Hopefully, someone can help me with a problem that developed with my XPS One 2720 that unfortunately popped up 12 days after my one year warranty expired. I was editing photos when my screen froze. However, when I tried to reboot, I received the error message that no boot device was available. Start up repair did not work and I could not reset to a restore point because none could be found, and a computer reset didn't work because "a required drive partition was missing". However, the ePSA diagnostics didn’t reveal any problems – all tests were passed.
My machine has two hard drives – a 2 TB HD and a 64 GB SSD. One of the IT techs at my office looked at the computer, and determined that the computer was not recognizing the 2TB hard drive. We thought that the hard drive may have failed. However, he was able to access the hard drive using a software program run off of a flashdrive (I am not sure what program he used). Once he was able to access the hard drive, he was able to reinstall Windows.
I reinstalled all of my software, and used the computer for about 3 weeks. The computer, and all of my programs, worked fine. But after shutting the computer off for the night a few days ago, it would not boot up again the next morning. Instead, the "no boot device available" message had returned.
The ePSA diagnostics all passed again, but when I looked closer at the results (under the Configuration tab), only the 64 GB SSD was listed. Under the Aptio Set up Utility, SATA 1 was "empty" for device type, device ID and device size (SATA 2 is my Blu-ray drive and mSATA is the SSD). I looked into reinstalling Windows, but the only location identified for installation was the 64 GB SSD.
So obviously there is an issue with the 2 TB HD – I just don't know whether it's a hardware issue and if so whether the problem is with the 2 TB HD, or whether it is something else completely. According to my Dell Account, I supposedly am entitled to email support, but when I sent an email inquiry, I was told that my computer fell under the Enterprise department – which apparently doesn't have or at least doesn't honor email support. I was offered phone support at a cost of $129. I'm not enthusiastic about agreeing to that, if I'm only going to be told I need a new hard drive – which I'm sure will come with additional support charges (in addition to the cost of the hard drive).
If buying a new 2 TB hard drive would solve the problem, I would do it. Although I wouldn't be happy about it (a hard drive shouldn't fail after only a year), I would still go ahead. However, I don't want to spend the money for a new hard drive, only to have the problem reappear.
In this regard, I question whether it is in fact a hardware issue, because when the problem popped up the first time, we were able – with some difficulty – to access the 2 TB hard drive and reinstall Windows and all my software. The computer worked fine for several weeks before the problem redeveloped.
Is there anything else I can try? Would changing the SATA mode (currently AHCI) make a difference? Should I install Windows on the SSD and have the computer boot up from the SSD, and then see if I can access the 2 TB HD? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
The fact that the ePSA is not "seeing" the 2TB HDD leads me to think that the drive itself could be intermittently failing. Or the HDD combo power/data cable could be the culprit. You would need to disassemble the system down to the motherboard to verify that both ends of the HDD (power/data) cable are seated properly to the motherboard.
Thanks for responding and thanks for including the link for disassembly instructions. What you suggest might be a bit advanced for me, even with the detailed instructions, but I will think about it (however, hiring someone more qualified might be the wise choice),