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Solved Testing HDD on Dell Inspiron 1545

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by cwwozniak, Feb 3, 2017.

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  1. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor Thread Starter

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    I am trying to determine if the HDD on a coworker's Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop (Service Tag # BV223K1) is failing or if there is some other problem. It came with Windows 7 and was upgraded to Windows 10 last summer with no problems. Last week, my friend said it was taking a long time to boot up and some programs were running slow.

    He asked if I could reformat it and reinstall Windows 10. I tried to use DBAN to completely zero out the drive before the installation. It ran OK for a while and then really slowed down, showing it would take 296 hour to complete at one time. It finally reported failure and stopped at about 2% completion.

    The HDD is a 500GB WD SATA drive. I was hoping to run WD's diagnostics utilities, but found out that they are no longer available as an ISO file for burning a bootable CD. Only Windows and DOS versions are available.

    Is there any other free diagnostic utility someone could recommend that does not require launching Windows or DOS in order to use it?

    Yes, we know this is an old model computer. My friend would still like to have it running for his young son to watch DVDs and downloaded videos, without asking to borrow dad's new notebook. He is willing to replace the HDD if we are sure that will fix the problem.
     
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  3. flavallee

    flavallee Frank Trusted Advisor

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    Chuck:

    If you haven't already checked it, these are the original specs for that Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop:
    Intel Pentium T4400 2.20 GHz dual core processor
    3 GB(2 GB + 1 GB) DDR2 RAM
    Dell WD-ML160 250 GB hard drive

    It appears that it was upgraded from Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit to Windows 10 Home 64-bit in September 2016.
    It appears that the original hard drive was upgraded to a 500 GB one, but it's unknown if it was during that same period and if it was a new or used one.

    Diagnosing a failing hard drive is beyond my knowledge, so I'll let someone else address that issue.
    Good luck.

    Frank

    ------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
  4. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522

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  5. valis

    valis Moderator

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    If its a dell laptop, it shoud have the diag boot on it. Hold fn button as you power it on and that should give the hd test as an option.
     
    bassfisher6522 likes this.
  6. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor Thread Starter

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    It self starts all the tests, runs a few seconds, and stops with a pop-up showing Error o146 and a very loud and annoying fast tones alarm sound that does not stop until the computer is shut off.

    I read somewhere that one possible solution to that error was to go into the BIOS and change the SATA mode from AHCI to ATA, but it did not help any.

    At this point we are trying to figure out if a new drive will solve the problem or not. I have read that for some people, a new HDD did not solve the error.I don't have another 2.5 inch SATA HDD to test with.
     
  7. managed

    managed Allan

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    There has to be some sort of OS running for a test program to work.

    Seatools for Dos will test any hard drive, not just Seagate's own.
    The download is an ISO and there's a guide too :-
    www.seagate.com/gb/en/support/downloads/seatools/

    It does look like that HDD is failing though.
     
  8. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor Thread Starter

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    I believe the older version of the Western Digital utilities disc included a bare bones DOS that copied itself from the CD to RAM and then ran exclusively from RAM to run the utilities. The whole thing could run in 16 or 32 MB of installed RAM. I probably have one of those burned CDs in a box in my basement, but I am pretty sure the DOS and the software would choke on the SATA interface.
     
  9. managed

    managed Allan

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    Seatools for Dos works with Sata hard drives.
     
  10. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor Thread Starter

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    There is no OS on the HDD whatsoever. After POST, the BIOS reports no boot sector found on the hard drive. I suspect Darik's Boot and Nuke wiped the data on it before failing when it got further on the drive.

    At this point I will most likely pull the drive and try to test it externally using the WD or Seatools software on a working computer. If it is bad, we would feel safe that the problem isn't with the motherboard hardware and he will get a new SATA HDD.
     
  11. managed

    managed Allan

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    I've checked some more and Seatools for Dos may only work if the Bios is set for IDE ! It is self-contained though and doesn't need an OS on the HDD.

    Yes it does look like DBAN has wiped the bootsector.

    I agree, testing the drive on another computer is the way to go now.
     
  12. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor Thread Starter

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    Tested the drive using a USB adapter on another computer and it was bad. Friend has a Lenovo laptop with a broken display and hinge. I plan to pull the SATA Hybrid Drive out of it and see if the drive fits and works in the Inspiron 1545.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
  13. managed

    managed Allan

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    It should work, I'm typing this on a 1545 with a 1TB Seagate SSHD, it's the older version with 8GB flash memory but it works well.
     
  14. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor Thread Starter

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    I pulled a Seagate ST500LM000 out of the Lenovo laptop. I had to jury rig it into the Dell laptop's HDD slot with a piece of cardboard so that the drive's PCB didn't short out to the metal plate in the slot. It was getting late and so I fired up DBAN to do a simple, one pass zero fill of the drive and went to bed. It reported the wipe passed and I shut down the laptop this morning.

    I plan to clean up the drive mounting and install Windows 10 this evening. I'll start a new topic in the Windows 10 forum to find out if if I need to do any special partitioning of this hybrid SSD (8GB)/HDD (500GB) drive during the formatting to optimize the Windows installation. The installer disc can do a bare metal installation using the laptop's original Windows 7 key.
     
  15. managed

    managed Allan

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    Do you have a HDD caddy in that 1545 ? They usually have one, it's designed for 12.5mm drives but you can use cardboard etc to make a spacer. There's a plastic side-cover that attaches to the caddy and once it's all put together and pushed into the laptop 2 screws on the bottom of the laptop secure it in place (same type used for screwing the caddy to the drive, standard size for laptop HDDs). To remove it you just unscrew the 2 screws and pull the cover horizontally. Very easy to use and with the plastic cover it looks very neat too.

    I didn't have to do anything out of the ordinary to install Windows 10 on mine, the drive's firmware deals with using the flash memory automatically.
     
  16. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor Thread Starter

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    There wasn't any type of tray or caddy on the HDD that I pulled out of the 1545. The side cover attached directly to the HDD using two tapped mounting holes on the side of the HDD. The top and bottom surfaces of the old drive were solid metal.

    The replacement drive had a formed metal bracket that wrapped around three sides of the drive and included four bent mounting tabs for attaching the drive to the case. The bracket attached to the drive using four tapped holes on the sides of the drive. There was also a thin, stiff piece of clear plastic attached to the bracket and covered the exposed printed circuit board on the HDD. There did not appear to be any way of easily removing it from the bracket without damage. I'll cut a matching sized piece off a sheet of clear plastic I have and attach it to the drive with some polyester tape.

    I'll run the installer with all default settings as far as formatting and partitions are concerned.
     
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