7- Thorium

RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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If you're running Win 10, you can always use free Microsoft's Media Creation Tool to create bootable (USB) media to do a clean install of Win 10. 

You will have to install all the hardware drivers in addition to all the latest MS updates, and software. Software that Dell supplied should be available for download from their Digital Delivery page so that's not a problem...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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InTheZoneAC
2 Iron

RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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I used samsung magician and left the factory 1TB HDD alone, but am still using the remaining space as storage. Just dont' delete any windows files from it

And if your computer ends up freezing every day when you get it, try this:

en.community.dell.com/.../19665996

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OaklandRobb
1 Nickel

RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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I too plan to add a Samsung 500 Gig SSD (850EVO) to my new 8900. I have done it successfully with my eight year old Dell Desktop and a new HP desktop, so I'm not expecting too many issues. I plan to keep the original HD in the system and make the Samsung the boot drive. 

What changes need to be made in the BIOS for this to work correctly. In the HP, on advice from someone, I disabled secure boot. Is that required here? I notice that another setting is for RAID. Should I change that to AHCI?

Anything else?

Thanks for any guidance.

Robb

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InTheZoneAC
2 Iron

RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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I too plan to add a Samsung 500 Gig SSD (850EVO) to my new 8900. I have done it successfully with my eight year old Dell Desktop and a new HP desktop, so I'm not expecting too many issues. I plan to keep the original HD in the system and make the Samsung the boot drive. 

What changes need to be made in the BIOS for this to work correctly. In the HP, on advice from someone, I disabled secure boot. Is that required here? I notice that another setting is for RAID. Should I change that to AHCI?

Anything else?

Thanks for any guidance.

Robb

Connect the samsung SSD in any other SATA port using an extra SATA cable you bought, connect power using the existing extra power cables(you may have to unplug some other power cables to make room if you find yours were wrapped around things inside)

If you're going to any older OS you'll need to disable secure boot, but disable it anyway

And I did change my options from RAID to AHCI for the SSD, but ran into issues with the system not booting up. I had to google whatever error I was getting at the time and it involved going into safe mode, typing stuff in the cmd box and basically changing something in the computer for the computer to accept AHCI. Do this part AFTER YOU CLONE, you don't want to affect your factory HDD if something does go wrong and you can't fix

I think this is what I had to do, can't remember:

info from www.eightforums.com/.../53429-migrating-raid-ssd-switching-ahci.html

If you wish, you could try:

  1. Open Admin command prompt: bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal
  2. Restart to BIOS and set to AHCI
  3. Restart. Windows will boot into safe mode and will update the driver.
  4. Open Admin command prompt: bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot
  5. Shutdown the PC and disconnect 1 disk.
  6. Restart to boot Windows Normally.

So now that you have your SSD connected to any secondary SATA port, download/install samsung magician and clone from your factory drive to the SSD. Might take only a few minutes.

-Once the clone is done, shut down the system

-Unplug the SATA data cable from your factory hard drive and from the motherboard and move the SSD data cable into that port and restart computer...verifying that your SSD does boot properly. Once it does boot.

-Change your option from RAID to AHCI and see the above notes for how to fix a potential issue.

-Once you have the ability to successfully boot to the SSD using AHCI shut down the computer and connect the factory hard drive into any extra SATA port like you originally did with the SSD. Windows automatically assigned the factory drive a new letter and it is now my secondary HDD.

-Verify the SSD is the primary OS in my computer

These were the steps I took for mine, maybe there's an easier way for you to do this.

OaklandRobb
1 Nickel

RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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Hi IntheZone,

Thanks very much for the careful instructions. I think I will have time on Monday to give this a try. I have a little bit of an advantage for step one, as I have a device that attaches by external SATA (unfortunately, it appears this Dell does not have that port) or USB, and the SSD just slides inside. You use that for the cloning step. Once that is complete, I will put it back in its 3.5 inch drive adaptor, slide it into an open 3.5 inch drive bay and connect it to the internal SSD port. As you suggested, I find it best to connect to SATA0 where the current drive is connected and then move that drive to an open port.

Too bad there are these extra steps related to AHCI. I will just hope it goes smoothly. 

Thank you again for taking the time to write out your instructions so clearly.

Robb

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OaklandRobb
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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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I got part way, but clearly this Dell XPS 8900 is different from my very old, XPS 420, or the new HP, with similar specs and Windows 10, in which I previously installed this SSD. I used my external device and the Samsung Migration software to clone the existing hard drive. That worked perfectly.  I then shut down and installed the SSD in the computer. I used the SATA0 cable for the SSD and added a cable from SATA1 to the original HD. The DVD is now SATA2. I opened the firmware on boot and disabled Secure Boot, but was disappointed to see that in the list of devices, nothing was showing up for SATA0. The computer still boots, but to the original HD. If I change the BIOS to AHCI, then it won't boot at all. Changing back to RAID results in the same situation of booting to the original HD. The Samsung Magician software also fails to see the SSD.

I looked at the instructions provided here with the first line: Open Admin command prompt: bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal.

Am I supposed to put c:\ where it says {current}? I don't think that will work since the SSD isn't being seen at all. So C:\ is the original HD. 

Please tell me what steps I need to take from here so that the SSD will be seen by the system. 

Thank you.

Robb

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w7ox
2 Iron

RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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Replace the original boot drive by the SSD -- same slot, same cable. Move the original HDD to the cage slot -- assuming you still want to use it (I'd save it somewhere until you're happy with the SSD).

Then SSD should boot. BUT Migration Assistant does not really clone the HDD to the SSD, and the Dell recovery partitions will not all be on the SSD. So I could run from the SSD, but could not create recovery media from it. Not so good.

I now have the original HDD as my C: drive and am happy with that configuration. If I tried the SSD again I would start fresh, create recovery media from the HDD and use that to install the OS on my SSD. That would probably preserve the Dell recovery partitions.

Phil

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OaklandRobb
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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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Phil,

Thanks for the very quick reply, but I am not following your recommendation. As far as I know, I essentially have replaced the original boot drive with the SSD. Where it is physically attached shouldn't matter. I did use the lower slot of the cage for the SSD and kept the original HD in its same place. As noted, I did switch the SATA cable.

I was aware that unlike the HP, which also had Windows 10, the Samsung Migration software only cloned the boot partition, not the recovery partition. But before starting the whole process, I did make a recovery set of media, (it took quite a lot of DVD discs). And since my plan was to keep the original HD running in the system and use it for additional storage, I figured I was covered there, as well. But in any case, if your recommendation is to swap the physical location of the two drives, I just don't see that that will matter. I didn't try removing the cable from the original HD in case there is some sort of conflict, but I have not had that problem before, I don't see why that would be so in this case. But if others recommend that, I can give it a try.

Robb

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w7ox
2 Iron

RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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If you connected the SSD to the same cable as the HDD was on, all should be OK. Where you physically mount it is not the issue.

Your description earlier did not make it sound like you had -- especially the part about the optical drive.

I replaced HDD with SSD using same cable, after cloning it with the Migration software. I added a 1 TB HDD in the cage to another port. Nothing was changed with either BD optical drive in my system. And all worked fine -- except I could not create recovery media.

Phil

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OaklandRobb
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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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OK, rookie error. But the good thing about rookie errors is they are easy to spot and fix. So after I plugged in the power cable to the SSD, it is now seen by the system and I can boot to it and all is running well. The Samsung software also sees it and has optimized settings. The only piece not in place is AHCI. If I enable it in the BIOS the computer won't boot, just as IntheZone said. I tried going into Safe Mode, but somehow when it gets to the screen where I have to enter my password, it does not recognize it. If I start again, so it now longer is following the safe mode startup then it recognizes the password with no problem.

So the first question is how do I get into safe mode in a way that it recognizes my password?

Assuming I get that far and get to the command line, exactly what do I enter? Is it 

bcdedit /set C:\ safeboot minimal

Thanks for the help.

Robb

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