Aurora R4 Issues: Sleep mode lights staying on after shutdown and disk check at start-up

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Aurora R4 Issues: Sleep mode lights staying on after shutdown and disk check at start-up

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About a month ago, I bought a new Alienware Aurora R4. Straight out of the box, it started doing the whole "lights won't shut off when shut down" thing. It seems to think it's in sleep mode. In addition to this, every so often, the fans will stay on, too. Then it started to do a "check disk for errors" directly after the Windows boot-up splash screen every 1-5 start-ups. After the check, it would have to totally reboot, but seemingly worked fine upon start-up.

I called technical support with these issues and they couldn't see anything wrong with my computer. A day or two after that, it wouldn't boot Windows at all. It would boot to a black screen and just sit there. I was able to reinstall using a recovery disk I made, but still had the same problems mentioned above.

I eventually wound up getting frustrated with these issues and called Dell for a full refund/return. They talked me into getting another computer as a replacement instead. They built a new one with the same specs as the first and sent it out. Now I'm working on the replacement computer and having the exact same issues as the original. Other than these two problems (lights and checking on start-up), the computer is functional.

Attempted Repairs:

1. Checked power-plan options for sleep mode and they're disabled. The power button is set to "Shutdown" and not "Restart" or "Sleep" or anything silly like that.

2. Ran Alien FX tester and everything checks out fine.

3. Did a full power cycle (pull plug, hold down power button, etc.).

4. The Dell "fix" for the light issue is to adjust the power plan and set the shutdown lights to black. This does make the lights go off, of course, but can't really be considered a fix, since it's just masking the problem. Also, this does not address the disk check issue.

5. Full re-spawn.

6. Tried using different mouse, keyboard, etc. to see if there was a compatability issue. No luck.

Posting here is basically my last ditch effort to find a fix for these problems before I call and ask for a full refund. Honestly, I can't see spending this kind of money on a computer that glitches straight out of the box.

All Replies
  • This is the official fix for the issue released by Alienware.

    Luis Porras
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  • Yes, I've gone through and changed the power plan options as they suggested already (please see point #4 on my list of attempted fixes). As far as going into Alien FX and disabling the lights, turning the lights to black is not a fix, and there does not seem to be an option for turning them off completely. There's also a side-note at the end of this suggestion that says:

    "Note: The Master I/O LED can be visible when the system is OFF. This can be a blue, orange or red LED ON and this is regular behavior to indicate funtionality of the board."

    This is a false statement. When you shut down the system, the master IO board should NOT have a light on. I know this from the other perfectly functional Alienware computers I have owned.

    Lastly, this "fix" only addresses the lighting issue and does nothing to help with the constant disk checks. It seems strange that the R4 has to start-up a full two times every couple of power-ups.

    It's looking more and more like there really isn't a fix for either of these issues, so chances are I'll be calling in for a full refund. I just wonder how many other people have had these same problems.

  • Strange. I can tell you my Aurora R1 (x58 chipset based MB) has never done this.

    And yes, you are correct ... my Master I/O LED IS NOT ON when the machine is completely off. Here are some notes. But remember, this is from an R1 ... I have a feeling that Dell has changed some of the "Power Status Detection" wiring on R4's. For instance ... if they are now using "Powered up USB-1 header" as a sign that the machine is truly on ... and the MB or BIOS is now set to leave USB ports powered up (for portable device charging always for example), the MIO-Board might get confused about the machine's true power state.

    First sentence is vague, but Dell is very secretive about how the MIO-Board works exactly. And only the very high level engineers know how it all really works (and they never talk to us).

    Either BLINK (Front_Panel) or MB_CPU_Fan is used to read "power status" of MB (off, on, or sleeping).

    On the Aurora R1: The MIO-Board communicates through the motherboard's USB1 header connector. A 26 pin cable connects the MIO-board to the "Top Lighting Board" (CPU cooler, interior lights, and other devices are connected here). The MIO Board is powered by the larger 4 pin Molex power cable. The orange light is lit only if it's getting power and ready to operate (ie, it is connected to motherboard via USB cable to USB-1 header). Its actual mode of operation seems to be dependent on what it reads (the MB is doing) through the BLINK cable. If you have a Power Supply tester (or voltmeter), make sure the Molex plug has +12v and +5v DC on it.

    Aurora turned Off (but still plugged into AC power)
    ---------------------------------------------------
    MIO Molex - 0 volts
    MIO Orange Light - Off
    CPU Pump and Radiator Fan - Off

    Aurora Turned On, but USB-1 Disconnected
    ----------------------------------------
    MIO Molex - 5vdc, 12vdc
    MIO Orange Light - Off
    CPU Pump and Radiator Fan - On/Working (as verified with HyperPI and CPUID-HW-Monitor)

    Aurora Turned On, but USB-1 Disconnected, and MIO Molex power disconnected
    ----------------------------------------
    MIO Molex - N/A
    MIO Orange Light - Off
    CPU Pump and Radiator Fan - Off/Not-Working


    Alienware Aurora ~ Intel i7-930 ~ 12gb ram ~ AMD HD-5870
    256gb Samsung 830 SSD / 1tb HDD ~ LG Blu-Ray ~ USB 3.0 PCIe
    Dell 24" UltraSharp u2410 LCD ~ Dell 22" LCD

    All my Dell Machines and Specs

    Wiki-like Threads I've written and other Favorites

    Posting Tips:
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  • Zator

    new Alienware Aurora R4 ...  Then it started to do a "check disk for errors" directly after the Windows boot-up splash screen every 1-5 start-ups. After the check, it would have to totally reboot, but seemingly worked fine upon start-up.

    This is a separate problem.

    Could be as simple as Windows not getting shut-down properly. If that is not the case, I would check harddrive with Dell Diags, SMART history parameters reading software, and/or software that can do a full surface confidence scan.


    Alienware Aurora ~ Intel i7-930 ~ 12gb ram ~ AMD HD-5870
    256gb Samsung 830 SSD / 1tb HDD ~ LG Blu-Ray ~ USB 3.0 PCIe
    Dell 24" UltraSharp u2410 LCD ~ Dell 22" LCD

    All my Dell Machines and Specs

    Wiki-like Threads I've written and other Favorites

    Posting Tips:
    - Always provide machine make, model, specs and software versions.
    - Click the button if we answered your question.

    Registered Microsoft Partner
    & Apple Developer:

    Gaming when I'm not programming.

    I answer questions here, but
    I'm not a Dell employee.

  • I have another Aurora that I bought back in mid-2010 (not sure if it's an R1 or 2), but it briefly had the same MIO problem a couple weeks after purchase. However, in that case, a respawn cleared everything up and I haven't had a problem since. Obviously, I haven't been so lucky on the R4.

    As far as diagnostics I could check for the hard drive scan, all hardware comes up clean and is working fine. I do think that it is a shutdown problem due to the fact that, even when turned off, my router still shows limited connectivity and (as has been well-stated) the MIO board won't turn off. Also, every once once in a while, the fans will continue to run even after shutdown and I'll have to fully power cycle it to shut them off.

    I've already set up for a return and a refund, but hopefully this thread can help somebody else. If this MIO board thing ever gets fully resolved, perhaps I'll return to Dell/Alienware sometime down the road. For now, it looks like I'll have to go elsewhere.

  • Aurora R4 is a messed-up platform for sleep mode.  I had an R2 I never had problems with, but about 1 in 6 times when I put it to sleep it won't come back, and Windows reports that it crashed while in sleep mode.  This is not an isolated problem - I've seen a number of people posting the same type issues.

    Also, for a while my R4 would turn itself on from sleep mode randomly.  When updating all the drivers to fixe the above problem I accidentally fixed this problem in the process (which is great).

    Completely unacceptable for a machine that costs this much and is supposed to be the "premium" line.

  • So what's the progress on the sleep mode crash problem for the Aurora R4?  Turning off the lights doesn't stop the fact that about 1 in 6-8 times, it's actually crashing when it goes into sleep mode.  I've disabled Speedstep and a bunch of other recommended changes that degrade the performance and value of this VERY expensive "premium" desktop.  Things I shouldn't have to do, and all of which don't work anyway.

    This sleep mode problem on the Aurora R4 is consistently documented on the web (google it), most describing the same thing I've experienced when it has a "sleep crash".  Sleep starts, some lights go off, but an amber light on the bottom stays on, the HDD light flashes erratically and it never really enters sleep.  The only way to get it to come back is to unplug it or hold the power button for 5 seconds.

    IS a "real" fix coming?  If not, is Dell giving refunds or exchanging for something that WORKS consistently and fully?