M17xR3 clean install SSD instructions and recommendations

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by jywang, Mar 16, 2011.

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  1. jywang

    jywang Notebook Evangelist

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    I've seen a few posts about clean installs and how it pertains to the SSD so I thought I would post a set of instructions I originally wrote back in Jan when I received my original R3 with 3D but decided not to post because BatBoy already has a nice clean install thread. BatBoy, if you want to merge and close this thread i will not be offended.



    My fresh install instructions for an SSD:

    1) Install SSD in place of HD that came with computer. You won't be able to restore from your Alien Respawn DVDs since it won't restore to a smaller harddrive. So, you are forced to do a clean install of Windows 7. I don't recommend moving the original HD to the secondary harddrive position unless you plan to wipe it completely assuming you've created your restore discs. Personally I believe it is best to use a new hard drive so that you can easily swap back to the Dell drive if you have any warranty issues to deal with. I installed a 500GB Momentus XT as a secondary drive.

    2) Hit F2 at boot to enter BIOS SETUP. Choose between RAID or AHCI for the mode. I had to leave it running on RAID while others (Mandrake) had to use AHCI. I'm not actually sure what the difference is since although I'm using the RAID mode, I'm not using Intel RST drivers. (My recommendation is to try AHCI and if get BSOD errors, then switch to RAID and start over.)

    UPDATE: I'VE READ THE INTEL ACTUALLY RECOMMENDS USING RAID over AHCI. PLEASE GOOGLE YOURSELF TO DECIDE.

    3) Power Off to make sure the BIOS change took effect. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!

    4) Reboot with Windows 7 install disc.

    5) Delete any existing partitions if they exist on your SSD. When all are deleted, then select the disk you want to use and click "Next".

    6) After Windows 7 is installed and your system has rebooted, then you should do the following immediately to optimize for SSD:

    a) Rename DVD/Bluray from D: to E: in Computer Management
    b) Create a partition for secondary HD as D: (you may need to reformat if you reused the Dell hard drive)
    c) Disable hibernation by running CMD with administrative privileges and typing "POWERCFG /HIBERNATE OFF". SSDs boot fast so there is no need to ever hibernate.
    d) Move the pagefile from C: to D:. Open System Properties and click "Advanced". Then click Settings.... Then click Advanced again. Click "Change..." under Virtual Memory. Select C:, then No page file, then Set. Select D:, then System manage size, then Set.
    e) Reboot. Then double check to see if only about 9GB is used in your SSD. If you are using more than this, then you probably didn't disable hibernate or move your pagefile off the SSD.
    f) Turn off System Protection for C:. System Protection uses too much space and is not an effective way of backing up and will use up your precious SSD space.

    7) Install drivers in the following order:

    a) Intel Chipset HM67 (R289402)
    b) Intel Management Engine (R290940)
    c) Realtek PCIE (R289405)
    d) Audio (R289922)
    e) Synaptics (R289406)
    f) Gigabit network (R289538)
    g) Bluetooth (R289410)
    h) Wifi (R289412)
    i) Video (3D 460M should install R291227 and R291236. ATI should install ATI drivers then IGP drivers while in IGP mode - R289926 and R291069.)
    j) Alienware OSD (R289920)
    k) USb 3.0 (R289408)
    l) Freefall Sensor (R289409)

    8) Do Windows Update now and make sure you check repeatedly until all updates are installed. This will install .NET 4.0 which is required for Alienware Command Center.

    9) Installed Alienware Command Center (R290173)

    10) Disabled Freefall Sensor since you have an SSD. Open MSCONFIG and go to Start Up tab and uncheck "FF_Protection Application".

    11) I don't recommend using the newer Audio driver at this time because I found it to disable the IDT Audio control panel (R298411).

    Last note: the above instructions for the 3D caused BSOD due to the Dell NVidia 460M driver. We never could figure out why Dell's driver caused BSOD on a clean install but not their original system image. Installing a modded driver fixed the BSOD issue. Search Mandrake's threads for the instructions if you run into BSOD with a clean install on a M17xR3 3D.
     
  2. BatBoy

    BatBoy Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Not at all... NBR encourages all of you to contribute to the forum/community... thanks for sharing your process. :)
     
  3. mny03

    mny03 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I put SSD on my new M17xR3 and do a clean install of Windows7. After the clean install, I use the Resource DVD to install the drivers. But I cannot install the Wireless Driver, for some reason when it extract the driver the application is missing, I tried to download the driver on dell website and its still the same. Does anyone have this issue before or just me?

    Thanks..
     
  4. dreborn

    dreborn Notebook Geek

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    this is great and detailed. thanks for putting this together.

    just curious, has anything changed or is this still pretty current?

    thanks again!
     
  5. Rikjaamz

    Rikjaamz Newbie

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    AWESOME!!!!!!!!! I have been fighting my 128gb Samsung SSD since the end of March, lock ups, bluescreens you name it. It's been a horrible nightmare but the speed of the thing made it impossible to just drop and use the 320gb stock drive from Alienware. Since following this post it runs rock solid, thanks very much!
     
  6. RumpYak

    RumpYak Notebook Enthusiast

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    I believe it's because their system image didn't load the video drivers until after Windows 7 SP1 was installed. I tried it on mine and got a BSOD, so I restored using a restore point, uninstalled the driver using Driver Sweeper, then installed SP1 and the driver went on just fine after that, no blue screen.
     
  7. dreborn

    dreborn Notebook Geek

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    should i download the latest drivers of the drivers jywang has listed or use the actual driver versions he lists?

    thanks
     
  8. shermantank92

    shermantank92 Notebook Geek

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    I would also like to know this
     
  9. dirtrider

    dirtrider Notebook Enthusiast

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    Anyone installed an intel 510 ssd? Did you use RAID or AHCI mode? I just found this thread after I started my fresh install. I did not change anything and it was in RAID mode. I took out the oem 320gb and put in an intel 510 120gb ssd in its place and then a 750gb in the secondary. Upon changing the setting in the bios (post install) the OS would not boot. Not sure if I should reinstall on ahci mode to begin with???

    EDIT: I just went ahead with the reinstall. Looks like you can registry hack it but why bother when the install is so fast and I have nothing else installed yet. Works fine after a reinstall.

    EDIT2: So I just went back to raid mode. ahci was giving me frequent bsod. Error was irql_not_less_or_equal. Going back to to raid mode worked and I applied updated drivers from the m18x mentioned here http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-m17x/580144-m17xr3-owners-driver-updates-i-suggest-using-05-20-a.html. What a pain. 3 installs in 1 day :). Standard fare with high end machines I guess. Not near as bad as my media center build and all those raid controllers I went through...
     
  10. RumpYak

    RumpYak Notebook Enthusiast

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    I found out why. You didn't have SP1 for Windows 7 installed yet. Install SP1, then pick up this list from the 460M driver on.
     
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