14 posts in this topic
Unable to load into Windows via safe or normal mode
Well I have now banged my head against this wall for a week.
Here is the basics of my system, all other parts are standard:
Alienware M17xR4 (delivery date May 2012)
Intel 3720QM processor w/Intel HD 4000 iGPU
AMD 7970m 015.017.000.000.042717 (if I read the right sticker)
Samsung 850 Evo SSD msata 1TB (removed other 2 Mechanical HDD's to simplify troubleshooting
8 GB Ram
Windows 7 64bit service pack 1 - installed fresh not a factory install, manually installed drivers myself (Winupdate last run in Feb 2016, then ran it on May 17, 2016 with a restore point being created before the windows update started, windows failure May 19, 2016 approx 10pm local time for me)
System Bios: A12
No overclocking attempted, ever. All parts are running at system spec settings
AMD are Leshcat drivers 15.7 WHQL Unifl.
IntelRST 11.x - version required with
Dell drivers for Alienware OSD, Respawn, and other related software, all drivers where possible were most current on site or by maker of product, i.e. Intel Management Interface)
While I was playing a game a week ago, the computer froze, no mouse movements, alt-f4 would not close the program, no keyboard response. It was typical as this game has issues with the switchable graphics and only sees the Intel HD4000, even though in the AMD CCC I set it Max Perform (main reason for running Leshcast drivers since Dell and AMD had old versions and/or drivers that were having issues or had the CCC lock some programs into one performance category or another and user couldn't change).
Inital Action Taken:
So when I rebooted nothing showed up. So I did my normal routine, windows recovery environment off Windows 7 Sp1 64bit retail disc. Nothing happened. sfc /scannow wouldn't run, chkdsk with the various / settings found nothing. I thought this was strange never had this issue before. So I figure well lets go into safe mode and find out what is going on. It just went to a blank screen with a mouse cursor I could move but no shortcut keys brought anything but sticky keys up.
After spending hours trying different things, I started to get the 0x07b error. So I did something I don't like, system restore. The only restore point I had was just before a Windows Update was done. Now everything started to go wrong. I would find one solution, but it would not work.
I deleted the prefetch directory and removed the Panther directory, in hopes of resetting the prefetch setup.
Trying to learn how to put back together the Windows Boot Manager/BCD. I can't confirm if the BCD has been configured in the registry or not since I am only able to load the 5 hive keys in the c:\windows\system32\config and the date on the registry backups were almost 2 hours after the problems started, so they have been of little use.
No additional restore points, just the one that I already tried and of course that leaves me with nothing.
Reading to many forums
Some of the Solutions attempted:
rename amd drivers and oem file
safe mode w/networking
windows system repair x3
sfc /scannow - won't allow
rebuilt the bcd, uefi partition correctly labeled
adjust entries in reg to remove amd/ati (but made backups before deletion of the keys)
removed all drives but the SSD and no usb devices
ran Norton Tool (ISO) for scanning for viruses/malware - results clean as a whistle (and that was with SSD + 2 HDD).
I have seen about 5 different errors show up in the Windows RE, but they change frequently, I get the Boot Status Indicates that the OS booted Successfully.
I even put in an older clone of this computer, it was from around August 2015. It got into Windows normal mode. I looked around in the SSD for some sort of errors, bad files, etc. Then I made the mistake of seeing if I could boot again into Normal mode on this clone. Opps! Now it won't boot. I can off and on get into safe mode on the clone (not the ssd).
Finally it went to the black screen with mouse cursor. I gave up and removed it as it obviously wasn't of much use now.
The Alienware model physical installation location of the Msata part is not at all easy to get too, as it all but requires a system tear down almost down to just the frame holding the motherboard.
When I had access to safe mode/normal (fyi, I do not have either ways to access Windows) I had Samsung Magician 4.7 software check the status of the SSD and no issues.
A new issues that started to appear was in the bios of the laptop. It no longer called the discrete graphics AMD 7970m and Intel HD 4000, now calls them ATI gfx and Ivy Bridge, respectively.
I eventually got Windows RE command Bootrec /scanos to say there was a windows install. Now it says there isn't, so it sounds like the BCD/UEFI Boot manager/etc is again wrong.
Where am I now on this problem:
I just don't know what else to do. I want to try and avoid a reinstall as it can take a long time with all the software and *cough* games I install. Didn't bother contacting alienware as it is really Dell support and someone reading a script that tells them to have me reinstall immediately, so pointless.
I can use the help at this point. I have way too many websites/forums, etc. bookmarked it could take years to clear all of them. So I feel I have reached that point that this problem is beyond my knowledge or expertise or lack their of.
UPDATE: MAY 28, 2016, Sat, 10pm, as noted below I removed the GPU to verify it wasn't the 7970m, while out I think I came across the sticker that shows the bios version of the video card, it was the only sticker that had a proper looking vbios, 015.017.000.000.042717
AW 14 mSATA or SSD?
Sorry if this is very noob but I'm getting conflicting answers to this:
I want to upgrade my AW 14 HD and want to go with SSD as the primary boot. What's the difference if I replace my HDD with an SSD vs. adding an mSATA? Is mSATA faster booting?
What I plan to do is leave the HDD as a storage only device and use either SSD or mSATA as the boot/OS. Which is better for that? And would there be any benefit to having both mSATA and SSD (other than capacity)? TIA
What parts for eGPU + eSSD + Optimus setup?
I decided to build eGPU for my late 2013 13" MBPr 11,1 but got lost in the details for the planned configuration. I after the following:
Nvidia 970 or 980 GPU external SSD drive for Windows 8.1 and the games a case that can fit both GPU and SSD
The questions I'm not sure about:
Is it possible to install Windows on the external SSD and daisy chain it on the same TB cable as the eGPU? Can I use the MacBook's LCD with Optimus & Win 8.1 or Win 10? Which eGPU case and GPU brand would you recommend for the easiest installation? I wouldn't custom build the external case, just buy the one that works.
I hope I can get the information I need and I hope it's doable for the average human being. :-)
Cannot boot from SSD (Alienware 15)
Forgive me for any spelling mistakes but I have not slept for about 6 days now trying to get this to work and the men in white coats will be picking me up soon.
I bought an Alienware 15 with 1GB HDD and 1GB SSD (PM951 NVMe Samsung 1024GB). For reasons that can only be attributed to criminal insanity the PC was delivered with the OS on the HDD and a blank SSD.
I have now spent the last 5 days trying to install Win10 on the SSD (clean install from Win ISO file on USB). It kept failing for all sorts of reasons but I finally managed to use diskpart to set a combination of disk format and partitions that Win was happy with. The installation now goes all the way through until the restart. This is where my problems start.
For reasons I cannot understand, it simply refuses to boot from the SSD. If I leave the USB stick in, the installation starts all over again, if I take it out I get "Checking media presence" and then "No bootable devices" (I have physically disconnected the HDD).
The SSD is showing in the BIOS as "M.2 SSD-1 PM951 NVMe Samsung 1024GB". If I run the Win installer and then uses Shift+F10 I can also access the SSD as drive C and see that there are Win files on it. But I cannot get the BIOS to boot to the SSD. I have tried all sorts of combinations now of Legacy and UEFI with and without Secure Boot and/or Load Legacy Option Rom. I have installed everything with the SATA set to both RAID and to ACHI. I have kissed the machine, I have punished it, I have asked for forgiveness and given it flowers and chocolate. And still the bastard will not boot to SSD.
I just cannot understand how it can show in BIOS and I can see the files on the drive from command line, but I cannot get it to boot. Please, please help me. I am on the brink and the only thing that has kept me alive is that I am on the ground floor and thus jumping from the balcony only looks silly, really.
Ark: Survival Evolved Performance Test on Xbox One
Digital Foundry re-tested Ark: Survival Evolved on an Xbox One after the developer made some performance improvements and unfortunately the results are still less than spectacular. This isn't really much of a surprise as the game has always performed pretty poorly even on powerful PCs such as my own Titan X setup. If you've never heard of Ark: Survival Evolved before, it is an open world sandbox game that takes place on an island full of dinosaurs where you are free to gather resources, build bases, tame dinosaurs and attack other player built bases. In concept it is similar to other open world games like Rust but this game just runs a lot worse.
You can watch Digital Foundry's video review below:
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