New Alienware 14: USB 3.0 ports not working properly & unexpected shutdowns

Dear fellow Alienware owners,

I just upgraded from an Alienware M11x R2 to a brand new Alienware 14 model. I've been using it for a week now and had two severe issues with it which I would like to describe below:

USB 3.0 ports turn themselves off
It appears that while doing normal stuff (mostly playing games) the USB ports stop working, i.e. they are no longer powered and thus don't provide any power to my input devices (wireless keyboard and mouse).

After some research I found this article describing how the particular model of chipset (HM87), apparently used in my Alienware 14, is affected by what is called "The USB 3.0 Bug":



"all initial Lynx Point chipsets have a problem when the USB 3.0 ports are put into an S3 sleep state while attached to certain USB flash drives. The drive enumeration is lost and the drive disappears when the system is brought back from the S3 state. Still Intel claims there’s no possible loss of data or corruption.
All launch chipsets have the problem – the desktop DH82Q87 Q85 H87 Z87 and B85 parts workstation/server chipsets DH82C222 C224 C226 plus the mobile DH82QM87 HM87 and HM86."

It seems there is no software fix for this. Dell has an article which seems to relate to this:


Journal ID: 66a8ae46-8d1c-480d-b992-e3a3bcfaa32b
"Alienware 14, 17, 18: USB 2.0 & 3.0 devices not working in Windows 7"

It tried their suggested solution (uninstall current driver and install new one from their website) but that didn't fix the problem.

Another suggestion I found online was to disable USB power saving in both Device Manager and Windows' power settings. The idea being to prevent the OS from putting the USB ports to sleep to save power. But that also did not help.

Another major issue my machine has are unexpected shutdowns. The computer just turns itself off, regardless of what energy mode (high performance or other) and power source (battery or outlet) is selected. This can happen anytime and it may be related to overheating. However, so far I did not experience my device to become really hot to the point of becoming uncomfortable to hold or touch. I also make sure to place it on a solid surface (a cooling pad, in fact).
This general advice from Dell didn't help:



Journal ID: 66a8ae46-8d1c-480d-b992-e3a3bcfaa32b
"Alienware Laptops: Computer Overheats, Shuts Down When Running Intensive Applications"

I also recall reading something a hardware issue where not enough power or voltage was maintaned in the notebook to power all devices which may be a cause for a sudden shutdown but unfortunately I did not save the link.

Has anybody experienced any similar issues or any suggestions what else I could try?
I am definitely considering returning the machine if it keeps acting up the way it currently does.
 

MattyB

Moderator
Mar 19, 2012
3,110
126
Adelaide, Australia
Sorry to hear about your issues. I bought a 14 for my GF a while ago and she hasn't had any issues. She doesn't play games though so the hardware isn't really being taxed too heavily. If you've tried reinstalling chipset drivers (both main chipset and USB) then the only thing I could suggest is a complete Windows 7 reinstall. I do it every so often on my machines just to keep things fresh. It's not hard but it is time consuming. If you were given an Alienware Windows 7 disk then that makes things pretty simple.
If it is still happening after that then you will have a hardware issue.
You could also try running the Dell diagnostic tool. If you hit F12 while booting you should go into the boot menu and there should be an option for the diagnostic. I haven't done it on the newer machines so I'm just assuming it's the same as the previous gen. This tool will run through all your hardware looking for errors.

If you're not comfortable doing these things yourself then you should give it back and let Dell sort it out. Not sure what warranties you have over there but most countries have Next Business Day service.
 

ny_slash

New Member
Aug 27, 2014
1
0
usa
about alienware 14 USB issues

Dear fellow Alienware owners,

I just upgraded from an Alienware M11x R2 to a brand new Alienware 14 model. I've been using it for a week now and had two severe issues with it which I would like to describe below:

USB 3.0 ports turn themselves off
It appears that while doing normal stuff (mostly playing games) the USB ports stop working, i.e. they are no longer powered and thus don't provide any power to my input devices (wireless keyboard and mouse).

After some research I found this article describing how the particular model of chipset (HM87), apparently used in my Alienware 14, is affected by what is called "The USB 3.0 Bug":





It seems there is no software fix for this. Dell has an article which seems to relate to this:


Journal ID: 66a8ae46-8d1c-480d-b992-e3a3bcfaa32b
"Alienware 14, 17, 18: USB 2.0 & 3.0 devices not working in Windows 7"

It tried their suggested solution (uninstall current driver and install new one from their website) but that didn't fix the problem.

Another suggestion I found online was to disable USB power saving in both Device Manager and Windows' power settings. The idea being to prevent the OS from putting the USB ports to sleep to save power. But that also did not help.

Another major issue my machine has are unexpected shutdowns. The computer just turns itself off, regardless of what energy mode (high performance or other) and power source (battery or outlet) is selected. This can happen anytime and it may be related to overheating. However, so far I did not experience my device to become really hot to the point of becoming uncomfortable to hold or touch. I also make sure to place it on a solid surface (a cooling pad, in fact).
This general advice from Dell didn't help:



Journal ID: 66a8ae46-8d1c-480d-b992-e3a3bcfaa32b
"Alienware Laptops: Computer Overheats, Shuts Down When Running Intensive Applications"

I also recall reading something a hardware issue where not enough power or voltage was maintaned in the notebook to power all devices which may be a cause for a sudden shutdown but unfortunately I did not save the link.

Has anybody experienced any similar issues or any suggestions what else I could try?
I am definitely considering returning the machine if it keeps acting up the way it currently does.

Hi Echelon,
I experienced the same issues with the USB ports from alienware 14. I installed a driver for a USB docking station..this is the link http://www.dell.com/support/home/us...product/dell-superspeed-usb3-dock-stn/drivers .
Once you get there click on
Mouse, Keyboard & Input Devices (1 file) . You'll see a drop-down window with the link to downl;oad the driver. It fixes partially the issue because once in a great while you'll still have the problems with unresponsive USB ports. ...SO it will less often , if thats of any comfort for you.
I wish i never bought this alienware 14 laptop. It was a waste of money.
I 'll buy a Lenovo next time..never again Dell .
Trust me , installing that driver will definetly ease the pain for you. Also update the bios to improve the performance with your RAM and to avoid freezes on your laptop.
Please let me know how much it improved.
On mine , my USB ports function now most of the time, unless i dont turn it off for weeks. It's good to turn off your laptop once a week and use CCleaner to clean the cache and temporary files off your drive.
Hope you get some good results.

- - - - - Updated; Consecutive Post Auto Merged - - - - -

I forgot to mention. The driver for the USB docking station is not the same thing with the driver that was posted by Dell as a fix for alienware previously. SO do try to install that driver and you'll be happy. This driver is for...a USB docking station (emphasizing again)...and i discovered the solution myself after 2 weeks of reasearching and installing different drivers. I dont think anyone else tried this before.