Installing the Windows Phone SDK on Alienware Laptops

M Shed Panorama

I love my little Alienware MI1x notebook. It has oodles of power, a good battery life and a keyboard that lights up with different colours. That’s a keyboard that lights up with different colours, always the first thing I look for in a laptop.

Anyhoo, while putting the latest version of the Windows Phone SDK on it I hit a snag. Although it seemed to have finished, if I tried to run the emulator I got silly messages about the emulator already running. Worse still, after a reboot of the machine (always the weapon of first resort) the Windows Phone emulator came up with a “Windows Phone Emulator is doing a complete OS boot”. For ever.

Not good. A quick search of the interwebs through up various solutions, none of which worked. Until I found one that mentioned the dual graphics cards in these laptops, and the problems that they can cause. The Alienware has two graphics cards inside. A “Clark Kent” one that us used for meek and mild applications and good battery life and a “Superman” one for high performance games and stuff. For some reason (perhaps because I’d been fiddling) this had got itself set to “high performance”, and this was breaking the installation,and subsequent use, of the emulator.  If you are having problems installing the Windows Phone SDK on your laptop I’d advise you drop it into “Clark Kent” or low performance mode and see if that fixes it. Worked for me.