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fgvalle
1 Nickel

Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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Hey guys,

I was wondering if anyone here would be able to help me with this, since I very much doubt dell 'tech' support will be able to do so without spending 6 hours on the phone with them. I just purchased an Alienware 17 with a 128gb ssd drive, and a 1tb secondary drive. I noticed that it was a lot slower than I had anticipated, so I checked the my computer and realized that the Alienware techs had installed the OS on the much slower, 1tb hard drive. Ok, so no problem right? I will just do a recovery, erase the main drive and set it to restore to the ssd.... well... unfortunately, I can't find that option, anywhere! not on windows recovery, or alienrespawn. Has anyone gone through this? What should I do?

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fgvalle
1 Nickel

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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Create a recovery USB using AlienRespawn

Find AlienRespawn on your computer, and use it to create an USB recovery disc.

 

Disable 1tb hard drive

This is the tricky part. There is no actual option in the BIOS to disable a hard drive.

 

The trick to completing this step is to create a password for the hard drive you don’t want it to be installed on (in my case, this was the first hard drive). When you restart your computer for the changes to take effect (I also had to enable legacy mode, and disable secure boot for it to boot off the usb drive), don’t enter the correct password 3 times. After the 3rd time, you can press F2 to continue without having that hard drive enabled!

 

Recover OS through AlienRespawn USB Key

The rest of the recovery process is straight forward. It will tell you that things cannot be repaired, and you can go ahead and recover your software to factory conditions. 20 minutes later, it will complete.

 

Enable secure boot and UEFI

Go back to the BIOS and enable secure boot and UEFI. I did this before finishing with Windows 8.1 setup, but you can probably do it after and it would make little difference. Keep entering the incorrect password for your hard drive, as you want to make sure it will boot from the correct drive first. This will also set Windows 8.1 to know that its booting from an SSD.

 

In BIOS, to properly add the device to the start up order, I deleted the existing UEFI start up entries, and only had SSD:\\BOOTMGR as my “Windows Boot Manager”. The existing one should be deleted.

 

Remove password on hard drive

At this point, I went ahead and removed the password on the hard drive. In boot, “Windows Boot Manager” that was originally there reappeared –keep this as its actually the proper ‘secure boot’ manager.  I deleted the one I created after enabling secure start up.

 

There you have it! How I forced AlienRespawn to install Windows 8 to my SSD

*Note 1*

Tesla wasn't correct in being able to select which drive to install to, as outlined in my original post. You're given literally no options for destination in AlienRespawn.

*Note 2*

Andrews was also incorrect about it having to be a 1tb SSD. You're not restoring a 1:1 image from your 1tb hard drive, rather only the files necessary for the Factory Image, which turned out to be 7.8gb of data.

*Note 3*

For my model and configuration, a 8gb USB key isn't enough to create a bootable media disc. I needed to purchase a 16gb one, as an 8gb only has 7.2gb of usable space, which is just shy of the 7.8gb required to make the recovery media.

22 Replies
Tesla1856
6 Thallium

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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Create Recovery Media (I recommend 8gb USB flash drive) and then try to use it to restore to SSD.

Be prepared for it not to work and have to clean install Windows from scratch. Media for that is plainer and you might have to get from Dell if it didn't ship with laptop.


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Like many of you, I can appreciate a good game-engine.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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AndrewSi
4 Germanium

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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Hi, the suggestion made by Tesla will only work if you are installing to the same size drive, so if the OS is installed on a 1TB then you will need a 1TB SSD, it will not install on anything smaller than the original

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fgvalle
1 Nickel

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

Jump to solution

Create a recovery USB using AlienRespawn

Find AlienRespawn on your computer, and use it to create an USB recovery disc.

 

Disable 1tb hard drive

This is the tricky part. There is no actual option in the BIOS to disable a hard drive.

 

The trick to completing this step is to create a password for the hard drive you don’t want it to be installed on (in my case, this was the first hard drive). When you restart your computer for the changes to take effect (I also had to enable legacy mode, and disable secure boot for it to boot off the usb drive), don’t enter the correct password 3 times. After the 3rd time, you can press F2 to continue without having that hard drive enabled!

 

Recover OS through AlienRespawn USB Key

The rest of the recovery process is straight forward. It will tell you that things cannot be repaired, and you can go ahead and recover your software to factory conditions. 20 minutes later, it will complete.

 

Enable secure boot and UEFI

Go back to the BIOS and enable secure boot and UEFI. I did this before finishing with Windows 8.1 setup, but you can probably do it after and it would make little difference. Keep entering the incorrect password for your hard drive, as you want to make sure it will boot from the correct drive first. This will also set Windows 8.1 to know that its booting from an SSD.

 

In BIOS, to properly add the device to the start up order, I deleted the existing UEFI start up entries, and only had SSD:\\BOOTMGR as my “Windows Boot Manager”. The existing one should be deleted.

 

Remove password on hard drive

At this point, I went ahead and removed the password on the hard drive. In boot, “Windows Boot Manager” that was originally there reappeared –keep this as its actually the proper ‘secure boot’ manager.  I deleted the one I created after enabling secure start up.

 

There you have it! How I forced AlienRespawn to install Windows 8 to my SSD

*Note 1*

Tesla wasn't correct in being able to select which drive to install to, as outlined in my original post. You're given literally no options for destination in AlienRespawn.

*Note 2*

Andrews was also incorrect about it having to be a 1tb SSD. You're not restoring a 1:1 image from your 1tb hard drive, rather only the files necessary for the Factory Image, which turned out to be 7.8gb of data.

*Note 3*

For my model and configuration, a 8gb USB key isn't enough to create a bootable media disc. I needed to purchase a 16gb one, as an 8gb only has 7.2gb of usable space, which is just shy of the 7.8gb required to make the recovery media.

Moderator
Moderator

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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If you don’t have the windows CD and you live within US or Canada you can request it here otherwise contact the technical support site in your country so they can send it to you.

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Tesla1856
6 Thallium

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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I don't use those Dell tools, so I'm not familiar with how they work. I thought I made that clear and that is why I actually made 2 suggestions. Personally, I would clean install and not mess with Dell tools.

You might think I would first try Acronis, but no, and for these reasons:

1. Going from HDD to SSD

2. New system, nothing is loaded

3. New system, might as well do it right

4. Would end up with (now dead) Dell Recovery partition using-up precious space on my SSD.

EDITED: 03-15-2015


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Like many of you, I can appreciate a good game-engine.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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AndrewSi
4 Germanium

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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I have only used the "basic" version of Alienrespawn, every time I have tried to reinstall to a drive smaller than what the Alienrespawn was original install on I get a error message stating " Please reinstall and use a hard drive larger than XXX (XXX being the original hard drive size).

The premium version may be able to install to any drive, but the "basic" free version will not, try it and findout.

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Jnarai
1 Copper

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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I have the same model on the way to me now, hope they didn't do the same...

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fgvalle
1 Nickel

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately my only option was to use alienrespawn with the usb key that windows created. Kind of odd, but it also kept me from searching for drivers.

I also have only the basic AlienRespawn, to be honest I have no idea if this would be any different with the premium version. I am hoping that Dell will respond to my request for a 240W power adapter (yeah, I can't believe they include an adapter on such an expensive system that can't even power the laptop).

After I did everything, the system is working beautifully and as well as could be expected, except for the FPS dips due to the aforementioned power adapter issue.

I would very much like to know if the os not being installed on the ssd is a unique issue with my laptop, or if its more common.

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Philminator
1 Copper

RE: Alienware 17/R2 OS not installed on SSD?

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I've been having issues with the same thing here. 2015 17 R2 with OS on 1TB and the SSD as the data..all 6 laptops from best buy and future shop are wired that way yet on the website it's not.

Anyhow this worked for me, I couldn't find a bios way to get past switching what is the main drive...so I removed the 1TB from the computer and re-installed no problem. I did a recovery after and it remained on SSD. Now I'm having other issues but that's for another thread Smiley Wink

Alternatively you can enable legacy boot and boot USB windows 8.1 clean and format everything and then later install all drivers, programs ect. Which is what I've now done only that I can't install the Command center.

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