Reports of this issue are popping up across the internet, and Microsoft has just responded confirming that the update is blocked for certain Alienware models. Namely the Alienware 13 R3, Alienware 15 R3, Alienware 15 R4, Alienware 17 R4 and Alienware 17 R5 laptops.
Owners of these machines will get the following message when they attempt to install the update: “Some apps need to be uninstalled. These programs need to be uninstalled because they aren’t compatible with the upgrade: Hybrid laptops with discrete GPU connected to the display.”
It’s a somewhat arcane and unhelpful message, but on Microsoft’s support forum, a moderator explained that Microsoft is blocking the installation on these laptops because of a “known incompatibility that may cause these devices to display a black screen after resuming from battery saver mode”.
Microsoft is currently working on a fix which will be delivered via Windows Update, and once implemented will mean that these notebooks will be able to go ahead and install the April 2018 Update.
That product specialist also described an unofficial workaround, and several different solutions have been posted by others online, all of which apparently work, but we wouldn’t recommend proceeding down this avenue.
Back in black
Why not? Simply because Microsoft has put a block in place for a good reason, and if you do go ahead and swerve around it, installing the update anyway, you may end up hitting the described black screen problem.
Microsoft clarifies that if you are getting this message, you needn’t do anything and there are no apps that need to be uninstalled – despite the message’s insistence that there are, which is the root of the problem and the misunderstanding here.
The error message could be a lot more helpful, and simply inform you that the update can’t be installed right now because it could cause serious problems with your laptop.
At any rate, folks who own these Alienware notebooks will have to either wait a few weeks for the update, or use one of the unofficial workarounds and take their chances with the ‘black screen of incompatibility’.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).