Help! Did Windows 8 brick my machine?

Discussion in 'Alienware M15x' started by Jdpurvis, Nov 18, 2012.

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  1. Jdpurvis

    Jdpurvis Notebook Evangelist

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    So I thought I would try Windows 8. I created a full disk backup and ran the setup for upgrade. I uninstalled a couple of small incompatible programs - everything else looked like it could be updated. I disabled my antivirus software and ran the setup from my desktop. It seemed to complete - multiple reboots, including what appeared to be final setup. It shut down and tried to restart and simply stopped at the end of POST ("Press F2 to enter setup") Only it wouldn't enter setup. So, I thought maybe the extra memory was an issue. I pulled one 8GM stick - no go. Then I pulled the coin cell and tried again. Alien head appears, with F2 Bios Setup and F12 Boot menu. Neither works.:mad:

    I think I still have my two 4GB sticks - I will try that, but am not optimistic. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Joe

    I tried a couple of 2GB sticks - no joy. I may be really stuck - if I can't get into the bios to change boot options, and I can't get to the boot menue, then I can't restore from my backup. I will try posting on the Microsoft Win 8 forum, but I doubt they will know a way out of this one.

    Grrrrr
     
  2. .phobos.

    .phobos. Notebook Enthusiast

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    maybe your coin cell is empty
     
  3. Jdpurvis

    Jdpurvis Notebook Evangelist

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    Well, it's certainoly something I can try - I will see if I can get one locally.

    Joe

    I bought a new battery, pulled the old one and measured voltage - exactly the same. I tried booting without battery - same result. I pulled the hard disk, and now I can get into bios. Disk was set for AHCI. Tried ATA - no difference. Rearranged boot order so I can boot with another disk. I can put the disk as an external disk on another machine and extract the WIN 8 files - but I don't know how to creat a Win 8 boot disk. Clearly Win 8 did something evil to my expensive 512 GB SSD. It's hard to resist the thought that I could be cruising along in Win 7

    If anyone has any bright ideas, please let me know

    Joe
     
  4. ssj92

    ssj92 Neutron Star

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    First do a power drain. Remove the AC adapter and battery from the computer(Regular battery). After that, hold the alien head power button for 20 seconds. Release the alien head and proceed with connecting the battery again and the ac adapter. Try using a Windows 7 DVD if you have one to install windows 7. Then you can try upgrading that fresh version of windows 7 to 8.
     
  5. Jdpurvis

    Jdpurvis Notebook Evangelist

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    The first sentence is exactly what I did when this first happened. No joy - and no ability to get into BIOS setup. I then tried doing the power drain plus removing the CMOS (coin) battery. Still no access to BIOS setup. I checked voltage on CMOS battery - normal. I tried without reinserting the CMOS battery - no access to setup. I pulled the hard disk (SSD). Then I could get into setup. I did change boot options (CD/DVD, USB, Hard disk). I tried both AHCI and ATA for the disk. In all cases, if the disk is in the machine, it hangs, and won't go into setup normally. Once, this morning, after a long wait, it did go into setup - the bios doesn't recognize the SSD at all. I will try booting from a Win 7 DVD when I get home, but this seems unlikely to work if the BIOS doesn't see the disk at all.

    As noted above, when in an external drive connected to another machine, it is either invisible (via USB, even in Disk Management) or bolcks booting of the other machine (as well as access to the other machine's bios setup) when connected via eSATA.

    I think this is a result of the new way WIN 8 deals with the BIOS, especially with UEFI. It would have been fine if the install said my machine or bios was incompatible. The present situation is not acceptable.

    I will check with the Crucial folks to see if anyone knows how to recover the drive.

    Thanks, Microsoft.

    J

    If I could access the drive, I could format it and restore my previous Win 7 setup.
     
  6. ssj92

    ssj92 Neutron Star

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    It sounds like the drive is malfunctioning. You might have to rma it.
     
  7. Jdpurvis

    Jdpurvis Notebook Evangelist

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    Well, you may be at least partly right. On the Crucial forum, people have reported cases where the drive disappears. They think it could be partly related to a recent firmware update. They suggested some tricks to try to get the drive to come back, and, so far, they seem to have worked. It does seem suspicious that it happened in the midst of the Win 8 installation. However, when the drive came back, the install finished.

    Win 8 seems to be running - better now that I removed my antivirus software (I disabled it for the install). It also appears that Win 8 did not like my 16 GB of ram - since the bios didn't see it, I couldn't get it to run in dual channel mode. I am down to 6GB, and will get another 4 GB stick to go to 8 and leave it there.

    Haven't decided if I like Win 8. - will see once I figure out where everything went.

    Joe
     
  8. ssj92

    ssj92 Neutron Star

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    No matter what ram brand, speed, or os, the ram in an m15x if above 8gb will read 0gb in the bios. Everyone here that runs 16gb of ram in an m15x can confirm this. In Windows it should show all 16gb regardless of the bios reading.
     
  9. Jdpurvis

    Jdpurvis Notebook Evangelist

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    I was well aware that the Bios showed 0gb - it always did for me in Win 7 (as I mentioned in my note) , and it didn't seem to make any difference. I do not remember looking with HWInfo to see if it ran in dual channel mode. At this point I have not made any measurements - mainly because I was trying to get my SSD to work consistently. I can confirm that, with 8gb loaded, both the bios and HWInfo agree the ram is running in dual channel mode. Although it seems to me that Win8 is better with the 8gb, that could well be just an illusion. Some time when things settle down, I will put the two 8gb sticks back in and see if they run in dual channel mode. If they do not, then that would be a reason to only go to 16 gb if you really need all that ram.

    Joe
     
  10. ssj92

    ssj92 Neutron Star

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    It should run in dual channel mode without a problem. If it doesn't and you stay with 8gb, you should be fine. I have 8GB in mine and haven't saturated it yet. I have yet to even get close to 16gb on my desktop and i even run vmware on that machine so most people should be fine with 8gb.
     
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