Intel ME completely offline

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by Mofoist, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Mofoist

    Mofoist Notebook Geek

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    Intel ME is not showing in device manager at all. 1.4 BIOS broke mine as well. I've tried to flash it using the techniques including hunter's in the other threads but it is completely unresponsive even after the CLRP trick. MEinfo doesn't even work. I have reinstalled chipset drivers several times and drivers as well.

    I've gone through this thread http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...-17-r3-or-possibly-other-bgas-as-well.813803/ and noticed at the end there are a few leftovers that are in the same boat as me.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    UPDATE: We've found the fix and the process to apply it. @Basherwalls was kind enough to write out a step by step for the 15R2/17R3 after we fixed his. Some of the links may be outdated by the time you read this. For current tools/utilities you'll need visit https://www.win-raid.com/t596f39-Intel-Management-Engine-Drivers-Firmware-amp-System-Tools.html or just ask here I guess. Here is his copy/pasted guide as follows:

    This is a guide to finally resolve the butchered Bios 1.4.4 that Dell Released to the public for the Alienware Laptops
    I have an I7 R2 but I have heard its affected many different Laptops in the R2 and R3 range - Maybe more.
    In short the Bios Update, corrupted the Intel ME part of the Bios and no matter what Official Bios you downgrade to the laptop cannot recover the Intel ME part of the Laptop - This means the main thing you will notice on your laptop is the Laptop will no longer shut down (the LED lights will stay on and only a hard press on the power will turn off the Laptop). This issue is also found when waking from sleep.


    TAKE NOTE - IF YOU TRY TO DO THIS AND BREAK YOUR LAPTOP THEN ITS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!
    I CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT THIS WILL WORK FOR EVERYONE BUT ITS YOUR CALL IF YOU WANT TO TRY IT.

    That all said, I have done this and its fine - Much thanks to @Mofoist, who really worked this out and he was the first to fix the issue so MUCH, MUCH KUDOS to him - He repaired what Dell cannot and their solution is a new motherboard at nearly a grand cost to you.


    Okay the Guide - here we go (I did mine when on the BIOS 1.3.12 as I had rolled back to the best working BIOS from Dell) It is recommended you revert your BIOS to 1.3.12. It can be accomplished with a thumb drive and the boot menu.

    you will need these downloads -
    https://www.sendspace.com/file/gtcmvd - CH341A_Tools.zip (install the driver first on the 'doctor PC' = the PC you will use to run the CH341A usb programmer on) and use the 1.31 software.

    https://mega.nz/#!CENzmQIC!elS6967PC17_PRrk4-0cCNYcK1ajfXQ6paCIPRU61fc - Intel CSME System Tools v11 r18 .rar

    https://github.com/platomav/MEAnalyzer/releases/download/v1.76.2-r149/ME_Analyzer_v1.76.2_r149.rar - The ME analyser
    https://www.win-raid.com/t832f39-Intel-Engine-Firmware-Repositories.html#msg14585 - The Intel ME Repository you will need to find your Intel ME from this to patch in later.

    You will also need these actual tools - buy good quality ones - cheap = more risk or not working at all - Amazon sell decent ones in uk and USA for about £10/$10 each.

    USB Programmer CH341A Series Burner Chip 24 EEPROM BIOS Writer 25 SPI Flash AE1185
    and
    SOP8 Flash Chip IC Test Clips Socket Adpter Programmer BIOS

    The full info is from this website look under section D2 but you don't need to do every step so the following steps is what I did.
    https://www.win-raid.com/t1658f39-G...-CS-TXE-Regions-with-Data-Initialization.html

    -------------------------------------------

    Watch a youtube video on how to strip your laptop - Just search for your laptop others are available.

    You don't need to take off the heat sink in most cases - I didn't.
    Top tip - Use ziplock bags and a sharpie pen to mark where you took the screws and bag them up.

    Once you have the motherboard out - look for the BIOS Chip - It will be marked something like 25Q128FVSO 1535
    That was my Chip - from that we can see its the 25Q (25 SPI Flash) / 128 (16mByte/128MBit) / FVSO 1535 - I am not sure but I think it says its a bios chip and version. My chip was just below the Cpu area near the memory DDR sockets and using a torch or camera read the chip info first - PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE LITTLE DOT ON THE CORNER OF THE CHIP as you will need this knowledge later.

    You are now ready to go to work -

    1. Clip on the SOP8 clip matching the red wire to the corner where the little dot is on the BIOS chip - ensure its on right using a torch for good lighting and get a good look.
    2. Connect the other end of the SOP8 clip wire to the CH341A USB programmer (into the 25 set up holes as you match from your chip info) and lock down the holder for the USB programmer.
    3. Install the driver for the CH341A on the Doctor PC and then plug in the USB Programmer - If all is good you will see a red led on the USB programmer, you may see a yellow 'run' led but if you don't there's no need to worry yet.
    4. Open the CH341A software (version 1.31) - and click on the 25 SPI FLASH option and choose the 16MByte/128MBit (info from your bios chip) and click detect button - your chip should show up and yellow led should flicker.
    5. If your chip is detected then you are ready to read the BIOS on the Alienware Motherboard. Click on Read and wait, it will take a little bit. Once read you can click on Verify if you wish to be sure - the yellow LED will flash when doing any operation to show its working.
    6. Now you are happy its read the BIOS then you are ready to save it. Click on safe and name it to what you want as a BIN file - I named mine AW13R2.bin and it will safe to the same folder as the USB Programmer.
    7. As a safety net - close the USB Programmer software - unplug the CH341A USB Programmer and plug back in. Open the software again and copy steps 4, 5 and 6 again but this time save the BIOS as BACKUPAW13R2.bin.
    You now have two different copies which should be the same and copy both of these files to a spare usb drive and keep as MASTER spares. If anything goes wrong from here, you can always flash either of these Bin files and be where you started.

    We are now ready to start the cleaning process - Go get a cup of tea/coffee or have a Ciggy Break.

    8. Open the ME Analyzer folder and drop a copy of the AW13R2.bin (BIOS) into the ME Analyzer file it will open the dumped SPI/BIOS image and you will see what major/minor version you need as well as SKU. Press enter to see your info.
    I saw my Bios was the CSE ME / Version 11.8.50.3426 / SKU Consumer LP / File System State should show Initialized
    9. Using the above info look in the Firmware Repository folder and find your Intel ME file - it should match your ME Analyzer info - I chose 11.8.50.3426_CON_LP_C0_NPDM_PRD_RGN.bin (CSE ME match/ Version match/SKU match) and make a copy to your Doctor PC's desktop so you can find it soon. Rename this bin file as ME Region.bin as it will save time later.
    10. From the System Tools folder, go to Flash Image Tool > WIN subfolder and run fit.exe. Drag & drop the dumped SPI/BIOS image you want to clean. Go to "Build > Build Settings", select "No" at the option to "Generate Intermediate Files", leave all other settings intact and click Close.
    11. Go to "File > Save As" and save the configuration xml file, in this case it's named "config.xml". You may get a Secure boot pop up box, just click on OKAY, I did and it worked fine. Afterwards, close the FIT window.
    12. At the FIT folder there should now be a folder named after the inputted file, in this case it's named "AW13R2". Enter "Decomp" subfolder. There should be a number of files there (BIOS Region, Flash Descriptor, OEM Region etc) including a "ME Region.bin" file. Take the previous "ME Region.bin" file you saved at step 9 on the desktop and copy it where the current "ME Region.bin" file is, effectively replacing it.
    13. Run FIT again. From "File > Open" select the saved config.xml file from step 11 and open it.
    14. Click the "Build Image" icon (or "Build > Build Image") and it should complete successfully.
    15. At the FIT folder you should now see a file named "outimage.bin" which is the dumped CSME image with an Engine region which has a Configured DATA section without any unneeded "Initialization" information stored.
    16. Drag the outimage.bin into the ME Analyzer.exe again and press enter - check the info. It should now show the same as before and some details have changed - Main one is File System State is now configured so it should be good to go.
    17. Copy the outimage.bin to the CH341A folder where the programmer software and Original Read Bios is.
    18. Plug in the USB CH341A Programmer into the Doctor PC again and open the 1.31 CH341A Programmer software again (I did mine in admin mode / right click program when opening). Click the 25 SPI Flash and choose the 16/128 again and click detect - should show the chip.

    Now its time for another break - Cuppa, Ciggy, Chocolate, whatever is your pleasure as its the nervous part next!.

    Time to Barry Allen this Bios - Flash time this Mother 'Board'

    19. If the chip is detected then you are ready. Click on Wipe - YES you are wiping the BIOS off that motherboard so ensure you have your Original BIOS safe as you cannot get it back.
    20. Click on Blank - This verifies that the BIOS is now completely wiped and its blank.
    21. Click on open and choose the outimage.bin (your cleaned fixed BIOS)
    22. Now you see the new cleaned, fixed bios in the USB software - Click on WRITE and wait...……
    23. Once complete then click on Verify and wait.
    24. Close the USB software, remove USB Programmer and remove the clip on motherboard.
    25. Rebuild Laptop time - Use the Video and thank me now for those zip lock bags idea!

    All being well you have a repaired Laptop. Start it up and it will take a little while to start, BIOS beeps means something is not connected properly so you may need to strip the laptop again and recheck your connections. You don't need to remove the CMOS battery so you should not have any BIOS Beeps from battery being off.

    26. Press F2 at BIOS screen and check the BIOS set up loads up. Alter any settings you want to alter but I just left mine and exited.
    27. Load up Windows and Install the INTEL ME drivers from the Dell Support website. This is the Driver which would not load before - It will load up now hopefully.
    28. Restart Windows
    29. Right click device manager and check you have no conflicts - If you do you will fix these with a BIOS Update to 1.6.1. Download the 1.6.1 BIOS from Dell support and run it in Windows - Hopefully if your BIOS Clean and Fix is good the Laptop WILL shut down and run the BIOS 1.6.1 update.
    30. BIOS 1.6.1 Update complete and your LAPTOP IS NOW FIXED!
    Device manager should show no issues and you can enjoy shutting down your Alienware Laptop once again.


    I hope I have covered everything here - I did this yesterday so its all still fresh in my mind so I thought I would share for those affected. Sorry its a long post but its worth it.

    FULL RESPECT to @Mofoist who was the person who first fixed his and assisted me with this fix.
    This is the guide that I have shared but I do stress - ITS YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILTY IF YOU TRY THIS AND IF YOU BREAK YOUR LAPTOP ITS ONLY YOUR OWN FAULT. YOU KNOW THE RISKS!!!!

    All being well though, you have a fully updated and working Alienware Laptop once more!

    ENJOY!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
    Vasudev and 0lok like this.
  2. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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  3. Falkentyne

    Falkentyne Notebook Prophet

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    Delete please. Thought this was a MSI post about 'temporarily' disabling the ME corrupting it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
    Vasudev likes this.
  4. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I thought so.
    @Mofoist I don't think your MEI is offline, its just that its staying dormant. Can you post your specs?
     
  5. Mofoist

    Mofoist Notebook Geek

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    Sure it's an Alienware 17r3 with 6700hq.
     
  6. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    So its same config as mine w/ 8GB 980M or 6GB 970M?
     
  7. Mofoist

    Mofoist Notebook Geek

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    Same as you apparently as it 980m.
     
  8. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Can you check in services.msc whether you see Intel HECI or DAL loader?
     
  9. Mofoist

    Mofoist Notebook Geek

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    services.JPG
     
  10. Mofoist

    Mofoist Notebook Geek

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    Plutomaniac over at Win-Raid seems to think it's a corrupted firmware and I'm going to have to do some pinmodding. In way over my head at this point :(
     
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