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XPS 17 (9710) Owner's Lounge and General Discussion Thread


astrohip
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A place to discuss the Dell XPS 17 9710. The threads on {forum that shall not be named} was a great resource to me, even though I lurked more than posted. Thanks for creating a new place for us.

Personally, I bought an XPS 17 just a few weeks ago (Jan 2022). Love it! 64GB RAM, two 4TB SSD, the 3840x2400 screen.

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XPS 17, 64GB RAM, 2 4TB SSD

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No thinking at all.😁  I like to max out my laptop when I get one, so it lasts a while, and I don't have any regrets down the road. Same reason I got 8TB, when I don't need that much. I ran out of room on my old XPS 15, so I wanted to make sure I have enough for the next 3-5 years.

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XPS 17, 64GB RAM, 2 4TB SSD

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On 2/1/2022 at 10:38 PM, Steerpike said:

What's the thinking behind 64GB RAM?  Virtual Machines?  Seems like a lot to me! 

One other use... I use a RamDisk extensively, and now I can create a multi-GB RD without worrying about stealing too much RAM.

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On 2/4/2022 at 7:41 AM, astrohip said:

One other use... I use a RamDisk extensively, and now I can create a multi-GB RD without worrying about stealing too much RAM.

Is the concept of RAMdisk still valid with SSD?  I mean, I guess RAM is still faster than SSD by a fair margin, but ... does it really make any difference? 

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21 hours ago, Steerpike said:

Is the concept of RAMdisk still valid with SSD?  I mean, I guess RAM is still faster than SSD by a fair margin, but ... does it really make any difference? 

It certainly doesn't have the speed difference that existed in the "old days". A quick Google search shows benchmarks of 5-10 times faster than SSD (vs 50-200X for a spinning disk). I do a lot of temporary file manipulations, playing around with images, audio files, and more. By using a RamDisk, it's fast, it's not creating wear & tear on the SSD, and it makes it easy to wipe out when I'm done.

XPS 17, 64GB RAM, 2 4TB SSD

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I just got my XPS17 (9710) and really like the BIG SCREEN! I am especially pleased that the physical machine size is no bigger than my Samsung 15.6" laptop, so it will fit in my backpack. The new one is a bit heavier than my 15.6", which is a bummer, but it's not terribly heavy (I really wanted the LG Gram for this reason but could not cope with the 10-key / numeric keypad, or the glossy screen)

I love the 'rubbery' feel of the inside keyboard surround (where your wrists rest). On my old laptop, this was cold, hard metal and was uncomfortable. 

I am a bit disappointed in the keyboard, though. I chose this laptop specifically because it did not have a '10-key' / numeric keypad on the right. But what I didn't realize is, they've even killed the single column of buttons that included 'Pg Up', 'Pg Dn', Home, End. I REALLY like having those dedicated keys. I see they are available as 'Fn' key options, so I'll just have to get used to that. I also REALLY don't like that they put the 'power' button where the 'delete' button is on 99.9% of keyboards. I instinctively reach for the top-right-most key for 'delete', so I'm going to have to re-learn that one.  Also, I don't like the way the bottom row of keys (including the space bar) is almost right up against the keyboard surround, and the keys are sunken down to the point where I cannot 'feel' where the keys are, exactly. I find my thumb is hitting the 'surround' rather than the spacebar. Something else I'll no doubt get used to.  At least it's not as difficult as switching to/from a Mac keyboard!

I'm thrilled to have a laptop that has USB-C power, and will work with my universal docking station. 

The screen brightness is insane, if I set it to maximum! I mean, it's literally blinding when on full brightness!  Should work well outside. And the screen is so 'flat'/matt (not mirrored / reflective at all). Note, I bought the FHD+ / non-touch on purpose for this reason. 

And I haven't heard the fans at all, other than when I first installed one-drive. Certainly when sitting at idle, and just random web browsing, or office product use, I hear absolutely nothing, which is great. So far, so good ... 

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10 hours ago, Steerpike said:

But what I didn't realize is, they've even killed the single column of buttons that included 'Pg Up', 'Pg Dn', Home, End. I REALLY like having those dedicated keys. I see they are available as 'Fn' key options, so I'll just have to get used to that.

Ditto. My previous laptop, XPS 15, was also this way, so I'm used to it by now. But the one before that did have the dedicated keys, and that was a tough transition.

One thing I did that helped... I use a Logitech MX mouse, that has buttons all over it. I programmed the two small triangular buttons, just above the thumb rest, as PGUP & PGDN keys. Really handy!

Good luck, and enjoy!

XPS 17, 64GB RAM, 2 4TB SSD

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On 2/10/2022 at 11:46 PM, Steerpike said:

But what I didn't realize is, they've even killed the single column of buttons that included 'Pg Up', 'Pg Dn', Home, End. I REALLY like having those dedicated keys.

Poking in with my Precision 7560 experience once again.  The keyboard layout appears similar — Precision does have the numeric keypad but the same issue with the four keys mentioned here.

 

I used SharpKeys to remap the keys.  I'm not quite using the config pictured there.  What I settled on is:

 

Right Alt → Pg Up
Right Ctrl → Pg Dn


(I rarely use these keys so sacrificing them to get dedicated PgUp/PgDn seems fine.)

 

I have "Fn lock" disabled so that the top row of keys function as F1-F12 and not as volume control, etc.  So, more mappings:

 

F11 → Home
F12 → End


(This allows me to use these keys as labeled but the F1-F10 keys are available without Fn press.)

 

Insert → F11
Calculator → F12


(So I can access these keys without Fn press.  I use F11 for "full screen" in some apps, and F12 for browser developer tools.  Though I realize that XPS doesn't have the "Calculator" key ...)

 

Home → Insert
End → Calculator


(So that the Insert and Calculator keys are not "lost", even though I never use them.  They are effectively available with Fn+F11 and Fn+F12.)

Maybe some variation of this will work for you.

 

One more thing that I am not using is, I noticed that on Dell systems, if you press Fn+Windows it does a "right Windows key" press and not a "left Windows key" press.  So, you could map "right Windows key" to something and then access that key with Fn+Windows.

 

SharpKeys requires a logout/login (or reboot) every time that you make a change to the mappings.  Mappings can also be lost when a Windows "feature upgrade" is applied, so keep a note of your config once you are satisfied with it.  You could also try the keyboard remapping function in Microsoft PowerToys instead of SharpKeys, which works immediately, but I found that it doesn't work in all apps (Remote Desktop in particular is an issue).

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Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
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Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Storage Spaces)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

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Well, that didn't take long - I have managed to brick my XPS17 🙂 . 

Last night I plugged the XPS into my 'Kensington universal dock', which is an older USB-C dock I had for a laptop no longer in my possession. Dock has a basic 27" FHD monitor, keyboard and mouse attached. I worked for about an hour in 'docked mode' last night, observing how 'scaling' changed as I "mirrored" vs "extended" the display. I undocked a few times, and plugged in the external monitor through the supplied HDMI / USB-C dongle, to see if it worked any differently, but everything was the same (this was giving me confidence that my universal dock was working well). 

I then left it alone overnight (docked, lid closed) to test the sleep/hibernate stuff I've documented elsewhere (sleep / hibernate / wake all worked last night, during some brief tests). 

I woke today to see pre-boot bios warning on my external monitor about the charger not being adequate (the dock has a 90W charger, not the 130W as supplied by Dell). Warning just says it will not charge as fast, so I ignored it.  It offered to let me view BIOS, so I took the opportunity to step through all the BIOS screens for my general education. When done, I was very careful NOT to save any changes as I didn't want to go down the path of BIOS changes yet. I did note, in the BIOS log, that the device had powered up at around 4:30am for no obvious reason. 

After reviewing (but not changing) BIOS, I exited, and next thing I recall, the front light (in front of the trackpad) was blinking 2 red, 8 white flashes, continuously, with nothing on the screen (external or internal).  I unplugged from the dock, and did a 'press/hold' of the power button (~10 secs) and that seemed to shut everything down.  But now, whether on battery or on the Dell supplied USB-C charger, A short-press of the power button has the following result:

  1. brief appearance of Dell logo; brief lighting of the front light; keyboard backlight on
  2. screen and front light go dark; keyboard backlight stays on; 
  3. (brief re-appearance of Dell logo; brief re-appearance of front light) - this didn't happen second/subsequent times
  4. after about 10 secs, a brief audible 'chime' of sorts (this is not consistent). 
  5. then nothing; everything dark. Pressing a key or touching the trackpad activates the keyboard backlight, but nothing else. So it is 'on' in a way, but nothing on screen.  

I tried connecting an external monitor through the supplied HDMI/USB-C dongle, and also re-connecting the 'dock', but no change. I tried with/without Dell supplied charger connected; no change. 

A long-press of power (~10 secs) appears to 'kill' it and I can restart the whole process above again, but nothing on the screen other than the brief appearance of the Dell logo.  I'm not sure how to re-create the '2 red, 8 white' flash sequence now, but I've managed to see it about 3 times. 

I can't get into BIOS either; F2 at the time the Dell logo appears has no effect (multiple, fast presses; also tried Fn+F2, even though I think that's unecessary). 

So I guess it's time to find out just how good that free 1-year Dell Premium Support is! I should probably spin this off into another thread ...

Edit to add - just got done chatting with a dell support rep (via whatsapp). They are going to send out a tech with a new motherboard. I'm not too happy about this - is the machine so delicate that it can be 'blown' by connecting to a universal dock? The machine worked fine while docked for hours, the issue arose somewhere after 'sleeping' overnight, and/or during its unexpected 'wake' at 4am, or, when I powered it up this morning. At that point, I was still able to step through all the BIOS screens, so it seems it was working fine even then. 

This is the manual - XPS 17 9710 Service Manual (dell.com)    

and the 2 red, 8 white flashes means "Display failure - EC detection of power rail failure" (page 73). 

I also learned that I could press D plus power button to get the display self-test (which just showed white, red, green, blue screens for me). Strange that I cannot get into BIOS (F2 on power up) nor diagnostics (F12 on power up). 

 

 

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Given the issues mentioned in the previous post (blown video hardware), what do people recommend for a 'docking' solution? I'm a bit wary of continuing to use the Kensington "USB-C Universal Dock with Power" (SD4600P) although I don't see why it wouldn't work.  All I need is a convenient way to attach a single external HDMI (FHD) monitor, a keyboard and a mouse, and be able to charge the laptop at the same time. The Dell proprietary 'docks' seem to run around $250, which is crazy for such a simple function (Amazon.com: Dell Dock- WD19S 90w Power Delivery - 130w AC - 90 W : Electronics).  Looks like I paid around $140 for the Kensington solution - Amazon.com: Kensington SD4600P USB-C Docking Station with Power Delivery Charging for 2015/2016 MacBook Retina 12”, Chromebook Pixel, Dell XPS 13” 9350/XPS 15” 9550, Dell Precision 5510 (K38231WW) : Electronics .  

Should I just put down my recent issue to bad luck, and continue using it? 

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1 hour ago, Steerpike said:

Given the issues mentioned in the previous post (blown video hardware), what do people recommend for a 'docking' solution? I'm a bit wary of continuing to use the Kensington "USB-C Universal Dock with Power" (SD4600P) although I don't see why it wouldn't work.  All I need is a convenient way to attach a single external HDMI (FHD) monitor, a keyboard and a mouse, and be able to charge the laptop at the same time. The Dell proprietary 'docks' seem to run around $250, which is crazy for such a simple function (Amazon.com: Dell Dock- WD19S 90w Power Delivery - 130w AC - 90 W : Electronics).  Looks like I paid around $140 for the Kensington solution - Amazon.com: Kensington SD4600P USB-C Docking Station with Power Delivery Charging for 2015/2016 MacBook Retina 12”, Chromebook Pixel, Dell XPS 13” 9350/XPS 15” 9550, Dell Precision 5510 (K38231WW) : Electronics .  

Should I just put down my recent issue to bad luck, and continue using it? 

Look on Amazon for a Dell WD15 dock.  $135.  It's a bit older but it should work.  It can do 130W power delivery, and it supports 2× 1080p displays at 60 Hz (plus USB, audio, Ethernet).

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Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Storage Spaces)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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6 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

Look on Amazon for a Dell WD15 dock.  $135.  It's a bit older but it should work.  It can do 130W power delivery, and it support 2× 1080p displays at 60 Hz (plus USB, audio, Ethernet).

Thanks for that. Found this - Amazon.com: Dell WD15 Monitor Dock 4K with 130W Adapter, USB-C, (450-AFGM, 6GFRT) : Electronics . for $115. Looks like the correct one.  It's interesting that neither the pictures of the device nor the description show or say anything about the 'USB-C' charging aspect. Only the last picture (showing the device on a desk with a laptop and displays) actually confirms that you can connect from the side of the 'dock' to the laptop.  They don't even include a 'USB-C to USB-C' cable, which is presumably what goes from the side of the 'dock' to the laptop (at least as indicated by 'what's in the box'). 

 

Regarding power supplies; My current laptop has a 40W power supply and is small and light. I kinda assumed that with newer laptops being lower power than ever, the power supplies would be somewhat lower powered also (and thus, smaller / lighter) but the XPS 17 ships with a 130W power supply that is decidedly big and heavy!  I presume they are providing a 130W power supply to support fast charging of the battery. I presume also that I can buy a low-power USB-C power supply and it will work just fine to power the Dell for 'steady state' use - sitting on the desk, already charged?  I found this as a top-rated lower-power charger - Amazon.com: Nekteck 60W USB C Charger [GaN Tech], PD 3.0 Fast Charger[USB-IF & ETL Certified] with Foldable Plug, Compatible with MacBook Air/Pro, iPad Air/Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, Switch, Galaxy, Pixel and More. : Cell Phones & Accessories - would this be sufficient to keep the Dell charged, and perhaps add a slow charge if the battery needed it?  I very rarely use the laptop on battery anyway so my battery is almost always fully charged. 

 

And a forum meta-question ... how do I 'like' a post, or give appreciation/reputation to someone for a helpful post? I'm staring at these posts and nothing is obvious ... I'm probably going blind ... UPDATE - found it!  You hover the mouse over the pure white-space to the far right of the 'quote' button.  There is absolutely no visual cue to this, at least none that I can see!  A totally hidden hotspot! 

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8 hours ago, Steerpike said:

Thanks for that. Found this - Amazon.com: Dell WD15 Monitor Dock 4K with 130W Adapter, USB-C, (450-AFGM, 6GFRT) : Electronics . for $115. Looks like the correct one.

 

This one has a 180W power adapter included.  I'm not sure how important it is but I think you'd want some overhead so it can give a full 130W of power to the system.  (The 130W version would be more appropriate for Dell systems that ship with a 90W power adapter.)  https://smile.amazon.com/Dell-Monitor-Adapter-450-AEUO-4W2HW/dp/B01C8PHWQY

 

There's no USB-C to USB-C cable.  The dock cable is "permanently attached" to the dock and there is only one USB-C end that you have to worry about.  (Most of the pictures don't show this but the one with it mounted behind a monitor does.)

 

The 130W power supply is not just for charging the battery fast.  Today's mobile CPUs can use over 90W of power for turbo boost.  If you connect an underpowered PSU then it could throttle the CPU performance.

 

The like button is more obvious if you switch to a dark theme.  (There is a "Theme" drop-down at the VERY bottom of the page.)  They're working on fixing this...

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Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Storage Spaces)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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5 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

...

The 130W power supply is not just for charging the battery fast.  Today's mobile CPUs can use over 90W of power for turbo boost.  If you connect an underpowered PSU then it could throttle the CPU performance.

...

I have a 'Kill-A-Watt' meter and will start taking some measurements on the XPS as soon as my laptop is repaired (hopefully next week).  One goal is to have a 'spare' charger that I can carry in my backpack for use when traveling, and that's why I'm trying to find one that is smaller/lighter than the very heavy 130W guy that came with the laptop.  All I need is something to 'keep it running' while doing basic things like web browsing or checking email on the road.  

 

I can imagine that, if I had the i9 processor, dedicated NVidia GPU, and UHD+ display, and I ran the screen at full brightness, and started from a fully discharged battery, then perhaps the 130W PSU is appropriate but since I got the i5, integrated graphics, and FHD+ display, and I run the screen at a low brightness, and I always keep the battery fully charged, then I can imagine a 60W PSU should be sufficient to 'keep the laptop running' while on an occasional trip away from home. I just want to be sure I'm not doing any damage by doing so. 

 

I just plugged my current Samsung 15.6" laptop with 45W charger into the Kill-A-Watt meter. It shows me that at idle, screen off, battery fully charged, it uses 8W. With screen on, at idle, 15W. Max brightness screen (which is not too bright) - 17W. When I play a game that stresses the system, 34W.   I then discharged the battery some, and re-did all the above tests; now the charger is drawing the full 45W even with screen off, and obviously it stays at 45W as I ramp up activities. So I can imagine, if I were to play a game at full brightness while the battery is charging, it's going to take a LONG time to fully charge - but I don't care in my use case. 

 

Intuitively I'm a bit baffled by how come a more modern processor / system is expected to consume more power under 'basic' conditions (browsing, email, etc).  The big efforts over the past several years has been to reduce power consumption, thereby enabling thinner / lighter laptops. Anyway - once I get the XPS repaired I'll run the same tests and report back.  Would this warrant its own thread, do you think? 

 

 

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I just got my XPS 17 back in operation with a new motherboard. I've been taking some readings of power consumption and will update that here later. 


But for now - BITLOCKER!  I have Windows 11 Home OS. It was my understanding that win 11 home did not include bitlocker.  But when the tech installed the new motherboard, and fired up my laptop, a bitlocker screen popped up and wanted the 'key'. To get it I had to use my other laptop to log into my Microsoft Account and retrieve it. I was able to successfully log in after that. I had no idea my drive was bitlocker encrypted and thus had made no efforts to keep a copy of the 'key'. Luckily I had another working computer on hand! 

 

Disk Manager (diskmgmt.msc) confirms the OS dive (C:) is bitlocker encrypted. 

 

But when I go into control panel, device encryption, there's no actual mention of the word 'bitlocker' and the only option presented is 'back up your recovery key'. 

 

'elevenforum.com' suggests that if I have bitlocker then there should be an option to remove bitlocker encryption. But it also says bitlocker drive encryption is only available in Win 11 Pro, Enterprise, etc (not Home). This 'elevenforum.com' page tells you how to add 'turn off bitlocker' to the context menu; I'm about to go through that whole process, but does anyone here know why a Win 11 home system would be using bitlocker, and then, why would they have encrypted the drive by default without telling me / asking me? 

 

I'm not 100% opposed to having my drive bitlocker encrypted, but I certainly want to be fully 'ready' for that situation - like, having a copy of the recovery key on hand! 

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5 hours ago, Steerpike said:

But for now - BITLOCKER!

 

It's probably "Device Encryption", a minimal version of BitLocker.  See: https://www.elevenforum.com/t/turn-on-or-off-device-encryption-in-windows-11.1424/

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Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Storage Spaces)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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I decided not to use BitLocker. Instead, I created a TrueCrypt volume, and all my sensitive data is stored there. I only open it (AKA mount it) when I need to use that data.

 

When I heard TrueCrypt was shutting down, I made sure to d/l the final version.

XPS 17, 64GB RAM, 2 4TB SSD

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1 hour ago, astrohip said:

I decided not to use BitLocker. Instead, I created a TrueCrypt volume, and all my sensitive data is stored there. I only open it (AKA mount it) when I need to use that data.

 

When I heard TrueCrypt was shutting down, I made sure to d/l the final version.

 

TrueCrypt was discontinued the better part of a decade ago and may have unfixed security vulnerabilities (example: article).  VeraCrypt is a fork of TrueCrypt that is still maintained.  https://www.veracrypt.fr/en/Home.html

Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
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Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Storage Spaces)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

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  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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19 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

 

TrueCrypt was discontinued the better part of a decade ago and may have unfixed security vulnerabilities (example: article).  VeraCrypt is a fork of TrueCrypt that is still maintained.  https://www.veracrypt.fr/en/Home.html

Thanks, off to take a look at VeraCrypt.

 

I'm aware of the TrueCrypt vulnerability, and it is so obscure, and the chances of it affecting me so miniscule, that I'm willing to take that risk.

 

Nonetheless, I'll explore VeraCrypt. Thanks for sharing that info.

XPS 17, 64GB RAM, 2 4TB SSD

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On 2/18/2022 at 5:00 AM, Aaron44126 said:

 

It's probably "Device Encryption", a minimal version of BitLocker.  See: https://www.elevenforum.com/t/turn-on-or-off-device-encryption-in-windows-11.1424/

Perfect, that was very helpful, thanks!  All I had to do to disable it was go to settings / Privacy and Security / Device Encryption, then deselect the 'device encrypt' item.  Interestingly, it said it would take some time so I stepped away, and when I returned, not only was the job apparently complete, but the entire settings dialog was gone!  Is this a new Win 11 'feature', I wonder, to auto-dismiss dialog boxes/etc when an action completes? To me, when I kick off a long-running process like this, I want to see a 'confirmation' dialog sitting on the screen when I return, not 'nothing'.  I'll just have to keep an eye on this to see if it's a common behavior. 

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On 2/18/2022 at 9:09 AM, astrohip said:

I decided not to use BitLocker. Instead, I created a TrueCrypt volume, and all my sensitive data is stored there. I only open it (AKA mount it) when I need to use that data.

 

When I heard TrueCrypt was shutting down, I made sure to d/l the final version.

 

I literally had a double-take when I read this because I thought it was MY REPLY - I also use TC to create an encrypted volume, put everything I care about it inside!  I typically mount it manually on boot (entering my password) and then leave it mounted until the next crash / restart.  Over the years, my encrypted volume has grown in size and is now around 30 Gig.  I store all 'data' files in there - tax returns, spreadsheets, downloaded statements, business docs, etc.  It gives me a reasonably transportable (copyable to thumb drive) self-contained container for key documents. I intentionally don't store my photo collection or my video collection, which is over 500 GB these days, in an encrypted volume. 

 

When I was an IT manager dealing with hundreds of users, bitlocker seemed to do a good job and was generally reliable, but when it failed, it failed spectacularly and we had some major events.  We had end-users in the field who lost everything. Trying to talk them through device recovery over the phone was a pain.  I don't like the fact that when you boot up, your encrypted data is just 'there' - no need to authenticate. So if your laptop is stolen, and your login password (or now, PIN!) is hacked, all your data is available. In my scenario, Anyone can boot up the laptop but they don't get the data unless they know the TrueCrypt password. 

 

I can accept that there is a slight privacy concern in having the OS volume unencrypted - temporary files/caches, browser cookies, but I feel better not relying on something that is so un-transparent!  I like the 'warm and fuzzy' feeling of entering my TueCrypt password when I boot up! 

 

23 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

 

TrueCrypt was discontinued the better part of a decade ago and may have unfixed security vulnerabilities (example: article).  VeraCrypt is a fork of TrueCrypt that is still maintained.  https://www.veracrypt.fr/en/Home.html

 

3 hours ago, astrohip said:

Thanks, off to take a look at VeraCrypt.

 

I'm aware of the TrueCrypt vulnerability, and it is so obscure, and the chances of it affecting me so miniscule, that I'm willing to take that risk.

 

Nonetheless, I'll explore VeraCrypt. Thanks for sharing that info.

When TC first bit the dust, circa 2014, I learned of VeraCrypt but it wasn't clear at that time if it was destined to become the defacto leader in the space. I guess by now it has!  I made the decision at the time that TC was 'good enough' for my needs, but I think at this point, re-looking at VC is wise! 

 

 

 

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On 2/11/2022 at 8:40 AM, Aaron44126 said:

Poking in with my Precision 7560 experience once again.  The keyboard layout appears similar — Precision does have the numeric keypad but the same issue with the four keys mentioned here.

 

I used SharpKeys to remap the keys.  I'm not quite using the config pictured there.  What I settled on is:

 

Right Alt → Pg Up
Right Ctrl → Pg Dn


(I rarely use these keys so sacrificing them to get dedicated PgUp/PgDn seems fine.)

 

I have "Fn lock" disabled so that the top row of keys function as F1-F12 and not as volume control, etc.  So, more mappings:

 

F11 → Home
F12 → End


(This allows me to use these keys as labeled but the F1-F10 keys are available without Fn press.)

 

Insert → F11
Calculator → F12


(So I can access these keys without Fn press.  I use F11 for "full screen" in some apps, and F12 for browser developer tools.  Though I realize that XPS doesn't have the "Calculator" key ...)

 

Home → Insert
End → Calculator


(So that the Insert and Calculator keys are not "lost", even though I never use them.  They are effectively available with Fn+F11 and Fn+F12.)

Maybe some variation of this will work for you.

 

One more thing that I am not using is, I noticed that on Dell systems, if you press Fn+Windows it does a "right Windows key" press and not a "left Windows key" press.  So, you could map "right Windows key" to something and then access that key with Fn+Windows.

 

SharpKeys requires a logout/login (or reboot) every time that you make a change to the mappings.  Mappings can also be lost when a Windows "feature upgrade" is applied, so keep a note of your config once you are satisfied with it.  You could also try the keyboard remapping function in Microsoft PowerToys instead of SharpKeys, which works immediately, but I found that it doesn't work in all apps (Remote Desktop in particular is an issue).

After a few days of limited use of the XPS, I have found that I really miss home/end, and page up/down. I've already restored the behavior of the 'Function keys' to their rightful state (that is, I've disabled Fn Key lock) so I'd have to use 'Fn+F11' and 'Fn+F12', for home/end, which sucks. 

 

But I did discover that Fn+Right Arrow does 'end', and Fn+Left Arrow does 'Home'. This is almost an improvement on having dedicated keys elsewhere, since I use Ctrl+Right Arrow all the time (to step through a paragraph one word at a time). I'm surprised they don't mark the left/right arrow keys to denote this, since they do mark the up/down arrow keys with the Fn alternative (Fn+Up Arrow is 'page up' and Fn+Down Arrow is 'page down'). 

 

I'm disappointed that they made 'Prt Scn' a 'Fn' key function now; I use Prt Scn a LOT (well, I use "Alt-Prt Scn" a lot, when documenting situations). Since I've restored the Function key row to its proper purpose, I now have to use Alt+Fn+Prt Scn to do screen copy.  I COULD use SharpKeys to remap F10-> Prt Scn, But I make occasional use of Shift-F10 for 'right click context menu' and not sure if this would mess with that or not. I decided to use SharpKeys to remap 'Right Ctrl' to 'Prt Scn', since I NEVER use 'Right-Ctrl'. Let's hope I can remember to use 'Alt+Right Ctrl' on this laptop ... 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Steerpike said:

After a few days of limited use of the XPS, I have found that I really miss home/end, and page up/down. I've already restored the behavior of the 'Function keys' to their rightful state (that is, I've disabled Fn Key lock) so I'd have to use 'Fn+F11' and 'Fn+F12', for home/end, which sucks.

 

Ah, I forgot about Fn+Left/Right for home/end, but I was really frustrated with that because I tend to use shift+home/shift+end for "select to beginning/end of line"... and occasionally even Ctrl+Shift+Home/End for "select to beginning/end of document"... and throwing more keys into the mix for those combinations just drives me crazy.

 

I also use Alt+PrntScrn a lot but having it as a Fn key doesn't bother me, probably because I'm already used to it from prior laptops.

 

One thing that I wanted to mention is that you can use the dedicated keyboard "menu key" in place of Shift+F10 to bring up the right-click context menu.  On this system it happens to be mapped to Fn+right ctrl.

Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Storage Spaces)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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21 hours ago, Steerpike said:

When TC first bit the dust, circa 2014, I learned of VeraCrypt but it wasn't clear at that time if it was destined to become the defacto leader in the space. I guess by now it has!  I made the decision at the time that TC was 'good enough' for my needs, but I think at this point, re-looking at VC is wise! 

 The TrueCrypt vulnerabilities mainly had to do with (as I understand it, and I could be wrong) two areas: One was if you used total disk encryption, and the other was the weakness of the encryption.

 

I use a mounted volume, which I only mount when needed, so #1 doesn't affect me. And my data isn't super secret stuff--just misc files you don't want someone else scrolling thru. So the fact the encryption could be broken in days instead of years was a non-issue to me.

 

I did look at VeraCrypt, and it appears to be a TrueCrypt clone, but with all the issues resolved. Plus it's an ongoing supported program. But it's just not an issue for me, so for now, I'll stay with TC.

XPS 17, 64GB RAM, 2 4TB SSD

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