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KaushikSanji
1 Copper

Should I replace my Hard Drive?

I am new to this forum, although I bought my Alienware 17 R1 (2014 Model) long back. Currently its not in warranty, hence reaching out to this forum.

Issue

See the attached for the error seen while executing Complete Hard Drive Test. The Error code here is "WHD38-25M". 

I have been receiving the following error as well, few months after I upgraded my OS to Windows 10 during the year 2016

This is in Intel rapid storage technology software. I have my main HDD in RAID0 (accelerated+enchanced) and the other SSD in RAID0(cache mode). During this time i did not find any issues with my drive until now, a year later, my main HDD is reporting around 4 bad sectors (as seen below, when scanned using minitool partition manager). At times it reports 5 or 6, then I run chkdsk, and some of them gets fixed.

I also got the 142 error once when I scanned in ePSA (only while doing a thorough test)

I used the Seagate's Seatools for DOS as well to check for errors. It fails in the Short Generic Test with SMART tripped error. Long Generic Test does not completely scan as it fails with the same error after some percentage of scan.

In the recent times I am facing issues with the battery as well. My system always shuts down abruptly to hibernate mode when the battery reaches to 50% charge level, without giving enough time for me to reconnect the power cable. May be, many such abrupt shutdown has also caused this. Diagnostics always reports that the Battery is fine. Laptop is more than 3years old now.

I mainly use it for Android Studio + its virtualizations, Google Chrome of course and Windows Media Player and at times for Photoshop as well. While working in Android studio, i see some lag now and then, when I check the performance in Task manager, it is doing continuous I/O operations with 100% activity frequently. My RAM is also occupied almost to about 7GB, installed is 8GB and other 8GB as paging. Android Studio and Windows's Memory compression keeps paging out to disk now and then. I guess I need to increase the Physical RAM as well.

Blue Screen errors

I am experiencing lot of Blue screen deaths as well. The most common I have seen till date including today is the "UNEXPECTED STORE EXCEPTION" while the other being "POWER STATE FAILURE". Following is the blue screen that occurred few hours after I had created this topic. Unfortunately, windows did not even collect any dump data, it was stuck at 0% for a long time.

Following is the list of Blue screen errors I have found using the Nirsoft's Blue screen viewer 

 

Replacements to buy

I have done some research on what HDD and RAM to buy, but unaware of their compatibility.

1) For HDD, I am planning to buy the below new SSHD from Seagate

https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01M1NHCZT/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=28L75JR0V5XQU&coli... 

2) For RAM, I am planning to buy the Corsair Vengeance RAM (complete 32GB). 

Amazon.in: Buy Corsair Vengeance Performance 16GB DDR3L 1600MHz PC3 12800 Laptop Memory Kit CMSX16GX... 

Should I replace the battery as well ?

Where to find this battery now if I have to ? Is there any better version available, like 9cell or 12cell or something?

Is the Replacement of RAM/HDD required?

I do not have any experience repairing a laptop, but in the past I have rigged up complete Desktop PC with custom config. So will certainly need help if I need to replace stuff myself. If I can get any assistance from Dell India, Bangalore, it would be great. Or, please direct me to some good video links on accomplishing this (HDD & RAM replacement), as I find it hard to search videos specifically for Alienware 17 R1, I feel its totally dead in that perspective.

For obvious reasons, I have not revealed my Service Tag. I hope i have covered it well. If any authorised Dell associate wishes to help, please email me or guide me through whatever secure process available here which i am not currently aware of.

Note: Although the title states Hard Drive issue, I have mentioned other stuff as they might be related.

~ Kaushik Sanji

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10 Replies
Moderator
Moderator

Re: Should I replace my Hard Drive?

Hi KaushikSanji‌,

Yes, the HDD will need to be replace due to the error codes. I will advise you to start with the HDD replacement since after this you'll need to reinstall Windows so after that we will see if the system keeps on having blue-screen errors or not. 

The Alienware 17 R1 ships with the following Hard Drive options:

SATA- 2
CapacitySpeedDimensionsType
750 GB7200 rpm7MMNormal
1 TB5400 rpm7MMNormal
SATA- 3
CapacitySpeedDimensionsType
1 TB5400 rpm7 MMNormal
750 GB7200 rpm7MMNormal
500 GB7200 rpm7MMNormal
256 GB-7MMSSD/m-SATA
512 GB-7MMSSD/m-SATA

Hard Drive SATA II : 750 GB, 1 TB

SSD: 512GB

mSATA SSD SATA II : 32 GB, 64 GB
SATA III : 256 GB, 512 GB

For the Memory these are the validated specs:

-Memory DDR3L 1600 MHz SODIMMs
-Memory min/max 8 GB to 32 GB


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KaushikSanji
1 Copper

Re: Should I replace my Hard Drive?

Hi Alienware-Eimy,

I still have not done anything as I still have certain doubts to be cleared. Yesterday and day before, again I faced the same blue screen error "UNEXPECTED_STORE_EXCEPTION". I checked the health state of the disk in CrystalDiskInfo and it says BAD as below -

I will certainly replace this drive. But I do not wish to install the entire OS and many of my Programs again. So I have decided to use Acronis True Image software to make a clone of the disk as soon as possible before this drive goes kaput.

I have 2 HDDs here, as shown below. One of them is an SSD used as a Cache Drive and other HDD is being accelerated through it using Intel RST under RAID-0(Stripe) configuration.

 

How should I delete this configuration without losing any data in my main HDD, or in other words, how to convert them to Non-RAID without losing data in main HDD? 

Also, I will be replacing this failing drive with the Seagate SSHD (as I had earlier mentioned). Since I have a better SSD already that can cache comparatively better as the Seagate's SSHD has only 8GB of NAND flash. I would like to know whether I will be able to enable this caching after cloning the drive and successfully booting into windows. If so, what is the procedure for enabling the cache acceleration in Intel RST without losing any data in the new main drive?

Thanks a bunch for the assistance provided.

~ Kaushik Sanji

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KaushikSanji
1 Copper

Re: Should I replace my Hard Drive?

Alienware Forum

Please can someone address on the above?

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eternalkp
3 Silver

Re: Should I replace my Hard Drive?

dude ssd is dirt cheap. why not consider a samsung evo 850 2.5inch 500gb for $140? 

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Tesla1856
6 Gallium

Re: Should I replace my Hard Drive?

You don't want the HDD/SSD Hybrid nonsense. I think I would also pass on the m-sata form-factor also. That form-factor has been depreciated. Those older drives are likely rare and expensive.

 

like  says, just install a normal 2.5inch SATA-3 SSD. They are common and adequate capacities are even very affordable these days. They are also more reliable than old-school mechanical spinning drives. It will likely out-live the laptop.

You can Image Backup with Macrium Reflect (free) and bare-metal restore. Or, just clean-install Windows-10/64bit, re-install main apps, and selectively restore data. Explore my Bookmarked threads for tips.

 

Once you get rid of that lame Intel-RST raid-cache stuff, and get Windows naively booting-from and running-from on a real SSD ... the machine will be so much faster. Likely faster than when it was new.

 

If you already have 8gb or more, I would not mess with RAM upgrade. Save your money for next laptop.


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KaushikSanji
1 Copper

Re: Should I replace my Hard Drive?

eternalkp‌, Tesla1856

500GB is not option for me right now since I have 400GB of important data on my hard drive. If I buy 500GB, I will be soon looking for another drive, which is useless.

You guys may be earning and spending in USDs. Hence you find SSD to be damn cheap. I wish my country(India) was also the same. Below are the converted USD rates of Samsung EVO SSDs of different capacities - 

  • 500GB - around 240 USD
  • 1TB - around 440 USD
  • 2TB - around 1000 USD

(Rates are similar for both internal SSDs and mSATA SSDs)

Now if you convert the rate of 2TB SSHD (which I am purchasing) into USD, it is coming around 170 USD.

On top of all this, I am currently not earning money as I have left my job to do some studies to switch technology. So I cannot spend that much money to buy an SSD. If it were to be cheap enough I would have gone for the 1TB SSD. So its not an option for me right now.

By the way, I figured out how to remove the cache acceleration. Now my drives are in Non-RAID setup. Boot time is really slower than my old core 2 duo desktop computer, may be because hard drive is failing gradually.

Apart from this, on the Battery issue, has anyone observed any sudden battery drops ? Mine actually shuts down saying low battery when the charge is drained down to 85-90%. Does this mean that the battery needs replacement as well? Diagnostics always reports they are fine.

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Tesla1856
6 Gallium

Re: Should I replace my Hard Drive?

Then, I suggest you buy a 256gb SSD for Windows and main programs.

Drive 2 can be a conventional 1-2tb 2.5inch spinner.

 

No, I'm not rich, but I am here in Texas, USA. Just trying to help you out there buddy. It will be money well spent since it sounds like you want to keep the machine a while longer.

Yeah, sounds like your battery is going bad if it can't run the computer for an acceptable amount of time. Buy from:

- Dell.com

- Denaq

- A friend recently says that batteries from FactoryOutletStore.com work good for his Dell and Toshiba laptops.


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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KaushikSanji
1 Copper

Re: Should I replace my Hard Drive?

Many thanks for the suggestion. Did some research around ssd caching and based on your suggestions, I have finally decided to buy the Samsung Evo 850 mSATA 500GB SSD along with the 2tb disc drive. 

I want to know if the following procedure works before proceeding -

Approach 1:

  1. I will install the mSATA SSD along with the failing drive and the new RAM as well (since getting under the palm rest would be a pain again).
  2. Boot into Acronis True Image (I have purchased this, hence will be using it).
  3. Make a clone of the source drive with the mSATA SSD. I have currently 400GB data, I think I can still reduce it by 50GB or so by copying some files to external drive so that the cloning process works well.
  4. Once cloning is done, I will remove the HDD and boot only with the mSATA. This may require some setting in bios.
  5. If the mSATA boots into windows successfully, I will run diagnostics to validate RAM and SSD.
  6. Once that is working fine, I will shutdown and install the new 2TB SSHD for data and other program files.
  7. I will boot into windows, and use Minitool software to copy only the data partitions (that is other than OS) from mSATA to the new 2tb disc drive.

Approach 2:

  1. Same as 1 to 2 of Approach 1. Also, with installing the new 2tb drive as well.
  2. Attach an external hard drive to generate the partition image backup using Acronis.
  3. Restore only the OS and its system partitions to mSATA SSD.
  4. Restore other partitions to the new 2tb drive.
  5. Remove the old drive.
  6. Boot by SSD.


Are the steps ok, or should I change something. Which approach would be better. Do I need to ask Acronis team about this? Also, the SATA operation was set to RAID mode when I bought this laptop. In this configuration, should I change this to AHCI? 

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speedstep
6 Thallium

Re: Should I replace my Hard Drive?

The unexpected store exception has troubled many users after they updated from previous versions of Windows 10. It is normally accompanied by the dreaded BSOD or the blue screen of death. Most of the time this exception has been raised because of an anti-virus program(Mcafee, Norton, AVG). You should start by removing the anti-virus to stop the blue screen of death from reoccurring.

ANY bad sectors on a hard drive these days means it has run out of spares and will die forever VERY SOON.

Unexpected Store Exception


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