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    EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?

    TechSecurityNate

      I'm receiving numerous calls within the last week.  I'm trying to troubleshoot the cause(s) but here are the symptoms.  Nothing is consistent, so I'm probably dead in the water, but curious if others are experiencing this issue.

       

      Both scenarios get this far:      Fresh install of WinXP, install EEPC 5.1.9, (don't get me started, lol), reboot, pull users, encrypt drive, reboot...

       

      Scenario 1) User logs into EEPC and the computer hangs on a black screen prior to windows loading.

       

      Scenario 2) Computer hangs with the initial EEPC progress bar at @ 30% and never progresses to EEPC logon.

       

      Known config items:

       

      Dell E6410, Dell E6420, Dell E6520

      Client Custom XP installation attempted vs, Dell Custom XP installation attempted = No noticable difference

      Raid On vs AHCI settings = No noticable difference

       

      Has anyone had similar issues with these models/settings?  If so, can you direct me toward a resolution?

       

      Client with E6420 opened Dell ticket and they claim an internal document with known issues on E6410 and other models, but nothing on E6420.  I cannot find any supporting documentation from McAfee, but the Dell tech said that I must be on 5.2.5 due to the known issues affecting 5.2.4 and older that might also apply to the new model.

       

      I've also been told by Simon of an issue with the AHCI setting on other Dell models.  I can't comprehend why it would ever be set to RAID on when there's only one drive in the system, but apparently this is a default setting for shipped products.

       

      I have confirmed that I am dealing with the 250Gb drives that Dell assured us will NOT be the AF type until end of June.

       

      Message was edited by: TechSecurityNate on 5/3/11 9:36:53 AM EDT
        • 1. Re: EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?

          I don't believe Dell has released a fix for the BIOS problems in these models yet, so as far as I know, the only route forward is to use ACHI mode and 5.2.8 - The problem is especially bad if you're using Seagate Momentus drives in the laptops - they exaxerbate the BIOS issue, and again, ACHI mode is the only solution.

          • 2. Re: EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?
            TechSecurityNate

            Confirmed with a friend that's Dell ProSupport.  There is no official internal docs from Dell, but the new model support group has notes they share amongst themselves that indicate that ACHI needs set AND that you should be 5.2.5 or higher, not sure how they gathered that release though.

            • 3. Re: EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?
              johlee991

              The problem is that Dell does not have a AHCI driver for their newer laptops, not for Windows XP at any rate.  In our environment here, we get loads of new Dell laptops like the 5520s and such that come preinstalled with Windows 7.  We wipe them to put our XP image on them, then sometimes EEPC blows up on them.  When I switched the SATA to AHCI, it BSODs.  Argh...

              • 4. Re: EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?
                TechSecurityNate

                You cannot change that setting after you've already loaded Windows.  This is the cause of the BSOD.  Windows loads different drivers and registry settings dependent on what your BIOS setting is configured to do.  It is suggested that you reimage the machine when changing the setting.  However, if you really want to have some fun, there are a few examples of the various steps to perform in order to change it without a reimage.  It's a lengthy process with a couple reboots, so nothing you can script.

                 

                It appears to be an issue with all xx20 models and like many vendors, I would not expect them to provide legacy drivers anytime soon, if even at all.

                 

                I think the real joke is WHY they are shipping them with RAID ON setting.  From what I could find, RAID ON is identical to AHCI plus added RAID function.  The logic on the setting is that since it SHOULD make no difference with a single drive, they are allowing the user to add an additional drive and enable RAID functionality on the fly.  If it were set to AHCI by default, those users would need to reimage to build a RAID array.  I haven't worked in hardware support for a while, so I've not opened one of these machines, but how long has it been since they offered a secondary drive bay?

                 

                If you have a corperate account with Dell, ordering large volumes of these devices, you can request to have the BIOS setting altered prior to shipping.  If you have a contract for Dell to provide a custom installation media you can have them switch the setting from cmdline during the early stages of the load.  My company is taking BOTH steps and has configured our own load imaging system to make the switch when we use that method.

                • 5. Re: EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?

                  We received new laptops E6420 and after installing safe boot and restarting it, it doesn't boot up. it gives me a black screen, after a few second I get an error that the hard drive is not installed or something like that. while runing it on ATA. if I change it to ACHI safe boot lets me log in but I get a blue screen on the OS. I then change it back to ATA I can see Safe boot login screen when I type the credential it freezes up.

                   

                  I called Dell and told them about this issue. the first tech said it's a know issue and they are workign on it. I called back because I wanted an e-mail confirming what they told me. another tech answer and he told me it was a McAfee issue, that I need it to call them because this is a third party issue. so I told them that I have E6410, E6400, E4310, E4300, D630, D620, ETC. and they work find with safe boot.

                   

                  so at the end they are blaming McAfee. I need HELP!! with this. any one fixed this issue out there??

                  • 6. Re: EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?

                    you need bios version A03 from Dell, and you need to turn RAID off (ACHI mode). Then the bugs that prevent EEPC from working properly will dissapear.

                     

                    If you search in this forum for "6420" you'll find the answers you needed - https://community.mcafee.com/message/189575#189575

                     

                    Message was edited by: SafeBoot on 6/10/11 11:07:21 PM EDT
                    • 7. Re: EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?

                      Hi,  we have exactly the same problem as this and our E6420 and E6320 laptops were shipped with BIOS A04.  So it appears, the latest BIOS version will not fix this issue. 

                       

                      Our image must run in ATA mode, which has worked fine for years.  Changing it to AHCI does allow you to progress past EEPC, but then the OS will not boot, thus the need to run on ATA mode.

                      • 8. Re: EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?
                        Changing it to AHCI does allow you to progress past EEPC, but then the OS will not boot, thus the need to run on ATA mode.

                         

                        You just need to build your OS image with the ACHI drivers installed.

                        • 9. Re: EEPC Issues with new Dell laptops?
                          johlee991

                          If you have Windows 7 though, you don't need to bundle the drivers, they come with the OS.  Here's the article on how to turn it on:

                           

                          http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976

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