In May last year (2023), I purchased a used Dell XPS 17 (9700) laptop. I decided to go with used, as this is a pretty high-end laptop and the cost, while a lot of money at over £1000, was still significantly less than the "new" price of a similar laptop.

Although it was originally released in 2020 (my model was manufactured in February 2021), the XPS 17 specification is still considered by many to be pretty good:

Intel Core(TM) i7-1075H CPU @ 2.6 GHzdell xps 17 9700 laptop 32gb
32 GB of 2133 MHz DDR4 RAM
1 TB NVMe storage (with second NVMe slot available)
Intel UHD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics
17" UHD screen

Initially, things went quite well with the machine, I installed a clean version of Windows 11 and added all applicable Dell drivers, then started the task of installing all of my required software and getting the machine "just as I liked it"

After a few weeks, I had experienced a couple of complete lockups of the machine, this was particularly frustrating as (of course) it usually happened at the least convenient time (not that there is a convenient time for your computer to crash). The machine would completely hang, with no mouse/keyboard input possible.

Over the ensuing year, I had experienced quite a few of these lockups, but just got used to it. I would routinely search the symptoms on a popular search engine, others had similar issues, usually resulting in a replacement motherboard from Dell (not really an option for me as the 12 months original warranty had expired in 2022).

Whenever Dell released an updated BIOS or other firmware/driver, I would install it, hoping that they had finally found the cause of this issue, sadly to no avail. Then, about 3 months ago, things started to get significantly worse, almost everytime I booted the machine it would blue-screen. 

Screenshot 2024 06 24 105111


Research indicated that this was an issue with the NVIDIA discreet GPU. After looking at the Device Manager, I could see that there was no NVIDIA device listed under Display adapters. Enabling "Show hidden devices" in the View menu, revealed an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti that was greyed-out, meaning that it hadn't been detected. My assumption was therefore that the GPU was being disabled by the BIOS due to some sort of issue, which then allowed Windows to boot. If it was enabled, then a blue-screen would occur.

Around the same time, I also discovered that the battery appeared to have stopped charging. It always showed Charging 0% on the taskbar. This happened both with my Dell WD19S dock and the supplied charger, so I knew that it wasn't a charger issue. Battery diagnostics (both BIOS and Windows) showed battery health as excellent, but nothing that I did (including a trick I found online about trying a lower power, non-Dell charger to kick-start the charging) fixed the issue. As the machine was only 3 years old, a completely dead battery was disappointing but not entirely unexpected.

I tried modifying various GPU settings, but nothing seemed to work. I also considered completely wiping and re-installing the machine, but I always consider that very much a last-resort and of the 1000s of computers I have worked on in my 35 year career in computing, I can count on one hand the number of times I have resorted to this solution (and even less times has it solved the fault)

Then in June 2024, I noticed that a new BIOS had been released for the laptop: Dell Precision 5750 and XPS 9700 System BIOS Version 1.30.0 although the (limited) release notes made no mention of any of my issues, other than the standard boiler-plate about critical bug fixes, I thought it shouldn't hurt to install it.

Of course, my battery issue caused the upgrade to fail, as it requires 10% minimum charge in order to install a BIOS update (difficult when the battery is dead), but luckilly Dell anticipated this situation and provde a switch /forceit on the installer, which I duly ran. 

I wasn't holding-out much hope of this doing anything, but to my utter amazement, when I rebooted the laptop, and checked Device Manager, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti device was detected and working!

It has now been running for over a week, no blue-screens, no crashes, but sadly also no battery! I decided to order a replacement from one of our suppliers, this is a genuine Dell XG4K6 battery and cost £103+VAT, but after installation I could see straight-away that it was charging, so hopefully all is well?

As a final point, I feel I should mention that this machine has had more BIOS updates than any computer I have ever seen, below you can see the BIOS update history, usually with very limited release notes, so no indication of what has been fixed in each version. 


1.30.0 12 Jun 2024
1.29.0 05 Apr 2024
1.28.0 05 Feb 2024
1.27.1 10 Nov 2023
1.26.1 12 Sept 2023
1.24.0 12 Apr 2023
1.23.0 12 Mar 2023
1.22.1 10 Feb 2023
1.21.0 14 Dec 2022
1.20.0 11 Oct 2022
1.19.0 12 Sept 2022
1.18.0 08 Aug 2022
1.17.0 12 Jul 2022
1.16.0 09 Jun 2022
1.15.0 12 May 2022
1.14.3 12 Apr 2022
1.13.0 04 Mar 2022
1.12.0 11 Jan 2022
1.11.1 29 Nov 2021
1.10.0 09 Nov 2021
1.9.2 26 Aug 2021
1.8.2 09 Jun 2021
1.7.2 06 Apr 2021
1.5.0 10 Nov 2020
1.3.2 10 Sept 2020
1.0.6 03 Aug 2020
1.0.4 03 Jun 2020


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