Question Dell E6540 Freeze after driver installation

Oct 23, 2020
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I will try to sum this up best I can. I've been in a hell for 4 days now.
I have a Dell E6540
i7-4800MQ 2.7ghz
8gb Ram
500 HDD
Gpu:
Intel 4600 Integrated + AMD Radeon HD 8790M
Bios updated to latest
+ Things were working fine before the following happened :)

4 days ago, after I booted it up, the battery indicator flashed red and once I was in Windows. It shut down completely. I removed the battery and left the power cable.
It did the same thing (Shut down completely) Twice more. Then it started fine but It was slow beyond description. Video player was stuttering. Audio was scratching with noise attached to it

I open the back cover, cleaned dust from fan, re-applied thermal paste. Put everything back together carefully. and went to install windows 10 pro. After installation, it's till running slow. I start to install the drivers I got from Dell's website. All was well except for the audio. Once it was install, it was give a crackling noise with each system sound or audio file i open. Then comes the WORST. I installed AMD driver from here and the second it says "Installation complete" The whole thing Freezes. Nothing works. and Ctrl+Alt+Delete doesn't work either. I shut down from the power button then restart. After windows logo, I get a black screen. And that's it "I installed windows over 10 times I lost count" not kidding. Each time a black screen and each time I try something new.

Summed up:
After each Windows 10 pro install
  • It's very slow and laggy
  • AMD drivers cause freeze then black screen after restart
  • Audio sounds accompanied by scratch and crackles (NOT after every install, sometimes fine"
Things i tried:
-Fresh Windows install (over 10 times)
-Use another build of Windows
-Switch from Legacy to Uefi
-Format and delete entire disk completely and convert to GPT
-Use ddu in safe mode to remove AMD driver + stop windows from doing driver installation.
-Use "Edit group policy" to stop windows from installing AMD drivers
-Install AMD driver manually from Device manager with latest driver
-Install previous AMD drivers


I'm installing windows right now AGAIN. If by some miracle things arent slow and audio works fine then all I got is this AMD issue. I look online for days literally and found a lot of videos and threads with SAME issue. But it doesn't work for me.
 
Oct 23, 2020
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Maybe your motherboard is showing signs of passing, or some other on-board component has failed. Most laptops go into "slow mode" if a fan is dead or not detected.
 
Oct 23, 2020
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Yes, you can test your memory using https://www.memtest.org/ CPU not sure yet.

Okay so I have installed windows 10 at the time and it went fine. Laptop is laggy but not as much. I installed all drivers and once i got to the realtek audio one, i started to hear the pops and scratches with any sound that followed, I switched from realtek to native windows driver in device manager and sound works fine, downside plugging in headphones doesn't work. so idk what's wrong with the drivers, tries new and old ones.

Moving on, your ram comment made take out a very old 4gb ram I had in my now deceased Inspiron n5110. I put instead of the current 8gb one and the laptop gave a black screen and stuck at.
I removed it and put the 8gb back in a different socket. And the laptop got slightly faster.

I then installed the old e6540 amd drivers from 2015 and it didn't freeze. I used radeon slimmer to remove junk from amd latest driver and updated and it worked, it didn't freeze either or give a black screen.

Last I ran dell diagnostic test and it gave me no errors then I checked event log in same screen and it said "LED Memory SPD _ ON_Flash-on"
Three times.
I googled it and someone said it's code for memory is detected but has errors and solutions are
-install it in different socket
-replace it
-replace system board

So finally now im running the memtest to be sure it's the ram not the motherboard.
On a 2nd pass, 1.5 hrs, no errors so far.

I thought id mentioned all this in case someone has something new to add or someone faces the same problem.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Okay so I have installed windows 10 at the time and it went fine. Laptop is laggy but not as much. I installed all drivers and once i got to the realtek audio one, i started to hear the pops and scratches with any sound that followed, I switched from realtek to native windows driver in device manager and sound works fine, downside plugging in headphones doesn't work. so idk what's wrong with the drivers, tries new and old ones.

Moving on, your ram comment made take out a very old 4gb ram I had in my now deceased Inspiron n5110. I put instead of the current 8gb one and the laptop gave a black screen and stuck at.
I removed it and put the 8gb back in a different socket. And the laptop got slightly faster.

I then installed the old e6540 amd drivers from 2015 and it didn't freeze. I used radeon slimmer to remove junk from amd latest driver and updated and it worked, it didn't freeze either or give a black screen.

Last I ran dell diagnostic test and it gave me no errors then I checked event log in same screen and it said "LED Memory SPD _ ON_Flash-on"
Three times.
I googled it and someone said it's code for memory is detected but has errors and solutions are
-install it in different socket
-replace it
-replace system board

So finally now im running the memtest to be sure it's the ram not the motherboard.
On a 2nd pass, 1.5 hrs, no errors so far.

I thought id mentioned all this in case someone has something new to add or someone faces the same problem.
You were talking about installing older drivers, for laptops you want to install the drivers from the vendor support page even if they are older, not the latest one from the hardware vendor. Using newer drivers often causes issues with laptops.
 
Oct 23, 2020
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You were talking about installing older drivers, for laptops you want to install the drivers from the vendor support page even if they are older, not the latest one from the hardware vendor. Using newer drivers often causes issues with laptops.
That's exactly what I did for over 10 times. The drivers are directly from Dell support page for this specific model using the serial tag to even be more sure. I resorted to download other drivers after these failed. I even tried re downloading and thought maybe something was corrupt but that didn't work either. Also used 3rd party driver installer software, same issues.

I'm now waiting to meet someone today who is better at this kind of stuff than me. Maybe he'll figure it out and i will update the thread for future reference.

Small note: i noticed a bios update labeled A27 which is what I have but the date is different (Dec 12th) instead of mine (June something). And mine isn't showing in the previous updates. Tried installing that but file won't even open. Now, trying to use a usb drive to do. Hopefully will do something good.
 
Oct 23, 2020
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I have finally pinpointed the problem. Cpu is capped at .350 ghz and won't go anywhere above that. I tried a trick by going to registry editor and modified "start" inside intelppm from 3 to 4. After restarting, the cpu is now working at 2.69ghz (base speed 2.7) so a 100%, and the laptop is running very fast and smooth. Issue is, I don't think this the right way to fix the issue, is it?

Changing the value from 3 to 4, means forcing the cpu to work at full capacity all the time which doesn't sound right to me, (I don't really know).

Temps run at 62-65 °C after registry mod

If I set intelppm to 1 (Work at high load only when necerssay), temps stay around 55-59 °C)

Small question if someone happen to stumble upon this. Bios update file won't even launch at all I don't know why.
I tried older versions just to check. They don't launch either.
 
Oct 23, 2020
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This is the dumbest issue I ever faced.
The solution was using a different AC adapter. Can you imagine that.

It works fine but no no you gotta change it.
I only happened to stumble upon this idea online by searching a lot.

I plugged in the dead battery and tried 3 different other Chargers, two of which are original Dell, and only one of them put the CPU automatically at 2.5 - 2.6 ghz right at startup. In the HWmonitor, the clocks were 2.0 ghz min - 2.7 current value - 3.5 ghz max.

I switched back to my normal Targus charger and it's still running at 2.2-2.8 in task manager @55-60 °C temps
Clocks in Hw: 2.4 current, max 2.7

Reinstalled realtek audio and no more crackling as well. All issues just solved themselves after all this torture.

Lesson learned, next time buying a pc not a laptop
 
Oct 23, 2020
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Someone commented that I should have mentioned I'm working with a dead battery and non-dell charger then deleted the comment :D. Hey, dude. yes I should've. Sorry about that. I didn't think it mattered. The laptop worked fine with the same battery and charger for 8 months before this happened.

To add to the thread. Yes the battery is DEAD, it died on the first day I mentioned at the start of the topic when it fleshed RED. I tried 4 different chargers yesterday. 1 Targus, 1 Dell non-original, 2 Dell Original chargers came with two other inspirons I have.

Only 1 of those charger with the dead battery attached worked for some odd reason. it lets the CPU work at full capacity 2.2-2.7 ghz in the device manager with normal temps (didn't test for long, just checked for a minute).

The weird thing now, Leaving the dead battery attached and plugging in the targus charger has the same effect "Cpu works on high". Laptop works very fast and snappy. Temps jump from 57-75 C on idle -_- (during video playing, chrome, idle)

With charger only it's stuck at 0.76 ghz or 0.35 ghz (sometimes this, sometimes that) temps stable at 57-62 max.
idle, playing videos, using chrome.

Attempting a re-paste today.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Someone commented that I should have mentioned I'm working with a dead battery and non-dell charger then deleted the comment :D. Hey, dude. yes I should've. Sorry about that. I didn't think it mattered. The laptop worked fine with the same battery and charger for 8 months before this happened.

To add to the thread. Yes the battery is DEAD, it died on the first day I mentioned at the start of the topic when it fleshed RED. I tried 4 different chargers yesterday. 1 Targus, 1 Dell non-original, 2 Dell Original chargers came with two other inspirons I have.

Only 1 of those charger with the dead battery attached worked for some odd reason. it lets the CPU work at full capacity 2.2-2.7 ghz in the device manager with normal temps (didn't test for long, just checked for a minute).

The weird thing now, Leaving the dead battery attached and plugging in the targus charger has the same effect "Cpu works on high". Laptop works very fast and snappy. Temps jump from 57-75 C on idle -_- (during video playing, chrome, idle)

With charger only it's stuck at 0.76 ghz or 0.35 ghz (sometimes this, sometimes that) temps stable at 57-62 max.
idle, playing videos, using chrome.

Attempting a re-paste today.
Once systems start with issues with chargers and bad batteries and getting on in age there will be issues with speeds and battery use. What you are seeing is actually very common, there are many posts with same issue where the system runs slow without a battery connected, or does not boot without a battery and sometimes boots but only without a battery.

You may want to check the BIOS to make sure it's on the latest one and also check there for speed options. There are several settings in laptop to have it run on full speed, balanced (dynamic) or low speed all the time. Same thing for power options in Windows.
 
Oct 23, 2020
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Once systems start with issues with chargers and bad batteries and getting on in age there will be issues with speeds and battery use. What you are seeing is actually very common, there are many posts with same issue where the system runs slow without a battery connected, or does not boot without a battery and sometimes boots but only without a battery.

You may want to check the BIOS to make sure it's on the latest one and also check there for speed options. There are several settings in laptop to have it run on full speed, balanced (dynamic) or low speed all the time. Same thing for power options in Windows.
Im only grasping this now and wondering if my previous Inspiron had that issue with battery and charger and I didn't even know at the time. But Thank you, now I know.

The Bios is an issue I can't solve. I have it on A27 and the dell site says latest is A27 but the dates don't match. Mine says June, the site says December. I tried downloading the file multiple file and it won't even run, like I didnt even click it. So I ignoring that issue for now.

I have done a repaste today after having done so just a couple of days back. I was surprised to see all the compound NOT on the chips but on the side of the chips. First time, I just did a line or a drop and let it spread by itself once I tighten back the fan.

This time I actually put slightly more and spread it on the chip equally. I attached the dead battery and the targus charger. And it worked perfectly. Cpu 2.5-2.7 (On Best Performance from the battery Icon) and temps running 55-60 on video playing. And 68-80 while playing Bulletstorm full clip edition for 50 minutes on low. Idle at 49-55.

I can also drag the slider in the battery icon to the left (Better Battery mode) which reduces cpu to 0.9 - 1.2 ghz when Im not using the laptop for anything but video playing.

I ran a stress test using Aida64 later on Best Performance for just 5 minutes to check and it stayed at 77 degrees and cooled down pretty quickly after. Weird thing here. Before test cpu was 2.7 at 2-5% utilization. During test 1.65 at 60% utilization. Don't know if that normal.

All in all, I'd say the issue is fixed now by proper compound application and leaving the battery in.
 

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