Saturday, October 3, 2009

Alienware M17X Stealth Mode

Update 2018: I've realized a lot of people are still downloading this app, so I've cut down the TLDR and proof-read the text a bit. I have no idea if the app still works, as I no longer own an Alienware nor Windows (switched to mbp instead).

This app is made for Alienware's stealth mode, to ease up it's toggle on/off process. Stealth mode is a way for Alienware laptops to switch between dedicated GPUs and integrated ones, plus some performance enhancements. Use stealth mode when you want your laptop battery to last more than 10 minutes and full power when gaming.

Download: Stealth toggle

At the time of writing this program, Alienware's stealth mode process (OSD_main.exe) consisted on a few pop-up messages, with the text being quite bad and screen flickering between blind attempts at toggling it.

The messages were looking like this:
"Stealth Mode access detected. Choose Yes to enable or No to Cancel":

Then another message box (no cancel) says:
"Full Power Mode will be enabled, Press any key to continue."

After the OK the screen flickers black and switches SLIs as primary video cards.

Pressing the button again.... SAME message box as the first one.
No clue what state my laptop is, so I have to press YES!
Then the second message box tells me "Stealth Mode is Enabled". Is it? Only after I press the Ok, the Hybrid Boost goes with the integrated card...
What If I want to cancel going to STEALTH MODE?  Too bad...

And I don't have to mention that sometimes the second message tells you that the system will RESTART and you can't cancel it (even if you click X and not OK, the programmer that made this doesn't check for messagebox result codes, and it continues with reboot, ouch).

After digging through the VB6 library, I saw that Alienware Command Center permits the option of displaying StealthMode state (BUT NOT IN WINDOWS 7!). I looked at the binaries, and suprise, these ones are much better, written in .Net. With a few reflection search, I discovered the methods I need. GetStealthModeState, SetStealthModeState...

I made a small application that looks like this(I don't care about graphics even if it's Alienware) that calls some methods from the CommandCenter assemblies:
It tells me EXACTLY in what state I am. Unfortunately the toggle works but doesn't switch the Hybrid SLIs always...

Alienware could have made a more stylish version of this popup, rater than those BOGUS messageboxes...

DOWNLOAD: If someone wants this exe, I can give it with no warranties or responsibility at all. (use it at your own risk).
*Edit: Since many people asked for it, here it is: Stealth toggle
You need .Net Framework 2.0 for it to work!

Disclaimer for Alienware-Dell: Giving such confusing software for a 3500 EUR laptop is unacceptable. On Windows 7 it doesn't work properly. I used your libraries public methods to make it better. Hope you like it.

Later edit: Included some missing dll files (CCBIOSSUPPORTCOM.dll , AlienLabsTools.dll , ICSharpCode.UAC.dll). These files are the property of Alienware and I haven't tampered with them. I included them for different version compatibility only.

16 comments:

on3eighteen said...

I'd love to try your app.

Cosmin said...

Send me a message on contact at sharpdevel dot com and I'll fw you the exe. Use it at your own risk, I do not want to be held responsible by Dell/Alienware for distributing applications for their machines without written consent.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this important post :)
OK I have Alienware laptop the M17x so far its just a good looking 4K$ peace of junk!...
Anyway I have a Windows 7 (64-bit)installed..and the Stealth mode button (on the very top right corner)is NOT working or doing anything I kept pressing it and nothing happens.
When I got the laptop most of the touch controlled buttons wasn't working so I called the service and the replaced the defected part ...guess what the new part they just replaced wast working 100%..so the changed it again ..now all of them are working except the stealth mode button!!!..WHAT DO I DO PLZ!! this is crazy! a 4k$ laptop that doesn't work 100% out of the box!.

Thanks,

Cosmin said...

Hey,

You can try the app I have put at the end of the post. See if it works when you toggle the buttons. The performance should boost when you are on full power mode and should be as stealth when on shit mode (oh reverse the two s words, it was on purpose :P). What my app doesn't do is to switch the videocards (from the one onboard to the SLI ones if you bought them). You can do that manually from the BIOS graphic settings panel mode.

Also, see if when you press the volume buttons, the window with volume animation appears (blue speaker with a volume scale). I think that is displayed too by OSD_Main app.

See if OSD_Main application is running and if it doesn't make sure you run it with Administrator rights (right click - run as admin).

Wait for your answers.

Anonymous said...

i dont think this works on the new bios,when i start it gives me an exception

System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly 'CCBiosSupportCOM, Version=1.0.48.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=bebb3c8816410241' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

Also if the touch buttons are not working,try running osd_main.exe manually.sometimes it does not autoload on startup.

Anonymous said...

Hey Cosmin, Thank you very much for your app I haven't tried it but it seems that it fixes the issue.
Alienware has replaced the touch part on the very top of the laptop maybe like 2 times now, but still didn't work..I believe its not from the Windows 7 its from the poor quality of the part its self..it works when it wants to work or most of times never works!

Anyway, now they have replaced my system with a new one..its working fine But the laptop they sent is not the same specifications! the RAM I originally ordered is 1333MHz but they send me a 1066MHz lol they are trying to steal my money or what! So now I am waiting for them to call me and fix this.


Thanks

Andrè said...

Hey, I really need this program but it won't work with Windows 7 64 bit.

I can't figure out how to disable the stealth mode so this would really be appreciated

Cosmin said...

Hey Andre,

I currently have Windows7 64 bit, and it works for me. You can't disable StealthMode unless you change the BIOS settings to have it always on the dual SLIs. But you have to consider the fact that when you'll need your laptop to work on battery more than 30 minutes, you will have to change it back first :)

Arjun said...

Great Program. Just tried it and tested it. Works perfectly. No errors. I am running Win Ultimate 64 bit.

Anonymous said...

Can you post the Source Code? Could be useful. Thx

Cosmin said...

Use Reflector from RedGste to visualize the few lines of code of interest.

Grzegorz Pasek said...

Hello !
I'd like to say thank you for this small app.
It is MUCH better than the one built in - because it does it's purpose instead of just communicating.
One more time - thank you

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous -- I bought an M17 less than a month after you posted, with most of the options maxed out, and it only cost me $2.5K. Who did you buy yours from? Certainly not Alienware at that price!

Anonymous said...

I'd like you to know that when Alienware tech support was remoting into my computer this was one of the tools they used!

Cosmin said...

Makes me proud a bit. I don't understand why they haven't changed yet that OSD app still with popups and made in VB6. :)

Wojciech Kosior said...

This is exactly what I needed. Thanks a lot!