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mdbates
1 Nickel

Laptop brain transplant possible? Putting hard drive from Inspiron 1520 into another laptop

The power system on my Inspiron 1520 has failed -- battery won't charge, system doesn't recognize the presence of an AC adapter. I'm looking at a motherboard replacement or repair. One unattractive alternative is to buy a new laptop with Windows 8 and take the time to find and reinstall all the software and migrate my files.

I was wondering if another, quicker alternative would work: Could I buy a working 1520, install my hard drive in it (which is running Windows XP Home SP 3), and have it up and running as it was before? I have seen 1520s for sale online.

I know that a Dell model number signifies more about the external appearance than the innards, and that 1520s were sold with many different CPUs, different motherboards, monitor resolutions, graphics, sound, and network chipsets.

My question: What hardware would have to be the same in order for this to work? What differences are hidden beneath the BIOS? What differences could be handled by installation of device drivers downloaded from Dell? What differences would be show stoppers?

Thanks for any advice.

monitor resolutions

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8 Replies
ieee488
5 Rhenium

RE: Laptop brain transplant possible? Putting hard drive from Inspiron 1520 into another laptop

Given that Microsoft is stopping all security update support for Windows XP in April 2014, purchase of a new laptop would be my choice.

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8 Krypton

RE: Laptop brain transplant possible? Putting hard drive from Inspiron 1520 into another laptop

The Inspiron 1520 is the same model as the Vostro 1500.  That said, XP is dying - it's epitaph is being set in stone now for April 9, 2014.  At that time, all security updates for it cease  - and you can expect that in quick order, most future software releases won't run on it.  So, buying a used system may work if you need it for  six months -- anything beyond that and it's time for a replacement system.

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Kerdomrikman
1 Copper

RE: Laptop brain transplant possible? Putting hard drive from Inspiron 1520 into another laptop

I have no direct answers for your questions but I can share my experience that "may" save you some grief.

I had similar trouble as you described with 1 of our Dell Inspiron 1545's. Fortunately we have 2 so I was able to use the battery and charger from the faulty machine on the working machine to verify that they were still functioning properly. By putting the charged battery back on the faulty machine I was able to verify that the system still works, thereby ruling out the motherboard with a huge sigh of relief. After viewing the "Service Manual" (available on Dell's support website) for my machine I determined that the most likely cause of the problem was the charger board. I found 1 online at an ebay store for less than $20 and took a chance. It arrived 3 days later and it took me approximately 2 hours to replace it...step x step instructions in the service manual was key! Anyways, the charger board I ordered did the trick and more than a year later it's still working. Point here is I took a $20 gamble that paid off well...no loss of data, no service charges and no need to buy another machine.

When I upgraded my Inspiron 1545 with a larger hard drive, I cloned the old drive to the new drive using Acronis. Then, just for the heck of it, I took the old drive which still had Windows 7 on it and put it in my other 1545 that had Vista...it worked fine, no changes were necessary. Then I put the drive with Vista (from a 1545) in an older Inspiron E1505 but that didn't work...couldn't boot to Windows and a system repair wouldn't work either. The drive and it's contents were still intact, nothing was lost, it just appeared to incompatible with the older hardware.

It's been my experience that Dell software will install on similar type Dell products. Therefore, if you have the reinstall disks that came with your 1520 then you should be able to use it on, for example, a 1545. Driver updates are to be expected.

Product Support for Inspiron 1520     http://www.dell.com/support/troubleshooting/us/en/19/Product/inspiron-1520

 

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mdbates
1 Nickel

RE: Laptop brain transplant possible? Putting hard drive from Inspiron 1520 into another laptop

Thanks -- helpful to know that the Vostro 1500 is the same model.

I realize that XP support is going away, but at the moment, my concern is getting up and running again as soon as possible, with programs and data and customizations.

My question remains: What mainboard hardware has to be the same in order for the hard drive from one Inspiron 1520 to boot and run without problems in another Inspiron 1520 (or Vostro 1500)?

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RE: Laptop brain transplant possible? Putting hard drive from Inspiron 1520 into another laptop

Hi mdbates,

As the chassis for Inspiron 1520 remains the same even if the internal configuration differs a little bit, you can surely go ahead and install the hard drive of your system on another Inspiron 1520.

You may have to download a few drivers depending upon the configuration of your new system like graphics card etc. However, there should be no specific issues and the system should boot properly after replacing the hard drive without making any changes to the motherboard.

Hope this helps. Feel free to reply for any further assistance.

Thanks & Regards
Amogh G
#iworkfordell
To know more about Dell Product Support, Drivers & Downloads, Order & Dispatch status -> choose your region USAIndia. For helpful Dell Support Videos, you may click Here

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mdbates
1 Nickel

RE: Laptop brain transplant possible? Putting hard drive from Inspiron 1520 into another laptop

Thanks for your detailed response, Kerdomrikman. Unfortunately, the 1520's DC power jack is not on a separate charger board, but is integrated on the motherboard. I did have a local repair shop replace it, but to no avail. But you've given me reason to hope that I would be able to use my 1520 hard drive in another 1520.

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mdbates
1 Nickel

RE: Laptop brain transplant possible? Putting hard drive from Inspiron 1520 into another laptop

Thank you, Amogh G. Good to hear that it should be possible from a Dell support employee. If downloading a few drivers is the most significant impact, I think I can manage that. I will give it a try and let you know what happens.

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RE: Laptop brain transplant possible? Putting hard drive from Inspiron 1520 into another laptop

Hi mdbates,

Thank you for the response. I hope everything will work as desired once you make the changes.

Keep me posted. I will be glad to assist you.

Thanks & Regards
Amogh G
#iworkfordell
To know more about Dell Product Support, Drivers & Downloads, Order & Dispatch status -> choose your region USAIndia. For helpful Dell Support Videos, you may click Here

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