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mattspc
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XPS 8900 with Hybrid Hard Drive (256GB SSD and 2TB HDD) - Wiping and Reinstalling Windows 10 on SSD

Hi,

I have a XPS 8900 with the 'Hybrid' HDD config; 2TB HDD and a 256GB Lite-On SSD.  The SSD appears to have several GB's ( I think around 3 or 4GB) of data on it but the contents don't show up in Explorer.  I have heard that it's only used as cache to speed up the HDD but I have no idea why I would need that much room for caching. The machine currently uses the 2TB HDD for the O/S and to boot as far as I can tell.

In any event I am going to be wiping the system because of other issues and want to reinstall W10 on the SSD.  What do I need to be concerned about trying to do that especially since there seems to be a lot of 'data' on the SSD.

FYI I have created the System Image and a System Repair Disc.  I have also done a backup of my data files although not sure I grabbed Bookmarks from all my browsers correctly (so help there would be appreciated as well).  I also have the W10 License Key should anything really go wrong in the process.

Thanks!

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6 Replies
mattspc
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Re: XPS 8900 with Hybrid Hard Drive (256GB SSD and 2TB HDD) - Wiping and Reinstalling Windows 10 on

and one more thing to toss in the mix.... I'm wondering if I should consider getting a better/faster SSD instead of reusing the Lite-On. My initial goal is to have the SSD for the faster O/S and app launch speed advantages and not to use to manage (read/write) files / data on a routine basis.

If so 2 questions;

- Should I look at only the SATA SSD's or also look at higher speed PCIe given the limits of the machine?

- Do I need to worry about any BIOS etc settings if I replace and hardware ?

Thanks again!

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beamermt79
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Re: XPS 8900 with Hybrid Hard Drive (256GB SSD and 2TB HDD) - Wiping and Reinstalling Windows 10 on

So you shouldn't have a cache system setup on your computer as you don't have a hybrid system, or it shouldn't be set up that way. A Hybrid system uses a 16 or 32GB Cache drive in RAID to cache frequently used programs for faster access. Your 256GB drive should have the OS and other programs on it while the 2TB drive is used for large programs and other data. If you have the OS recovery, I would back up your data and install your OS on the SSD and use your HDD for data. You could get an NVMe if your computer can use one, but I'm not sure if you would notice anything in day to day tasks.
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mattspc
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Re: XPS 8900 with Hybrid Hard Drive (256GB SSD and 2TB HDD) - Wiping and Reinstalling Windows 10 on

Hey Beamer.  Thanks for the quick reply.

I continue to be confused about this config. 

Further scoop and maybe what I should have looked at initially:

  • Disk 0 - C: (HDD) is formatted with a GUID Partition Table.
    • Has the Windows and Programs folders
  • Disk 1 - I:  (SSD) has the MBR. 
    • 2.6GB Data hidden so i can't see what's stored and when I go to properties it doesn't show Hidden.
  • I had looked at Disk Manager several times before and when I saw BOOT in the description of Disk 0 I assumed that's where the O/S was booted from
  • So does this mean that the O/S boots off the SSD and then goes to the HDD for all the other O/S info it needs to launch the O/S? 
  • I had always thought that to benefit completely from a SSD the entire O/S needed to be installed there but I'm not all that knowledgeable at this level.  

So I continue to have confusion re: my plans after seeing the data above.

if I wipe BOTH drives and then install Windows on the SSD do I need to be concerned with the following:

  • Since I have created a System Image and a System Repair Disk using the config above I was thinking if I try to use it to reinstall it will replicate this odd configuration instead of letting me do a complete install just on the SSD.
    • Is that true and do I need to worry about that?
  • If the issue above isn't an issue do I need to do anything in the BIOS?
    • I'm assuming it's booting off the SSD already? (hence the MBR is there?)

Any additional help is appreciated.

Thanks

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beamermt79
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Re: XPS 8900 with Hybrid Hard Drive (256GB SSD and 2TB HDD) - Wiping and Reinstalling Windows 10 on

Based off of what you told me, the boot drive is your HDD, not SSD. I think they did have a configuration that used a small SSD for quick caching of the HDD. It was called Intel Rapid Storage Technology. If you look at the bottom of the task bar, in the hidden section near the clock there may be an icon for iRST and that program may tell you whats going on. If its caching like that, Dell might have accidentally used the wrong image on your computer. If I were you, I would download all the current drivers for your system, download Windows 10 or whatever version you are running, wipe everything and start over by installing windows on the 256GB SSD. If it all sounds complicated you might want to find someone who can help you, especially if they set it all up as an iRST system.
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mattspc
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Re: XPS 8900 with Hybrid Hard Drive (256GB SSD and 2TB HDD) - Wiping and Reinstalling Windows 10 on

Thanks Again.

Question on the generic Microsoft W10 vs the Dell version.  What if anything do I need to be concerned about using the Microsoft version vs the one Dell uses?  I have heard Dell has modified the O/S to make it theirs. For instance:

- Will the Dell Support app that monitors updates to drivers and the BIOS still work?  

- How about the Dell version of all the drivers and BIOS?  

Also I did find the License Key via a software app.  Any issues using that for a Microsoft W10 install since it was Dell initially?

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beamermt79
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Re: XPS 8900 with Hybrid Hard Drive (256GB SSD and 2TB HDD) - Wiping and Reinstalling Windows 10 on

All Dell apps and drivers should be downloaded from Dell directly. Any image you download with windows 10 you get from Dell will probably be super 'old'. The Windows 10 you get from Microsoft will be the latest build and will read the license key from the BIOS automatically. The biggest question is are you comfortable wiping everything and installing windows, then drivers on your own? Or do you have a friend that can help?
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