Inspiron Mini 1018 won't boot - hard drive errors. No recovery partition, no recovery media created so I called Dell to get the media.
They no longer have it. And since it's factory installed, Msft won't let me download it and tells me to get it from Dell.
The thing is only 4-5 years old and I"ve no problem replacing the hard drive as long as I can get the os reinstalled.
Thank you. This machine has Windows 7 Starter which isn't listed on that site. So I assume my product key won't work. I find it hard to believe that an OS I paid for only 5 years ago isn't made more readily available by Dell.
At this stage the easiest thing for you to do is download the Windows 10 RS1 .iso from Microsoft. See here for more details:
If not you can download the Windows 7 Starter Commercial OEM from Microsoft. See here for more details:
Good tip - I made a W7 starter bootable usb stick. It loads the files and starts to show the Windows progress bar but then nothing happens. Mouse cursor is active.
I don't know for sure if the hard drive has failed or Windows is corrupted. Do you think this is more likely I didn't get a complete iso on the flash drive or a bad hard drive? I"m trying to decide if it's worth getting another hard drive or just giving up on this machine.
First check the F12 preboot diagnostics. It should let you know if the HDD is bad:
I had already done that and got errors on the hard drive:
Example (repeated for different block #'s):
0F 00: 1328
Drive didn't finish command in time
But I don't know if that's a hard drive or Wndows corruption error.
I called Dell tech support and they implied it was a hard drive failure but they weren't very sure. Is there a resource that explains what the error messages actually mean?
The errors are usually 2000-0142 and 2000-0146 with the Dell F12 preboot diagnostics.
You can try to download a Windows 7 .iso again (check the .iso checksums) and use a different USB flash drive. I would try using Diskpart → Clean before the installation.
No on the HDD. If you got error 2000-0146 however its time to throw away the HDD/SSD and replace it with a SSD.