JaniceMorrow
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XPS 8910, hard drive failure question.

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I have an XPS 8910 - came with two hard drives, one being a solid state drive.  I am sure that my Windows 10 operating system was on the solid state drive (for quick access) and my other "stuff" on the other drive (a Toshiba).  My Tobisha drive failed (got a notification through the Dell diagnostics when my computer would not start up.  Even after going through the BIOS and trying to boot from my solid state drive and also creating a new Windows 10 media usb and trying to boot from there, I've had no luck.  I even removed the Toshiba drive (ensured that the serial number matched my Dell diagnostics saying that it failed) and tried to reboot with the solid state drive in.  No luck.

If the operating system is on the solid state drive, why is it showing as unbootable?

If I replace my Toshiba (as Dell recommends) and it happens to be where Windows was actually stored ?????  how do I get my copy of Windows back on this empty Toshiba drive?

Thanks for your help everyone. 

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23 Replies
7- Thorium

Re: Hard drive failure question.

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More likely the SSD drive is only 32-GB and used as a cache for access to files that Windows needs quickly. In this case the OS is actually on the hard drive, so if the hard drive failed, you won't be able to boot.

Install the new hard drive and then boot from a bootable USB stick with the Windows ISO file on it. You can download the Win 10 (assuming that's what you had) ISO file and tools to create a bootable USB from Microsoft for free. 

Once you have the bootable USB, connect it to the XPS 8910 before  you power on. Then power on and immediately press F12 and look for the option to boot from USB to launch the install. 

Sure hope your personal files were backed up on external media. But, if not, once the OS is installed and updates installed and the PC is running OK again, you can install the old hard drive as a secondary drive in the XPS 8910 and see if you can rescue your files. Or, install that drive in an external hard drive enclosure that connects to a PC via USB to see if you can get your files. 

 

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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Tesla1856
6 Thallium

Re: Hard drive failure question.

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It's good that no data recovery is required.

- You have your important files backed-up somewhere
- You have the install-key for Microsoft Office (if you had a license) and other expensive programs
- You know your Windows-7 serial-key (or your Windows-8/10 key is stored in BIOS)

First, I would look on your Invoice (even online by Service-Tag) and see exactly what drive-models were pre-installed.

Then, I would re-connect all the drives. F12 on boot.
- Run ePSA and document the drives it finds
- Go into BIOS. See drive makes, models, and sizes.

After you know exactly what you have to work-with, you can make a plan to rebuild-machine.

Also, it's not exactly un-common for Dell to accidentally install Windows on the wrong drive. Or, it might be more like what @RoHe suggests.

 


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
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JaniceMorrow
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Re: Hard drive failure question.

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Thanks for your responses.  I have files backed up so I am not too concerned with what was lost on failed drive.  I did order an identical drive to the one that failed but I do not have a windows key for my Windows 10 that was pre-installed from Dell.  How do I find the key if Windows 10 was on the failed drive?  I only have the Windows Media Creation tool that I downloaded and that's it.  I looked up my Dell Express Code and there is no information there about it.  

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7 Plutonium

Re: Hard drive failure question.

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" the operating system is NOT on the solid state drive"


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Tesla1856
6 Thallium

Re: Hard drive failure question.

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@JaniceMorrowwrote:

1. Thanks for your responses. 

2. I have files backed up so I am not too concerned with what was lost on failed drive. 

3. I did order an identical drive to the one that failed but I do not have a windows key for my Windows 10 that was pre-installed from Dell.  How do I find the key if Windows 10 was on the failed drive? 

4. I only have the Windows Media Creation tool that I downloaded and that's it. 

5. I looked up my Dell Express Code and there is no information there about it.  


1. Sure thing. However, this back-and-forth forum-communication works better if you follow my directions closely, and answer my questions.  I use those answers to formulate my next response to you.

2. Good

3. The key is stored in the motherboard's BIOS. It will be retrieved automatically, and Windows-10 will Activate.

4. Good, that is all you need

5. Look at "Shipped Config" tab

At this point,  I suggest ...

- Connect only the SSD (or drive you wish to use as bootable C: )

- Set BIOS to UEFI and AHCI

- Be sure machine passes ePSA Diagnostics.

- Press F12 to boot Microsoft.com Windows-10 Media-Creation flash-drive

- Install Windows-10 (64bit) to blank drive

- Do Windows-10 first-time setup

- I suggest you DO NOT install Intel-RST when finished (or ever ... just use the included Microsoft drivers instead).

- On newer Dell machines, the Windows serial-key is stored in BIOS. Check that Windows-10 is automatically Activated as legit.

- Turn-on SecureBoot in BIOS if not already on. After rebooting a couple of times, run msinfo32 and check its status.

https://www.dell.com/community/Alienware-General/fixed/td-p/5627124

 

 


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Gaming when I'm not programming.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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7- Thorium

Re: Hard drive failure question.

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If you set BIOS to UEFI and AHCI as Tesla suggested, then you won't be able to use the SSD as a cache drive, assuming that's how it was used before the old hard drive failed.

In order for the SSD to be used as a cache, BIOS has to be set to RAID. And if it's a 32-GB SSD, it might be too small to install Win 10 and all your apps on it.

You don't need a "Product Key" to activate Win 10 on a new hard drive. Win 10 stores the key in BIOS so it should activate automatically, as long as you install the same version you already had, eg Home or Pro.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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Tesla1856
6 Thallium

Re: Hard drive failure question.

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@speedstepwrote:

" the operating system is NOT on the solid state drive"


Right.

Apparently, it happens quite a bit (especially on systems shipped with more than one drive).

It's also interesting how many times it goes undetected and only discovered when something breaks.

Or, it might just be a "baby SSD cache" config ... we may never know.


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Gaming when I'm not programming.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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Tesla1856
6 Thallium

Re: Hard drive failure question.

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@RoHewrote:

If you set BIOS to UEFI and AHCI as Tesla suggested, then you won't be able to use the SSD as a cache drive, assuming that's how it was used before the old hard drive failed.

In order for the SSD to be used as a cache, BIOS has to be set to RAID. And if it's a 32-GB SSD, it might be too small to install Win 10 and all your apps on it.

 


Right.

But we still don't know if she actually has a SSD and how big it is. If we did (and it turned out to be a small cache-er) we could advise her differently. Actually, if that was the case, I would advise buying a real (normal sized) SSD, and use that for OS boot ... doing away with the whole baby-ssd cache non-sense.

I had to answer the way I did due to lack of "following my directions".

 


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Gaming when I'm not programming.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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JaniceMorrow
1 Nickel

Re: Hard drive failure question.

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I apologize for not answering your questions, Tesla.  I had read the first response from RoHe and was planning to wait until my new hard drive arrived and try to re-install windows as was suggested. 

I did find out exactly the two drives that were installed when I bought the system:  Toshiba DT01ACA200 (2TB, 7200 RPM, 3.5-inch) and a solid state drive (NVMe CX2-8B256-Q11 NV).  When I tried to boot my system, the Dell Diagnostics indicated that I had a hard drive failure and when I scanned the corresponding QR code, it indicated that it was the Toshiba that failed.  I then tried to boot from the other drive (changing the boot order) with no luck as I had been under the impression that Windows was installed on that SSD.

I had three UEFI options with the F12 command:

Onboard NIC (IPV4)

Onboard NIC (IPV6)

Windows Boot Manager

I tried the 2nd option to boot with the IPV6.  I got a message, checking media presence, media present, start PXE Over IPV6 and then it just hung there.

I also tried to reboot with Windows Media Creation Tool and no luck, it just hung after the Dell logo disappeared.

So - I got out my trusty screwdriver and removed the failing Toshiba hard drive.  Just for the fun of it, I rebooted yet again and when the message about checking media presence, etc came up, I hit ESC and my computer booted.  

Long story, short...Windows WAS installed on my SSD after all which is what I had thought.  I knew I had set it up that way.  I used the Toshiba to store data (pictures, music, etc.) which I regularly back up (thankfully). 

So right now I have only my solid state drive installed which gives me my Windows and when my new hard drive arrives, I will hopefully have no issues installing it but I know where to come if I do.

Thanks for your help everyone.

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