Essential knowledge, general troubleshooting, and best practices for resolving HDD, SSD, and OS issues.

Essential knowledge, general troubleshooting, and best practices for resolving HDD, SSD, and OS issues.


Table of Contents:

  1. Essential Knowledge
  2. General Troubleshooting
  3. Best Practices

This article provides essential knowledge, general troubleshooting, and best practices for dealing with hard disk drive (HDD), solid state drive (SSD), operating system (OS), and no boot issues.

Note: Dell is not liable for data loss caused by hard disk drive (HDD), solid state drive (SSD), operating system (OS), or no boot issues. Customers are responsible for creating, maintaining, and restoring backups of their data.



Essential Knowledge

  1. Ensure you have a backup of your data
  2. Make sure you have all of your product keys (e.g. Microsoft Office, third party software).
  3. Download select Windows media from Dell Support and create a Dell Hosted Recovery Image of Microsoft Windows.
  4. Best Options: Create a repair disc and system image (see Dell Downloads - Dell Backup Solutions - for more info)
    • This option requires an external HDD with enough free disk space.
    • This option includes the risk of backing up software issues if they are present.

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General Troubleshooting

Do you suspect HDD / SSD failure?

  1. Run ePSA and document any error and validation codes.
  2. Reseat the HDD / SSD at both connections (i.e. motherboard / controller and HDD / SSD).
  3. Test with a known good SATA cable and HDD / SSD.
  4. Load BIOS defaults.
  5. Flash the BIOS using a bootable flash drive.

Is the HDD / SSD usable?

  1. Ensure you have a backup of your data
  2. Make sure you have all of your product keys (e.g. Microsoft Office, third party software).
  3. Best Options: Create a repair disc and system image (see Dell Downloads - Dell Backup Solutions - for more info)
    • This option requires an external HDD with enough free disk space.
    • This option includes the risk of backing up software issues if they are present.

Is the HDD / SSD not usable?

  1. Make sure you have all of your product keys (e.g. Microsoft Office, third party software).
  2. Using any working system, download select Windows media from Dell Support and create a Dell Hosted Recovery Image of Microsoft Windows
  3. You will need to reinstall the operating system (OS) and all third party software.

If Windows does boot…

…and you do have Windows media.

  1. Run SFC using the Windows media or WinRE.
  2. Attempt to restore, refresh or reset Windows.
  3. Perform a startup repair using the Windows media.
  4. Attempt an upgrade or clean install using the Windows media or a system image.
Note: Performing an upgrade install over a clean install can avoid data loss while still fixing OS-related issues.

…and you do not have Windows media.

  1. Create a repair disc from another working system using Backup and Restore in Windows 7 and lower, Recovery Drive in Windows 8 and higher, or Dell Recovery and Restore in any version of Windows.
  2. Run SFC using a recovery disc or WinRE.
  3. Attempt to restore, refresh or reset Windows using a recovery disc.
  4. Perform a startup repair using a recovery disc.
  5. Attempt to recover Windows 8.1 or lower using Dell Backup and Recovery or Windows 10 or higher using Dell Developed Recovery Environment.
  6. Revert to an older installation of Windows (if still an available option within Windows 10).

If Windows does not boot…

…and you do have Windows media.

  1. Run SFC using the Windows media or WinRE.
  2. Attempt to restore, refresh or reset Windows.
  3. Perform a startup repair using the Windows media.
  4. Attempt an upgrade or clean install using the Windows media or a system image.
Note: Performing an upgrade install over a clean install can avoid data loss while still fixing OS-related issues.

…and you do not have Windows media.

  1. Create a repair disc from another working system using Backup and Restore in Windows 7 and lower, Recovery Drive in Windows 8 and higher, or Dell Recovery and Restore in any version of Windows.
  2. Run SFC using a recovery disc or WinRE.
  3. Attempt to restore, refresh or reset Windows using a recovery disc.
  4. Perform a startup repair using a recovery disc.
  5. Attempt to recover Windows 8.1 or lower using Dell Backup and Recovery or Windows 10 or higher using Dell Developed Recovery Environment.

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Article ID: SLN298900

Last Date Modified: 01/11/2019 11:55 AM


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