Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dell/AW post fix for Dead AlienFX Lights

Dell/Alienware posted this today on the Alienware KB:

The lights on the AlienFx keyboard turn off after a Command Center update or a Windows clean install.

A registry fix has been implemented in order to fix this issue. This applies to x86 and x64 Operating Systems.

1. Unzip the file with registry fix file.
2. Run the registry fix file.
3. Restart the computer.
4. After Windows loads up, open the AlienFx software.
5. Close the current theme for the lighting system.
6. Create a new theme. Apply the settings and exit.

This applies to the M17x as well as the following systems:

Alienware M15X
Area-51 m15x
Area-51 m17x


Monday, October 26, 2009

Dell releases 186.64 NVIDIA display driver (Vista/W7)

Thanks to Douglaz over @ NBR for the heads-up on this release.

Today Dell posted the 186.64 WHQL display driver. This driver is a WHQL certified driver and can be used with Vista and Windows 7. This driver also includes the current version of PhysX. As always, when installing a new display driver, be sure to install with Hybrid Graphics and Integrated Graphics enabled in the BIOS. I have added this driver release to the Current Vista / Windows 7 driver pages.
Note: My recommendation for install is as follows:

1. If you have Hybrid Graphics / Integrated Graphics disabled in the BIOS, reboot and enable. If they are already enabled skip to next step.

2. Uninstall the NVIDIA Display Driver ONLY using the Programs & Features Control Panel. Reboot the system.

3. Once you are back at your desktop, reboot into Safe Mode using the F8 Key @ BIOS screen). (The reason why we boot into the desktop and then exit/reboot again is that the OS needs to install the Standard VGA Adapter driver for each GPU - just to keep the install clean).

4. Once in Safe Mode, run DriverSweeper and scan for NVIDIA DISPLAY files ONLY. Remove any found. Next, open CCleaner's Registry Scan Module. Fix any left over registry entries from the Display Driver uninstall. Once complete, reboot normally.

5. Once you are back at the desktop, run the 186.64 installer. Once install is complete, reboot.
Direct Download Link

I am currently testing all compatibility aspects (wake from sleep, AC to Battery Hybrid functionality, etc.) of this driver and will add my findings later. So far, no issues and the driver is very stable with the same low thermals.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dell posts M17x AMD Mobility Radeon HD 4870 Driver (v8.635)

Today Dell finally posted the AMD Mobility Radeon HD 4870 Driver v8.635 (WHQL) for the M17x. This driver is compatible with Vista 64 / Win 7.


I have updated the Current Driver pages with this new addition.

Have fun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Restoring the AlienRespawn Option after updating to Win7

Dell released an update today which will update the MBR to restore the "Press F10 for AlienRespawn v2.0 System Recovery" message while booting up the system after installing Win7.
This patch is for Windows 7 upgraded from Vista only. Please run this patch while on the Windows 7 OS (after Vista upgrade). Once the confirmation dialog box appears, restart your system.
Download Link

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Win7 Drivers Updated!

Just came across a few updates for Win7 and the M17x. Dell posted the following:

- NVIDIA MCP79 Chipset v2.05
- Dell/AW Broadcom 1510 Wireless v5.30.21.0
- Synaptics v13.2.4.12
- ITE IT8512 CIR Receiver v5.1.0.1

*Also posted (for another system but will work with the M17x):
- Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth Module v6.2.0.9600 A01, Last Updated: 10/15/2009

I have updated the Win7 Driver page with these new versions. Currently, we are still waiting for an official Win7 Display driver and Webcam driver. I'm guessing we should see these posted shortly so check back often.

Side note: The Broadcom Wireless driver includes support for Vista 64 so I have updated the Vista Driver page as well.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Command Center v2.0.10 released (Win7/Vista)

Thanks to Scook9 over @ NBR for the heads-up on this one. Dell posted v2.0.10 of Command Center today. Fixes include:
- Fix: Power State options work ok when Fn+F11 is Enabled.
- Fix: For M15x new LED mapping for the Keyboard zone
- Fix: Command Center title is now visible after Intro animation.
You can grab it directly HERE.

This version of Command Center uses a different .xml structure for the AlienFX themes. Themes created with the previous version will not load.

Also, some users (including me - lol) have encountered issues with updating to this new version of Command Center. Here is the process which I used to properly install and resolve the issues:
1. Uninstall Command Center via the Programs & Features Control Panel.
2. Reboot
3. Run CCleaner's registry module and clean out all left over traces.
4. Reboot
5. Run the installer for the new command center. Now here is the important part (and dont ask me why this is, but it is and its how I was able to resolve the error), SHUTDOWN the system after the installer completes - instead of restarting, SHUTDOWN.
6. Power up and everything should be fine.
I have updated both the Vista and Win7 Driver lists. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

M17x Win7 Drivers

As we are fast approaching the release of Windows 7, I have added and will maintain a list of Win7 drivers for the M17x. All drivers listed will be tested and verified prior to posting. I have also updated the Important Links section (side bar, top right). More to follow as they are released.

Current Win7 64 Drivers

Current Win7 64 Drivers

Listed here you will find the most current available drivers for use with the Alienware M17x and Windows 7 64-bit. Some drivers were released by Dell for other systems, however they are applicable for the listed device used in the M17x.

Drivers appear in the order in which they should be installed as recommended by Alienware.

Alienware M17X System BIOS vA03, Last Updated 08/28/2009

Chipset Driver
NVIDIA MCP79 Chipset v2.05 A00, Last Updated: 10/14/2009

On-Screen Display Manager Software
Alienware OSD
v2.21 A03, Last Updated: 09/18/2009

Geforce 9400M G/260M/280M FORCEWARE DRIVERS
Dell Released Display Driver
v186.64(WHQL) A02, Last Updated: 10/26/2009
Note: This Dell installer will also install PhysX if you don't have it installed. To grab the current version of PhysX, see directly below.

*DPC Fix Beta NV Display Driver (VIEW 'Additional Information' section)
v196.86, Last Updated: 03/04/2010

SLI Profile Updater - MODDED
Last Updated: 03/22/2010

NVIDIA PhysX System Software
v9.09.1112, Last Updated: 12/09/2009
Note: DO NOT uninstall previous version. NVIDIA PhysX software should be installed over your existing install.

ATI/AMD Mobility Radeon HD 4870 Driver
v8.68.2-091125a1-092358C-Dell.2 A00, Last Updated: 01/20/2010

Wireless Network Card
Dell Broadcom Multi-Device Wireless Card Driver (Dell/AW 1510)
v5.30.21.0 A02, Last Updated: 10/14/2009

Audio Adapter
IDT 92HD73C1 Audio Chipset
v6.10.0.6261 A01, Last Updated: 01/20/2010

Bluetooth Module
Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth Module
v6.2.0.9603, A02-1, Last Updated: 01/19/2010
NOTE: It is not necessary to uninstall your current Bluetooth driver prior to update. Just download the installer and run it.

Touchpad Driver
Synaptics TouchPad
v14.0.19 A00, Last Updated: 02/05/2010

Media Card Driver
RICOH R5C833 Card Reader
v3.62.02 A01, Last Updated: 10/14/2009

Infrared Receiver Driver
ITE IT8512 CIR Receiver
v5.1.0.1 A00, Last Updated: 10/14/2009

Alienware Command Center
v2.0.10 A03, Last Updated: 10/09/2009

Addtional Downloads

Alienware Respawn V 2.0 MBR Patch
Alienware Respawn V 2.0 v1.00 A00, Last Updated: 10/20/2009
Note: This patch must be run after upgrading to Windows 7 from Vista. This will restore the AlienRespawn Master Boot Record and enabled the "Press F10 for AlienRespawn v2.0 System Recovery" message while booting up the system. This patch is for Windows 7 upgraded from Vista only. Please run this patch while on the Windows 7 OS (after Vista upgrade). Once the confirmation dialog box appears, restart your system.

Alienware 32-Bit Diagnostics
vA1354A1, Last Updated: 06/15/2009
Install to a USB Flash Drive for quick booting into the Dell Diagnostic Suite designed for the M17x. Much more detailed than the basic tests offered via the BIOS Diag Boot option.

Dell Branded Video Chat
Dell Video Chat by SightSpeed

NOTE: If you need the AverMedia TV Tuner driver check the M17x support page @ I am choosing not to list it here since I don't have it and cannot test each updated driver released by Dell.

RICOH R5C833 Driver Updated to v3.62.02 (Media Card Reader)

Today Dell posted an update for the RICOH R5C833 chipset. This driver update is for Vista/Win7. Originally posted for the Inspiron 1318, it is 100% compatible with the M17x since they use the same RICOH chipset (R5C833).

I have updated the Driver page with this new version. You can grab it directly HERE.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

M17x COM SURROGATE with Futuremark bench apps

Earlier this week I decided to run some benches using 3DMark06 and Vantage. When I launched the apps I received a wonderful error message stating COM SURROGATE had failed.

After coming across a few suggestions via Google to remove any Nero apps, I decided to uninstall the Nero Suite installed by Dell/AW. Process used:

1. Uninstalled the Nero package which came with the M17x
2. Ran CCleaner's Registry clean and removed all entries found from the uninstall
3. Downloaded and ran Nero's General Clean Tool which found leftover files from the uninstall
4. Rebooted
5. Installed 3DMark06 and Vantage

This corrected the issue. As to why I was able to run 3DMark06 and Vantage previously *with* Nero installed I really have no clue.

Konig over @ NBR mentioned he was able to work-around this on his m15x by doing the following:
Fixed it by renaming and to and to NeVideoHD.bak respectively. You can find these files in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Ahead\DSFilter\
Either way, it certainly appears there is an incompatibility with Futuremark's SysInfo and Nero. Something may have changed with the MS Windows updates which were released on 9/8 - I have no idea. Oh well.