Archive for the 'Dell' Category

Hyper-V Video Blue Screen of Death – fixed

UPDATE – this is fixed in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (in the beta at least…they might break it again in RTM!)

This is a pretty widely reported problem with high spec video cards & Hyper-V

However, a Wikipedia article suggests that it may be possible to workaround this by installing pre-WDDM drivers (ie Windows XP drivers). Of course, this is no easy job on a laptop as ATi and nVidia lock down their ‘standard’ installers so they don’t work on laptops.

The way around this on the Dell/Radeon 4650 is to use Mobility Modder from HardwareHeaven

I’ll give it a go this weekend and update the blog

UPDATE – tried to mod the ATi driver and install but Windows reckons ‘the best driver is already installed’. Tried to change the ‘FeatureScore‘ to FC, but no joy with that. Maybe WS2008R2 really doesn’t support XPDM as alluded

For now, will stick to the SVGA @ 1152×864


Windows Server 2008 on Dell 1747: Hyper-V BSOD – Fixed

UPDATE – SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 fixes the BSOD on high performance, I can only assume that work on RemoteFX to enable performance graphics over TS meant that embarassing crashes for servers with high performance graphics were no longer acceptable.

So, time to get Hyper-V and WS2008 R2 on my Dell. Booted up with a DVD in the drive, trying to add the OS as a VHD at the command prompt has no joy. Shift-Fn-F10 didn’t work, had to reboot and change Fn key behaviour in the BIOS (a bit irritating).

My 1747 has 2 x 500Gb HD’s, and I have WinXpSP3 installed on the primary partition of (what i thought was…) disk00, however, it seems that the seconf HDD is now disk00, and my WinXP/Win7 install is on disk01. This means that my Win7 C: partition is actually E: on boot, a bit unusual.

There are a few decent sites out there regarding WS2008 as a laptop o/s, see as a first stop


After the usual password and naming work, I need internet access to run windows update, so Open Server Manager and add Feature Wireless LAN Service. Enable remote access and remote management to make it all easier. Of course I forgot I needed the driver from Dell

I’m never happy with defaul drive naming (C: D: E: etc) and I always mount my additional drivers as \disknn consistently across a multiboot evironment; this also makes it consistently easy to create vhd’s across drives. I had to disable the paging file on drive D: before I could unmount and rename the drive.

Run Windows Update (36 essential, 3 optional updates)

Installed the Desktop Experience thru Features

Switched off CTL-ALT-DEL at logon

Turn off Shutdown Tracker

Run netplwiz from Start to autologon

Optimise Application Performance

Enable Sound, Install Search

For me, MagicDisc is an essential, especially as I want to install Forefront Client Security from an iso. This simple little app let’s you mount any disk image as a drive, very nice (PS I always change my physical DVD to Z: and MagicDisc to Y:)

Installed Hyper-V role and got a very nasty blue screen of death, restarting in Safe Mode to see what’s happening

UPDATE – should have been aware of this, widely reported Hyper-V and Video problem on WS2008

Looks like I can’t get the vieo driver uninstalled, so I’ll rebuild (annoying) and try out the beta of SP1 for WS2008 R2

Dell Studio 1747 Experiences

I bought a Dell Core i7 laptop (well, mobile desktop) from their clearance warehouse and am working on building it to the spec that I need. There seem to have been some issues with blue screens and strange behaviour with these laptops, so I’ll keep a note of my experiences here.

As an independent IT specialist working on applications (CRM), collaboration (SharePoint) and virtualisation (Hyper-V) I need a machine that will run multiple environments, my needs are

– a Hyper-V host for demanding demonstrations and presentations

– a Windows7 environment for day to day office use and Virtual PC demos

– an XP install for kids and games (32 bit)

I also want as much dik as possible in a single drive, as this avoids messing about moving big virtual machines from drive to drive because of a lack of space. The machine has 2 x 2gb memory right now, I’ll upgrade to 6Gb when prices drop and I have more cash!

So far, three Dell problems

– No certificate of authenticity (COA) for the Win7 Home Premium installation (or label on the machine), this is a breach of Dell’s OEM terms and means that the copy of Windows effectively is not legitimate

– The machine came with a 90w PSU, and there are a number of issues with the 90w, Dell are shipping 130w They processed my request very quickly and helpfully

– Biggest issue, I bought 2 x 500gb disks and the machine has only one. I’ve tried to log a short shipment twice on the web site and failed, but Dell did log the issue over the phone.

UPDATE 02 Jun – kind of fixed, got the disk but no caddy, I bought the caddy on ebay and Dell say they’ll refund me

The only other issue is with the BIOS: I updated to the latest A08 release as it seems to fix some issues, particularly with throttling

Install Objectives

I decided to install XP on a single NTFS 100gb partition, and Win7 Ultimate (to replace the Home Premium, no VirtualPC available…) on the remaining 400Gb. I’ll make use of Win7/WS2008’s brilliant VHD support to install Windows Server 2008 R2 in a 50Gb VHD. WS2008 can be small as I plan to run pretty much everything from Hyper-V.

The only gotcha with VHD booting on a laptop is that you can’t hibernate, so I’ll install Win7 native. I’ll maybe create a second Win7 VHD for trial/testing.

Windows XP Installation

Nothing ever goes smoothly with a PC install, and the Dell was typical. I’ve decided on Windows XP Professional x86 with SP3 to minimise compatibility issues, but the XP boot crashed with a blue screen (BSOD).

TIP: before trashing the default install, use MagicKey Finder to get the Win7 product key for re-use if required

TIP: As the machine is nicely installed and all the drivers are loaded on Win7, run msinfo32 and save an NFO file with the full config. This will save time later trying to find XP drivers for the hardware

My suspicion was that it was the storage driver, which was set to AHCI in the BIOS, and switching to ATA did allow XP to boot, however, I want AHCI for the server/virtualisation OS, so some investigation to do.

There are a couple of good blogs on registry hacks for ATA-AHCI changes, but I couldn’t find an example for the Intel S3400 controller and XP.

The answer is nLite, a fantastic app for creating a custom install disk for XP (vLite for Vista/Win7 is equally brilliant)

I downloaded the Intel driver ( “”&HYPERLINK “”DwnldID=18055HYPERLINK “”&HYPERLINK “”lang=eng) and slipstreamed it with nLite, along with a few tweaks (product key, username, getting rid of some of the sample rubbish etc), and created an iso. nLite will burn it too, but I’d recommend ImgBurn as another tool you can’t do without.

The boot was clean this time, so the XP install is underway. I may change the nLite install to incorporate a few more device drivers if there’s any problem. I trashed the OEM & recovery partitions, as I know I never want the Dell malware back again (Norton, yeuch…)

As expected, XP didn’t recognise the wireless, so, time to decide if I download all the drivers and slipstream again, or just hand crank it. My wireless is the Broadcom DW1520. I found the driver at, but the Dell installer didn’t work. I had to select the device in Device Manager and run ‘update driver’ pointing at the right folder. Now to try Windows update…off and running ok.

Video Drivers – annoyingly, the ATi catalyst download for XP doesn’t seem to recognise the mobilty Radeon 4650 in the machine. Might need to go looking for a hacked driver, but found this thread on Dell This gave me a 9.4 version of the ATi drivers

Next step is the Intel chipset update, which removes most of the ‘?’ entries in device manager. A couple of devices are left.

O2Media card reader – seems like the MS/xD reader only has a Win7 driver

Intel SM Bus controller – strangely doesn’t update the driver even after the Intel chipset utility; not a big deal. The Intel 5 Series 3400 controller also seems to have some kind of thermal monitor.

Finally, there is an unknown device (ACPI\SMO8800) which is the Dell accelerometer.


A smooth process, as you’d expect when drivers are in the build. First get the DW1520 wireless driver (the wired driver is built in but I didn’t have a lead handy).

A few drivers to get from Dell; but all on the standard Studio 1747 driver download page.

Final housekeeping, use bcdedit (cmd prompt) to set the name of the XP boot

bcdedit /set {ntldr} description “XP Pro”

Next, get my ‘standard’ apps, ImgBurn, MagicDisc, Adobe Reader, Flash (necessary evils) and Office 2010, Visio 2010, Project 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010.

Windows Server 2008 R2

More to come in the next blog

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