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DELL XPS 9520 Hibernation issue and resolution

A while ago, I filmed a YouTube video reviewing the new DELL XPS 9520 (a high-performing Windows laptop with a sturdy build and OLED screen). You can view this video on my YouTube channel:

It's an excellent machine, but not without small flaws. This is not my first XPS, and when it went to GA, you can expect that certain issues might not have been fixed in their entirety or could have been overlooked (like a thermal throttling problem in some previous models). When it comes to 9520, I've spent too much personal time resolving the laptop hibernation issue, and I decided to write an article about my findings and a workaround that worked for me. Here's what I found:

  • To my regret, DELL Premium support didn't help. All they do is walk you through their standard checklist, which is very time-consuming and irritating. What's interesting, they mentioned that the brand new laptop should not have come with the RAID-On option pre-selected. As you can guess, any changes to that arrangement render the system unusable; it simply stops loading, which is no surprise as you change the underlying mode of operating SATA devices. What's curious, there's a way to do that switch without reinstalling the OS. I found this Gist extremely useful, and it helped me a lot in my investigation. The bottom line is that switching from 'Raid-On' to AHCI is quite straightforward, but the reverse operation is quite complex for an average user
  • Another finding - switching back and forth from Raid-on to AHCI and vice-versa does not affect hibernation. At first, I thought it was because it suddenly started working with the fresh OS installation in AHCI mode. However, it was a false positive, and after a while, once I started installing stuff on my laptop, the hibernation got mangled again
  • I took another strategy, as I wanted to dig to the bottom of this issue and started installing software and updates one by one, keeping an eye on the Windows Event Log. Yes, that was a very irritating exercise, but what I found is invaluable - the windows updates are the culprit
  • So far, I have identified two updates that render the Hibernation mechanism unusable in Windows 11 on this particular laptop:
    • KB5015814 - Cumulative Windows 11 update
    • KB5016629 (Security update) and this one KB5015882 is under question
  • My observations:
    • The funniest part is that only DELL XPS 9520 is affected. My Windows 11 desktop that has exactly the same set of updates installed works just fine. Moreover, a colleague of mine with a Razor Blade 15 laptop has exactly the same OS and updates and the hibernation work absolutely fine
    • The disk operating mode (AHCI or RAID-on) does not matter - it works for both if these updates are not present in the system (I checked that with fresh Windows 11 installations)
  • Things to try if you face the same issue with Hibernation:
    • The only actionable workaround would be complete uninstallation of the specified updates. Keeping Windows without those security updates is not an option, so whoever owns a DELL laptop and has this problem should demand from @support and @DELL-Cares to resolve the issue asap
    • In order to stop Windows from nagging you to install these updates (and btw., Windows 'has a habit of installing critical updates without your explicit approval), you can use this article I found very useful. It boils down to leveraging 'wushowhide.diagcab' util, which Microsoft hid from you, so you can't disable the updates. But still, you can freely download it from the MS site (no worries, it's safe) and hide the updates from the Update center

And finally, this is the synopsis of the issue (for the DELL support benefit):

  • Even though Hibernate is activated in Windows 11 and no other changes are done to  Power Options, the hibernation stops working right away (or eventually)
  • If I change the Power Options, i.e., choosing what the closing lid does (i.e., hibernate in my case), the laptop hibernates but does not wake up from hibernation properly. Opening the lid results in the system shutting down.
  • The same goes if you hibernate from the Start menu (Start --> Power --> Hibernate). Pressing the power button to start the laptop after hibernation results in the system shutdown
  • That said, no matter what option you choose to hibernate the laptop, it results in abnormal failure (you can look at the Windows Event Logs) when the laptop doesn't wake up from hibernation properly. This is what I see in the event logs (but this is definitely up to DELL Technical team to look at and identify why exactly these updates are causing the Hibernation issue):

That's it, guys. I hope it will help you as it helped me. However, I'm looking forward to the definitive resolution of this issue, simply because you can't keep skipping critical security updates for the OS

Comments (2) -

  • Jim
    Thank you for the guidance. Saved me a lot of time!
  • Thanks for doing the research Alex. This problem is really annoying me, and was relieved it wasn't just me.

    Tested out your theory and I can confirm it actually worked. Sadly my Windows 11 got really confused after going backwards in patches, but at least hibernating worked for a short time, until I repatched Windows again.

    Everyone please join/sign in on this support thread at Dell, so they see that this is an issue for more than a few of us.

    www.dell.com/.../101443

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