The past five weeks have been a blur. Spring soccer is in full swing, and my time at the keyboard has been limited to mostly work. A PC upgrade at work started a trickle-down upgrade, and with things starting to settle it’s probably worth a few notes.
Swapping out the work laptop
My old work laptop, a Dell Precision 7510, was about a year over our typical 4 year cycle on hardware. I am usually not one to swap right at 4 years: if the hardware is working for me, I’ll run it till it dies.
Well, I was clearly killing the 7510: Every so often I would get random shutdowns that were triggered by the thermal protection framework. In other words, to quote Ricky Bobby, “I’m on fire!!!” As it had become more frequent, I put in a request for a new laptop. Additionally, since my 7510 was so old, it couldn’t be redistributed, so I requested to buy it back. My personal laptop, and HP Envy 17, is approaching the 11 year mark, so I believe I’ve used it enough.
I was provisioned a Dell Precision 7550. As it came to me clean with Windows 10, I figured I’d upgrade it to Windows 11 before I reinstalled my apps and tools. That way, if I broke it, I would know before I wasted my time. The upgrade was pretty easy, and outside of some random issues with MS Teams and audio setup, I was back at work with minimal disruption.
On to the “new old” laptop
My company approved the buyback of my old Precision 7510, but I did have to ship it back to have it wiped and prepped. Once I got it back, I turned it on and….. boot media failure.
Well, crap. As it turns out, the M.2 SSD died on the 7510. So, off to Amazon to pick up a 1TB replacement. A day later, new M.2 in hand, I was off to the races.
I put in my USB drive with Windows 11 media, booted, and got the wonderful message that my hardware did not meet requirements. As it turns out, my TPM module was an old firmware version (1.2 instead of the required 2.0), and I was running an old processor that is not in the officially supported list for Windows 11.
So I installed Windows 10 and tried to boot, but, well, that just failed. As it turns out, the BIOS was setup for legacy boot and insecure boot, which I needed for Windows 11. And, after changing the BIOS, my installed version of Windows 10 wouldn’t boot. I suppose I could have taken the time to work on the boot loader to get it working… but I just re-installed Windows 10 again.
So after the second install of Windows 10, I was able to update the TPM Firmware to 2.0, bypass the CPU check, and install Windows 11. I started installing my standard library of tools, and things seemed great.
Still on fire
Windows 11, however, seems to have exacerbated the overheating issue. It came to a head when I tried to install Jetbrains Rider: every install caused the machine to overheat.
I found a few different solutions in separate forums, but the working solution was to disable the “Turbo Boost” setting in the BIOS. My assumption is that is some sort of overclocking, but removing that setting has stabilized my system.
So far, so good with Windows 11. Of all the changes, the ability to match contents of the taskbar to the monitor in a multi-monitor display is great, but I am still getting used to that functionality. Organizationally it is accurate, but muscle memory is hard to break.
Try to clean your fans & heatsinks. Laptops are notorious lint-suckers.
That was one of the first things I tried, but to no avail. I may go the route of a fresh coat of thermal paste to see if that helps.