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I have recently been sent a Dell Alienware MX17 R4 from a friend/client who automatically installed the Windows 8.1 (64bit) update over his installed Windows 8.0 (64Bit) OS; which now no longer works correctly, eg; the Dell AlienRespawn, AlienFX and Alien Command Center programs no longer function. The original 'Recovery' discs that were made when the Win 8 (64Bit) OS was still in place, are now useless, and so too are those OEM partitions for the recovery/reinstall options. Probably because the new Win 8.1 upgrade appears to be unable to locate/read them!
The machine has all the latest available BIOS, and driver updates from the Dell website,
and needless to say, any human Support from Dell thus far, has been negligible, maybe the Festive Season is not a good time to engage in this type of repair activity, and the Dell ‘computerized’ Support website system no longer recognizes this particular Alienware M17xR4 (U3E1) anymore because, I fear, this Win 8.1 OS is now different from the OEM version installed to the Service Tag number.
I feel so very sad for my client, as this very expensive laptop gift from America was his pride and joy, and as a Paraplegic on limited finances, he was hoping that I would be able to resolve these issues for him. Unfortunately, I am only a family nominated Mr. Fixit, whose years of experience with PC’s and Laptops has been mainly in the wonderful world of Windows XP, where there has never been any shortage of help from real experts.
Are there any such Alienware experts here in Daniweb, that may be able to offer any help with this particular Dell creature?

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Last Post by Palebushman
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If the recovery disks are no longer readable, or the user did not make a set of recovery disks (the nags are there for a reason) you should still be able to download a set from Dell based on the Service Tag or Express Code on the back of the laptop. Upgrading the OS should not in any way affect the recovery partition on the hard drive. The recovery program can be started before the OS actually boots. If this was not the case then it would be useless in the event of a catastrophic OS failure. Over Christmas I replaced my son's hard drive with an SSD by cloning the recovery partition to the new disk, then running the Recovery process from that. The new drive had no OS on it until after I did the recovery. I suppose, if you really had to, you could boot to a GParted livecd and nuke the OS partition before trying the recovery.

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Many thanks to you both cgeier and Reverend Jim, much appreciated.

The only disc that my client received with the machine from the States, is this Alienware M17x R4 Resource DVD; not much help with this current situation.

The only 'Recovery/Back-Up' discs (2x DVD's) were made after the Windows 8.1 update, when I received this machine from my client/friend. When trying to boot from them, this on screen message appears:-
Your PC needs to be repaired Error Code 0xc0000225 File WINDOWS\system32\winload.efi. Error Code 0xc000000f.

As mentioned in my OP, running the inbuilt Recovery/Refresh option, only sets the machine into an Alienware Diagnostic never ending loop which can only be stopped by removing power from the machine.

The week end is fast approaching, and I thought perhaps giving Dell a try on Monday, for the aforementioned Recovery Disc set, may resolve this issue before we try any other avenues.

The Service Tag number is present Reverend Jim but strangely enough there is no Microsoft Windows 8 product key label anywhere visible on the back of this machine; very odd.

In the meantime gentlemen, have an enjoyable week-end and I will be back here Monday, hopefully with positive results from Dell for you.

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Here's something you might want to try as a last resort. Download and create a GPartEd LiveCD. Boot from that. In GPartED, make note of the current flags on the recovery and Windows partitions in case you have to manually reset them later. Clear the boot/active flags from the Windows OS partition. Set the boot/active flags on the recovery partition. Try booting and see if that takes you right into recovery.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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Greetings all, and hope your weekend was a happy one.

Spent early part of today, (Monday here in Oz) trying to get some sense out of the Dell Support Website and then finally!!!

Would you believe it? All of my troubles were over in just a few clicks. The key to resolve all my frustrations actually lay in my OP.

"My friend/client received this Alienware M17xR4 (U3E1) as a gift from America" The last word in that quote finally lit the bulb!

The Dell.com.au Website could not help me because it did not recognise this machines 'American' Service Tag and Express Service Code.

Once I got this machine hitched up to the Dell.com America website, bingo, eureeka and whoopee!

After getting a successful System analysis, downloading and installing all of the correct system updates, drivers and programs, this machine is now running beautifully, although why anyone would want an Alienware machine running a smartphone GUI, is beyond me.Tiles work better in bathrooms ;-))

Good old Microsoft 2000, XP and Win 7 are what I consider to be far more useful PC GUI's, but lets not go there for now.

Soooo; A really big 'Thank You' to Reverend Jim for his help and guidance, and also to those of you who later joined us here.

Not too sure how this should be done, but if any Daniweb Moderator/Administrator could please mark this Alienware M17xR4 (U3E1) Issue
as 'Fixed' or 'Resolved', I would be most grateful.

I'm now going to have a little 'twiddle' with these colourful little LED's before wrapping this awsome laptop up in it's shipping box, and getting
it back to his eagerly awaiting owner a.s.a.p.

.

Edited by Palebushman

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