I have had 2 experiences with Alienware support .
The first was when I bought an Alienware Area-51M 766. It was heavy but high res screen with a 3.41 gig processor and looked cool. Problem was a BSOD (blue screen of death) on the first start up out of the box!. And then it might start again after that. But it continued to BSOD whenever the machine was fully shut down and then started up.
Support said to send it back. I said I have to use it for work and would like to know why it was sent in this state? I then tested the RAM since that was the BSOD message that there was a RAM error. Seems when I changed the two 512mb modules around but it would still BSOD. The solution was to only use one RAM module and there was no problem. I eventually bought a 1 gig RAM module. But first did a little test with one 512mb in one slot and the 1 gig RAM in the other. This worked! Seemed it would BSOD if the RAM modules were equal, not if they were of different values.
Now 2.6 years later I wanted to format the hard drive and install Vista. I first formated the drive and installed the original Windows XP Pro set-up CD that came with the Alienware. It included the drivers for all the components. Vista Ultimate upgrade installed but complained that the Nvidia GeForce FX 5700 graphics driver was not compatable and the standard VGA driver will be used.
I contacted Alienware support but again they balked, they said ‘please contact Microsoft for any updates to the Nvidia drivers’ we don’t support the driver updates.
So again I had to find my own solution. Seems Nvidia uses a universal driver for all it’s graphic cards but during the install process there is an x.ini file that lists the supported graphics cards. Mine was not one in the list of upgraded drivers on the Nvidia website. I found that there was a website, not one from Alienware or Nvidia that provided a customized .ini file for the driver installer that tells the installer to install the driver for the previously unlisted drivers. It’s unfortunate that Alienware support team can’t provide this information or provide the fixed .ini file for it’s previously released (and high priced) products.
Now I have a corrected Alienware machine with Vista that seems to now work fine and a screen finally at the correct aspect ratio and resolution. No thanks to Alienware support. I’m turning it into a game/TV machine. I doubt I would recommend an Alienware machine or every buy one ever again. I could get 2 Dell’s for their prices.
All of my old XP drivers from Alienware seemed to work fine, even though they aren’t made for Vista. But when I first tried the install Vista and Netgear said my wireless card wasn’t compatable and it didn’t work so I bought a new one (WN511B) and that seemed fine. When I reformated the hard drive to clear all the junk and install a clean XP system I used the new network card. Then I upgraded to Vista. But I couldn’t connect to the internet. I could see the wireless modem but no connection. I tried to reinstall but nothing. I though maybe it’s because between this and last time I changed my modem from WEP to WPA encryption but that surely couldn’t be the problem so I installed the old uncompatible Netgear card and WOW it worked… flawlessly… So who figures I’m just out £89.
And it seems not only me who has had graphics driver and wireless card problems with Vista.. the BBC had similar problems.