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Alienware 970i-R1 - not booting

Posted on 2010-11-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have an Alienware 9700i-R1, a beautiful laptop in may ways. Problem is - it has just stopped booting up. It was working fine one evening - I was watching a movie, shut it down normally, then when I switched it on in the morning it doesn't boot.
To describe what actually happens
The power button depresses
The disc drive whirrs into action (but I can't hear searching etc)
The led's blink
Nothing else
Any help please? I really do not want to trash this machine, its so lovely, I'm hoping its something simple ;-)
Thank you
Question by:ignarus
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

rindi earned 1500 total points
ID: 34224835
First of all, as Alienware  is a high end product, I'd make sure about it's warranty status. If it still has warranty. If that is the case get in touch with the manufacturer.

If it is out of warranty, remove the RAM and the HD, then reinsert both and try again. If it still won't work, remove the HD and attach it another PC to check if it can see it. If it doesn't see it, the HD needs to be replaced. If the other PC can see it, test it using the HD manufacturer's diagnostic utility, you'll find it on the UBCD:


Author Comment

ID: 34224888
Thank you Rindi
I'm on with that now. Unfortunately its out of warranty as its a 2006/7 machine
I'll let you know how that works
Kind regards

Author Comment

ID: 34225045
Hi there
Okay - removed/replaced RAM/HD no joy, then removed HD and put on a different machine, it can see it so am backing it up using Acronis. HD is a bit noisy I noticed
When done, I will try the UBCD and report back.
Backup will be a few hours though
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 34225806
Ok Mabie we have a video problem.  Lets hook up the laptop to an external monitor.

Please see my article on video problems here on EE.

If it is not the video we have to rule out other components.

So tear that laptop down to the BARE BONES, just the motherboard, memory processor and try to boot with just these items if it boots then add one component at a time back to the system until you see what is making it fail.

If it will not boot with just bare bones you will need to get a known good piece of ram to test with to be sure its not the memory .

AT this point you will need to start inspecting the mother board its self. It could be some bad Electrolytic Capacitors  see link below.

Author Comment

ID: 34229747
Hi Rindi - having a bit of a problem getting the Ultimate Boot CD made to use, will report back when I've accomplished that

Hi Grant - hooked up an external monitor but nothing at all. Waiting for a friend of mine to provide a good know memory card (tomorrow hopefully and I will give him mine to try). Looked at the capacitor video, only problem is - I do not have a manual on how to strip this machine down to that level.

Thanks both

LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 34230477
Notebooks don't usually use Electrolytic capacitors anyway, except possibly in the Powersupply and possibly in the inverter circuit.

Once you have the iso file of the UBCD, you need a CD writing tool that can burn iso's to CD, like CDBurnerXP which is free:

When you start that tool, it comes with a set of options, one of which is "Burn ISO Image". Just select that, then the ubcd's iso file, and start burning (try using the lowest available burning speed, as CD burnt slowly tend to work better).
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 34235646
Did you reset the power switch yet?  (Try before doing anything else potentially damaging.)

Unplug from AC mains power.
Remove battery.
Press & hold power button for 5-10 seconds.
--You might see lights flash and/or fans spin.  Or not.
Re-connect AC mains (no battery).
Press power button.

If you get the same activity, but your hard drive is fine, then there is probably a problem with the motherboard/video.

Author Comment

ID: 34235667
Hi Rindi

Will let you know when I have the ISO file

Hi aleqhart
Didn't know about this. I have given my memory chips to someone to test - hope to have them back tomorrow then I'll try your test

Thanks both


Author Comment

ID: 34247073
Hi Both

Well, my friend has called me and tells me the memory chips are fine (they work in his machine). Now he is away till Christmas and I am away on business till Saturday. I will be back online then

May I thank you all for your kind help in the meantime


Author Comment

ID: 34427458
Hi all
I realise its been a while but I'm back home at last and would like to get this machine working again. Many thanks to those who helped with suggestions earlier

What I have done so far is rebuild a new hard disk drive, I've checked it in another machine - I can see the entire structure, the hidden respawn partition is there and all the files that we there in the first place.

I have connected it to an external screen that I know works off another machine

I have tried Aleqhart's suggestion with the power switch. To no avail.

So the situation is now that when I power it on, the LED's (for the wireless, the power  and another which I'm not sure what it is) come on, the disk boots (I can hear activity) for about 20 seconds or so, the disk LED flashes during this time. Then all activity stops. While its trying to boot, I can depress the num lock key and its LED comes on. However once booting ceases this does not work either. The power button is a steady orange

I have no sign of activity from the laptop screen or the external screen, in fact this does not know its attached as its LED just slowly blinks - like it has no connection

So that's where I am, no screen working, no disc activity, no disc LED, fans working though

Any help out there over this festive season

By the way Merry Christmas to all

Kind regards



Author Comment

ID: 34429216

Hi all

I am abandoning this question as now I have fixed the drive the machine boots just fine.

Rebuilding the drive did that much

However I am still left with no screen

Because that is not the same problem as the question above - I think I should start a new question

As far as point for this question goes - I appreciate everyone's help and Rindi was the one who suggested the drive as an issue. That has got me to a working machine (that I cannot see!! - but then nothing is perfect ha!)

Hope you all agree

Thank you all so much

Kind regards


Author Closing Comment

ID: 34429218
see my last post
I now have a bootable machine, but the screen issue is not fixed
I will post that as a separate question

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