process /r /p 0xffffd18f7fee8100; .thread 0xffffd18f9af3e040 ; kb

BUCKET_ID_FUNC_OFFSET:  7fb88a

FAILURE_BUCKET_ID:  0x9F_3_nvlddmkm!unknown_function

OS_VERSION:  10.0.19041.1

BUILDLAB_STR:  vb_release

OSPLATFORM_TYPE:  x64

OSNAME:  Windows 10

FAILURE_ID_HASH:  {8b257f08-e34e-7c26-3880-084b82f90c48}

Followup:     MachineOwner
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2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Got the Torx T5 driver bit set today, took the casing off the laptop and removed the battery. It did start up again fine afterwards. I did run the Dell BIOS diagnostics again to make sure I hadn't broken anything while doing that and all seemed ok.

Unfortunately, after leaving the XPS for an hour or so (without interacting with it) the same DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE  blue screen error occurred. It also crashed again later on when I was trying to use it.

Well, that eliminates the battery as the cause of the issue...

Since then, I've now used DDU to completely strip out the NVIDIA and INTEL drivers while in safe mode. After rebooting, I re-installed the latest Intel HD 630 graphics drivers as supplied by Dell (27.20.100.9664). Rebooted again, all good.

Device Manager was initially showing the NVIDIA card as an unknown device. I decided to ignore it and see how the Intel HD 630 managed on its own in Windows. Annoyingly, after a while Windows decided to auto-install some older NVIDIA drivers (from Microsoft) and the NVIDIA Control panel (v462.31). These seem to be a bit older than the current Dell release drivers for v471.35.

Interestingly, the Windows installed NVIDIA drivers did not install the GeForce Experience stuff.

I've had the XPS on for a couple of hours since the v462.31 drivers auto-installed and it's not blue screened yet.

Having had another read around the web I have come across the following additional recommendations for eliminating the NVIDIA driver triggered DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE error:

  • Disable Windows Fast Boot
  • Uninstall (or never install) GeForce Experience

I have just disabled Fast Boot, but haven't restarted since doing so anyway. So far I've not installed GeForce Experience.

I might try the laptop for the next few days on this older v462.31 driver. If it seems ok, I'll once again try installed the Dell supplied v471.35 NVIDIA driver but choose not to install GeForce Experience.

 

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

It has recently occurred to me that maybe the aged battery might be triggering the blue screen DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE errors. Even though I have the AC power connected all the time I guess it might be possible that the battery is causing issues.

I just ordered a new mini toolkit with a Torx T5 driver so I can get the casing off this weekend and completely remove the battery. I'll update here again if that helps or not.

With previous laptops, when the battery capacity gets to the point of being useless, I have just removed it and used on AC alone. Fingers crossed... 

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Hello, 

We are many with this problems, i hope DELL and Nvidia resolve rapidly this bug...

Here a person with apparently same bug : 
https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/bsod-video-dxgkrnl-fatal-error-windows-10-dell... 

 

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

I've uploaded my recent Windows mini dumps to a shared OneDrive folder which you can access here:

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AskWgbebxoIHgrFV1P-9v_FL2diHPg?e=Vl2ee8

 

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