c5wd
1 Copper

Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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My IT illiterate brother has given me his Dell Inspiron 1545 [Amin Note: Service Tag Edited per TOU policy] to fix after he dropped it on the floor.  I have used a USB Sata disk caddy to successfully copy most of his files off to another PC (some were corrupt), but I'm not sure how to go about installing the OS etc on the new HDD I have purchased (a 120GB Samsung 840 Series SSD).

Dell Diagnostics (F12 on boot up) gives me various HDD errors for the Western Digital 320Gb HDD (WD-WX70A8983788), e.g.:

Error code 2000-0146 from the DST Short Test. The Drive also failed to perform the confidence test properly e.g. Error Code 0F00:1348. MsgSmiley Very HappyISK Block 66381323: Drive aborted the command, update firmware (same for DISK Block 69322993). The Read Test failed - Error Code 0F00-0232 Msg DISK Block 37006336: IRQ did not set in time.

When trying to boot normally, Windows Vista complains that there are errors, tries to fix them and sometimes I can get it to boot to the Windows home screen at which point it freezes.

When I've previously fixed a laptop I've had access to recovery media / DVDs and a Windows OS Product Key, but this Dell appears to have none of that - just a recovery partition on a now dodgy hard disk drive.

What are my options to install the new HDD and put his files back on given I have neither recovery media nor a Windows OS Product Key?

Should I:

a) Shrink the partition size on the dodgy HDD to less than 120GB then clone the dodgy HDD onto the new SSD, then try and fix the Windows installation using the Dell recovery tools? (He'd used <120GB of the old HDD).

b) Clone just the Recovery Partitions, then copy the relevant files back on?

c) Try and get a Vista DVD and somehow get the Windows Product Key off the dodgy HDD (there doesn't seem to be a Windows Product key sticker on the laptop, unlike the Toshiba & IBM I've got sitting next to me).

d) Something else?

Thanks in advance for your help.  First thing I'll do once I get it up and running again is create those recovery media that he hasn't!

c5wd

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Philip_Yip
5 Iridium

Re: Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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Option a might be quite bad if the system performance was quite bad initially. It depends what was installed on the machine. I would advise clean installation.

Follow my Windows Reinstallation Guide/A Clean Install of Windows Vista:

http://philipyip.wordpress.com/dell-community-forums/

This will guide you through clean installation using a downloadable media from Digital River (Microsoft's Online partner). It will instruct you where to download the setup files and how to make a bootable USB aswell as the rest of the installation.

For product activation, there are instructions on using the Activation Backup and Recovery program (Step 2 and 11b). I have backed up the Dell OEM product activation from all the Dell Windows Vista & 7 Reinstallation DVDs. If you were to run a key finder utility on the old installation you would get a matching product key. This would not match the key on your COA. The guide explains system locked preinstallation and activation in more detail. An alternative for product activation is also possible; you may use the 25 digit product key on the laptops COA which should be placed under the battery in the Inspiron 1545 to protect it from fading. This will require automated phone activation to a Microsoft Product Activation centre (Step 11e) hence I prefer the Activation Backup and Recovery program.

I am from the UK and dislike the fact that the form for Reinstallation media is for US customers only. The situation has got worse for Windows 8 as Microsoft didn't provide downloadable media. Please add your vote to this IdeaStorm idea Windows 8 Reinstallation Media IdeaStorm so that users in the UK or elsewhere outside the US can obtain Reinstallation media via an online request form or download link. Unfortunately IdeaStorm requires a separate login from the rest of the Dell Community.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
8 Replies
8 Krypton

Re: Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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c5wd
1 Copper

Re: Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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Thanks, but I'm based in the UK so it doesn't look like that link is going to help much, though I'll try Dell UK Technical Support and see if they can ship the right DVD to me.  In the meantime I'll try option (a) and let you know how I get on.

Regards, c5wd 

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Philip_Yip
5 Iridium

Re: Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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Option a might be quite bad if the system performance was quite bad initially. It depends what was installed on the machine. I would advise clean installation.

Follow my Windows Reinstallation Guide/A Clean Install of Windows Vista:

http://philipyip.wordpress.com/dell-community-forums/

This will guide you through clean installation using a downloadable media from Digital River (Microsoft's Online partner). It will instruct you where to download the setup files and how to make a bootable USB aswell as the rest of the installation.

For product activation, there are instructions on using the Activation Backup and Recovery program (Step 2 and 11b). I have backed up the Dell OEM product activation from all the Dell Windows Vista & 7 Reinstallation DVDs. If you were to run a key finder utility on the old installation you would get a matching product key. This would not match the key on your COA. The guide explains system locked preinstallation and activation in more detail. An alternative for product activation is also possible; you may use the 25 digit product key on the laptops COA which should be placed under the battery in the Inspiron 1545 to protect it from fading. This will require automated phone activation to a Microsoft Product Activation centre (Step 11e) hence I prefer the Activation Backup and Recovery program.

I am from the UK and dislike the fact that the form for Reinstallation media is for US customers only. The situation has got worse for Windows 8 as Microsoft didn't provide downloadable media. Please add your vote to this IdeaStorm idea Windows 8 Reinstallation Media IdeaStorm so that users in the UK or elsewhere outside the US can obtain Reinstallation media via an online request form or download link. Unfortunately IdeaStorm requires a separate login from the rest of the Dell Community.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
c5wd
1 Copper

Re: Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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Thanks Philip,  that's a useful guide and has got me very close - I've got Vista re-installed, updated, drivers installed etc.  However, I couldn't get the laptop working long enough with the old, damaged hard drive in place to get the Activation Backup and Recovery working properly - it would run and hang, but I can get to the command line for as long as required.

Do you know of a command line method of either running ABR or of getting the backup cert & backup key off a copy of the hard disk, or using another PC with the hard disk in a caddy?

Thanks,

c5wd

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c5wd
1 Copper

Re: Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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This all seems working fine now.  I was slightly confused - when I attempted to activate Vista just typing in the key from the COA from the bottom of the laptop (under the battery) seemed to work fine, now I've got a fully functional and Activated Windows Vista.

Thanks for all the help and a good guide.  I'll login to IdeaStorm and vote as per your suggestion.

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faust67
1 Copper

RE: Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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on the 1545 the product key is under the battery

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Dcompian
1 Copper

RE: Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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If I replace the hard drive do I have to buy another operating system if I have the current product key?

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7- Gold

RE: Replacing Faulty HDD In Inspiron 1545 without recovery media

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Hi dcompian,

No, the license comes with the laptop.

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