Posts Tagged Dell

Screen flickering and horizontal lines when coming out of standby on Windows 8

I upgraded my Dell Latitude E6510 with an Nvidia NVS 3100M  to Windows 8 a short time ago, and noticed something fairly quickly: Whenever my display came back on after being powered off from power saving mode, or the laptop came out of sleep mode, the screen had a very noticeable flickering and some distinct horizontal lines. The best way to explain it was to say that there was something very wrong with the display refresh rate.

The effect would gradually diminish with time, but wouldn’t completely go away. I updated the graphics drivers from the built-in Windows 8 drivers to the latest ODE graphics driver for Windows 8 64-bit (310.90) — that didn’t fix it. I also noticed that putting the display in 40hz mode and then back in 60hz mode didn’t fix it either. I even would have the problem if I shut down completely and powered the laptop back on a few moments later.

I later found this blog post from someone having the exact same issue. He even indicated that he’s had hardware replaced on his notebook, and that didn’t fix the issue. He did, however, find a fix: Dell’s A08 drivers for the NVS 3100M graphics chipset. He posted links to a Dell search for A08 drivers and two drivers that specifically worked:

nVidia Quadro FX 880M – Win7/Vista 32-bit Graphics Driver

nVidia NVS 3100M – Win7/Vista 64-bit Graphics Driver (this is the one I used)

So I uninstalled my existing Nvidia drivers and installed the 64-bit driver linked to above. You know what? It worked. The flickering went away immediately, and it continues to work correctly resuming from standby.

I also recall speaking to someone who had a similar issue, albeit on Windows 7. I’m guessing it was probably related to the drivers as well.

UPDATE: After doing some more testing, I found this: I took a clean install of Windows 8 where the screen flickering was there, reformatted and reinstalled Windows 7 64-bit. After booting into Windows 7, the screen flickering was still there! It would seem that the driver is manipulating the graphics controller to produce this flicker. Installing Dell’s recommended NVS3100M driver for Windows 7 did fix the flickering issue.

Further reading:

Anyone else having the same issue? Have the drivers above worked for you? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below. 

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Ubuntu and the Intel Centrino Wireless N 1000 wireless card

The Intel Centrino Wireless N card is on the Dell N4010 and some other laptops. In this case it was the N4010 that a buddy of mine had which gave him the trouble. It’s a compatible card, but needs some nudging to get it to work.

The N4010 also has a software kill button in the form of the F2 key. Bear that in mind when using this machine.

Start by installing rfkill:

sudo apt-get install rfkill

Now check the status of the card:

sudo rfkill list

You should get output similar to the following:

0: dell-wifi: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: no
1: phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: yes

Take a look at dell-wifi‘s Hard blocked status. If it’s yes, your card is disabled via the F2-keys kill function. Hit the F2 key and do…

sudo rfkill list

…again. Your output should now resemble the above.

Now unblock by doing the following:

sudo rfkill unblock all
sudo rfkill list

Your output should now look like the following:

0: dell-wifi: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no
1: phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no

Your card should now work normally. Now check the connection manager for wireless networks. Reboot and verify you still have connectivity.

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Dell A940 Printer on Windows 7

Someone recently asked me about setting up a Dell A940 printer for them on Windows 7.

After seeing that the Windows 7 Compatibility Center lists it as “Not Compatible” for both 32-bit and 64-bit, I wasn’t optimistic that it was going to work at all.

After plugging it in, Windows 7 identified the scanner function but didn’t want to have anything to do with the printer functions of the device.

After some searching, I found a post on the Dell community forums. It says that there are Windows Vista drivers for both 32-bit and 64-bit, which work fine on Windows 7 and fully enable both the scanner and printer functions.

Here’s direct download links for anyone who is looking:

According to the poster there, in order to get this printer to work well, you’ll want to have up-to-date .NET Framework and Java.

This strikes me as a little curious because Windows Vista and Windows 7 are based on similar driver architecture, and the device should be listed as supported. But, even though it’s not, the above drivers seem to work fine.




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Toshiba L515-S4960 and Windows XP

Windows XP is not officially supported by Toshiba, and they offer very limited software downloads. This guide will attempt to give you the best installation instructions and driver download locations that apply to this model. Also, you may find the detailed spec sheet handy when looking for drivers.


Before installing Windows XP, go into the BIOS and change the SATA Operation mode to “Compatibility.” Read why here.


Insert your Windows XP disc. Immediately after powering on the system, tap F12 repeatedly to enter the boot device selection menu. Manually pick “boot from cd/dvd drive” and follow the on-screen directions.

Post-Installation (Drivers)

The following attempts to list the device IDs and driver download locations for Windows XP drivers. You may want to check your device IDs to verify same hardware.

Required Windows Components

The following Windows components are required for some drivers to successfully install:

Ethernet (10ec:8136) – Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller

WinXP, Win2K, Win2003 Auto Installation Program (SID:1453654) [link]

Wireless (Unknown Device ID) – Realtek RTL8187SE

Windows driver auto installation program [link] may or may not work.

This is the device that’s installed according to the spec sheet. However, several of these have the below Atheros chipset device.

Wireless (168c:001c) – Atheros Communications AR5BXB63 (AR5006X) /
WLL3141 (Toshiba PA3613U-1MPC) 802.11bg Wireless Adapter

Driver is here [link], but you will have to use the inf installation method, as there is no exe. Point to the netathwx.inf file in the download.

Video Controller (8086:2A43) and (8086:2A42) – Intel Graphics 4500M

Intel Graphics 4500M [link]

PCI data aquisition + signal processing controller (8086:2932) – 82801I (ICH9 Family) Thermal Subsystem

Seems to be satisfied by installing this driver [link] – Feedback is appreciated.

Sound (8086:293E) – Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller

Intel® HD Audio Controller – Realtek [link] (partially working – reportedly needs SMbus driver to work)

SM Bus controller (8086:2930) – 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller

Satisfied by [linkNote: It seems after running this driver (even though it uninstalled the above Intel HD Audio driver) then running the Intel Driver Update Utility (below) appears to completely satisfy audio drivers.

Modem (11C1:1040) – Modem device on High Definition Audio Bus / Agere Systems HDA Modem

Toshiba Software Modem Driver for Windows XP [link] – But reportedly doesn’t satisfy this device. The Lenovo driver at [link] may work instead.

Audio device on High Definition Audio Bus (10EC:0268) – Realtek Audio

Windows 2000, Windows XP/2003(32/64 bits) Driver only (Executable file) [link]

Intel Driver Update Utility

Available at [link] – May detect some drivers but not all.

It appears that this Toshiba has hardware similar to the Dell Vostro V13 [link] and the Dell Studio 1555 [link]. You may be able to find some drivers to fill the missing pieces by checking the links above. Please let me know what works for you so that I can update information.

If you own or use this model Toshiba laptop and have different hardware, or have a link to a driver not listed above, or even an alternate driver download location, please feel free to leave a comment below. I will be updating this article as I find applicable drivers. If anything here has helped you, please let me know by leaving a kudos!

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kernel atkbd.c: Unknown key released messages on Linux

I just installed Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) on to a Dell Vostro 1000. (Yea, yea, I know Natty is just around the corner). During the installation I dropped the terminal box down — ‘cus I’m like that — and noticed the following messages spamming the terminal log:

Apr 20 14:17:59 Vostro-1000 kernel: [    2.814838] atkbd serio0: Unknown key pressed (translated set 2, code 0x8d on isa0060/serio0).
Apr 20 14:17:59 Vostro-1000 kernel: [    2.814844] atkbd serio0: Use 'setkeycodes e00d ' to make it known.

Unplugging the laptop’s AC adapter caused it to throw the same event, this time with code e06e.

After some research, it looks like various model laptops throw odd keycodes in response to AC adapter/battery events. The Dell Vostro 1000 seems to be the one that comes up the most in searches, but the Dell Latitude 131L (which is based on the same design / hardware) is mentioned in Launchpad bug #549741, which is specific to this issue. The Inspiron 1501 is mentioned in Redhat bug #454131.

There’s also the issue of the specific keycodes that are thrown. Myself, I saw e00d and e06e. The author at DezzaNet mentions e055 as well.

So how to get rid of these messages?

The two bug reports referenced above mention removing and replacing the battery while the system is on. However, that may not work in all cases. There’s another way to get rid of the messages, and that’s mapping the keycode to the NULL character.

To do this at every bootup, edit the /etc/rc.local file and add lines like the following above the exit 0 statement:

setkeycodes  255

For example:

setkeycodes e00d 255

Repeat for each keycode you will to null out.

Questions, comments, feedback regarding this? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thank you!

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Correctly Recognize Alps Touchpad on Dell E6510 in Linux

Laptops which use newer Alps touchpad hardware may experience some lack of functionality as a result of a regression in the kernel psmouse driver — the touchpad is detected and works as a pointing device, but only functions with basic features. Scrolling, disabling tap-to-click, off when typing, and multi-touch (on supported devices) are some of the missing functionality. This appears to be the case with E5510, E6410, M6400, and other Dell (potentially all E2) and some non-Dell models.

From Simon Dierl:

Apparently, newer ALPS touchpads use a new, undocumented and unsupported protocol. The touchpad falls back to a legacy emulation mode, resulting in faulty detections. The bug lists some efforts to reverse-engineer the protocol and has some patches based on DELL contributions that enable ImPS/2 emulation (scrolling works). This, however, still does not allow for synaptics support (turn off when typing, horizontal scroll, etc.). Additionally, some people report problems on suspend/resume. [sic]

The best way to notice if you have a machine which is affected by this bug, is to go to System > Preferences > Mouse and look for a Touchpad tab. If it’s absent, you are probably affected by this bug.

Another way to see if you are affected by this bug is to run lsinput and look for something like the following:

bustype : BUS_I8042
vendor  : 0x2
product : 0x1
version : 0
name    : "PS/2 Generic Mouse"
phys    : "isa0060/serio1/input0"
bits ev : EV_SYN EV_KEY EV_REL

The above output shows the touchpad being identified and driven by the PS/2 driver.

This bug has been entered into Launchpad as bug #606238 and has its roots in Kernel bug #14660. Since it’s a mainline kernel bug, it’s likely to affect every Linux distribution. So far, it’s still a work-in-progress and there’s not been an accepted patch submitted to the Linux kernel team. There’s a discussion on that this is a regression, and this was working in older kernel versions.

The below is based on a patch from cmg238 which, at the very least, causes the kernel to correctly recognize the device as a touchpad and enable some missing functionality. I have made adjustments to the instructions for clarity and explanation.

Download kernel source (to /usr/src):

sudo apt-get build-dep --no-install-recommends linux-image-$(uname -r)
apt-get source linux-image-$(uname -r)

(Note: in Ubuntu Precise 12.04, do the following instead, based on this LaunchPad comment)

sudo apt-get build-dep --no-install-recommends linux-image-$(uname -r)
sudo git clone git://
cd linux
sudo git checkout origin/alps
sudo cp /boot/config-$(uname -r) .config

Also note that on Ubuntu Precise 12.04, you will be asked a bunch of additional questions at make-time. Accept the defaults, unless you have a reason to do otherwise.

Read about how to “undo” an apt-get build-dep and uninstall previously installed packages here.

Patch drivers/input/mouse/alps.c by locating alps_model_info and adding the additional line below, as follows:

static const struct alps_model_info alps_model_data[] = {
	{ { 0x73, 0x02, 0x64 }, 0xcf, 0xcf, ALPS_PASS | ALPS_DUALPOINT | ALPS_PS2_INTERLEAVED }, /* Dell Latitude E6510 */

Compile psmouse.ko module

cd src/drivers/input/mouse
make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build M=`pwd` psmouse.ko

(On Ubuntu Precise 12.04, use the following instead:)

cd /usr/src/linux/drivers/input/mouse
make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build M=`pwd` psmouse.ko

The following steps will cause you to lose mouse functionality until the modprobe psmouse statement. Be prepared. Also, You may want to backup your existing /lib/modules/(kernel version)/kernel/drivers/input/mouse/psmouse.ko before doing this!

rmmod psmouse
cp psmouse.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/input/mouse/
modprobe psmouse

The last thing to mention is if you update your kernel you will receive the distributed psmouse.ko module. If the kernel does not include a fix for this bug you will need to follow the directions in this post again to recompile the above patch back into the kernel.

Since this is a mainline kernel issue, I would ask that any reader who is able to, please visit the links within this post and contribute where ever you can to help in getting this resolved. You are welcome and encouraged to share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below as well.

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Fix for Alienware M15x “Warning: IRQ not configured – PCI in slot 0D”

Alienware M15x owners may see the following message appear during post:

Warning: IRQ not configured - PCI in slot 0D
  Bus:02, Device:00, Function:01

To resolve this rather cryptic error message, make sure you’re running BIOS version A05 or newer. The current BIOS is A09, and is available at (direct link).



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Getting the IP address of your networked Dell 3333dn printer

Suppose you’ve got a Dell 3333dn printer, plug it into your network, and want to set up your printer driver, but you don’t know the printer’s IP address. No sweat, just reach for the printer’s touchscreen and hit:

Menu > Reports > Network Setup Page

A one-to-two page report will print which has your printer’s IP address, MAC address, host name, and anything else you could want.

Comments are welcome, as always.

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How to get your Dell Service Tag from the command line in Windows and Linux

There’s plenty of times you can need the serial number (aka Service Tag) from a Dell machine, but not be able to physically look at the label. It’s a server in a datacenter, it’s your laptop and it’s on a dock, etc, etc. Fortunately, there are easy commands to get the serial number right from the command line in both Windows and Linux.


From a command prompt, type:

wmic bios get serialnumber

Linux (Ubuntu and others):

From a terminal, type:

sudo dmidecode -s system-serial-number

Comments are welcome, as always.

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Reading the date code on your Dell laptop battery

It’s a well-known fact that Li-ion batteries have a shelf-life, and the OEM warranty on batteries is typically only a year. This is because not only do the cells degrade over time, but they also degrade over use. If you’re having trouble with your laptop battery, it’s often worth a minute or two to read the date code on it to see if it’s premature failure or old age. You can read more about Li-ion cell life here if you’re interested.

Every Dell part has a PPID sticker, and the Dell part number is part of that number. Along with the country of origin, the date of manufacture, and some other information. I’ll explain three of these fields. Here is a sample PPID sticker from a Dell battery:

Reading the date code on your Dell laptop battery

You see three fields marked in the photo:

Country of origin: The first field (blue field) in the photo indicates the part’s 2-letter country of origin. In this case, Korea.

Part number: The second field (green field) in the photo has the Dell part number. In this case, UD265 (the leading zero is omitted if present). Knowing the part number makes it easier to order a replacement battery. :)

Date Code: The fourth field (red field) in the photo shows the parts date code in three digits:

The first [hex] digit indicates the year of manufacture. 1-9 for 2001-2009 respectively, 0 for 2010, A for 2011, B for 2012, C for 2013, D for 2014, E for 2015, F for 2016, etc. (Note: See Chris’ comment below.)

The second [hex] digit indicates the month of manufacture. 1-9 for January through September, respectively, and A-C for October through December.

The third [hex] digit indicates the day of manufacture. 1-9 for day 1 through 9 respectively, and A-V for 10-31.

This battery was made January 5th 2008.