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How to Resolve Hard Drive or Solid-State Drive Issues on your Dell Computer

Summary: This article provides information about how to troubleshoot and resolve common hard drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD) issues on a Dell computer.

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Article Content


  • Hard drive-related error messages such as 'Hard Drive not Detected', 'No Boot Device Found', 'No Boot Partition Found', 'Data error Reading Drive', 'Seek error - Sector not found', and more.
  • The computer stops at a blank or black screen with a blinking cursor.
  • The computer does not boot into the operating system.
  • Operating system-related error messages during boot process such as 'Missing Operating System'.
  • Clicking, grinding or whining noise from the hard drive.

If you are getting a RAID-related error message, learn how to configure RAID on a Dell computer or how to troubleshoot a RAID hard drive issue on a Dell computer.

If you are getting a STOP error, also called a blue screen error, learn how to troubleshoot blue screen or STOP error code on a Dell computer.

If you are having trouble with an external USB hard drive, learn how to troubleshoot USB issues on a Dell computer.

How to Fix Hard Drive Errors

Learn how to troubleshoot and fix hard drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD) issues.

Duration: 02:38
When available, closed caption (subtitles) language settings can be chosen using the Settings or CC icon on this video player.


It is important to identify if the hard drive is failing on the computer. Bad or corrupted sectors on a hard drive can cause performance issues and operating system boot issues.


  1. Turn off the computer. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
  2. Disconnect the AC adapter or power cable from the computer, and remove the battery (for Dell laptops with removable battery).
    NOTE: For Dell laptops that have a non-removable battery, learn How to Reset Real Time Clock (RTC). For Dell laptops with removable batteries, see the User Guide for your Dell laptop for step-by-step instructions to safely remove the battery.
    NOTE: On select Dell Latitude laptops, try to recover the laptop using the forced ePSA method from a POST or boot failure. Learn How to Use Forced ePSA to Recover from POST or Boot Failure on Dell Latitude PCs .
  3. Disconnect all devices such as USB drives, printers, webcams, and media cards (SD/xD). Except the keyboard and mouse.
  4. Press and hold the power button for 15 to 20 seconds to drain residual power.
  5. Connect the power cable (for Dell desktops), AC adapter, and the battery (for Dell laptops).
  6. Turn on the computer.

If this did not resolve the issue, go to the next step.

To determine if your Dell computer is experiencing a hardware problem, it is recommended that you first run a hardware diagnostic test. Dell offers both integrated and online diagnostics.

If the computer cannot boot into Windows, run the preboot diagnostic test on a Dell computer:

  1. Turn on the computer and tap the F2 key several times until you see the One Time Boot Menu.
  2. Select Diagnostics and press Enter.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the preboot diagnostic test.
  4. If the tests pass, the hard drive is working correctly. The issue is likely related to the operating system or software that is installed on the computer.
  5. If the test fails, make a note of the Service Tag, error code, and validation code. Look up the preboot diagnostic error code and contact Dell Technical Support for repair options in your region.

If the computer can boot into Windows and can access the internet, run the Dell online diagnostics:

  1. Browse to
  2. Identify your Dell computer.
    1. Click Download & Install SupportAssist to auto-detect your Dell computer. Follow the on-screen instructions to install Dell SupportAssist (if required).
    2. Or, enter the Service Tag or Express Service Code of the Dell computer and click Search.
    3. Or, click Browse all products and manually select your Dell computer from the catalog.
  3. Go to the Diagnostics tab.
  4. Click Run Quick Test.
    NOTE: If SupportAssist is not installed on your Dell computer, you will be prompted to download and install the SupportAssist app.
  5. If the test passes, go to the next step.
  6. If the test fails, contact Dell Technical Support for repair options in your region.

Sometimes, the external devices can cause issues with booting the operating system, blue screen or stop errors. Unplug any external storage devices such as external drives, docking stations, and other hardware that is plugged into the computer and then restart the computer.

If you don't experience the issue after restarting the computer, the external device may be the cause of the problem, and you'll need to contact the device manufacturer for additional support.

If this did not resolve the issue, go to the next step.

Dell recommends updating the device drivers and BIOS as part of your scheduled update cycle. Device drivers and BIOS updates may contain feature enhancements or changes that help keep your system software current and compatible with other system modules (hardware and software) and can increase stability.

Learn how to download and install the latest BIOS update on your Dell computer.

Learn How to Download and Install Dell Drivers.

If this did not resolve the issue, go to the next step.

The System File Checker and Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM.exe) are command-line tools to scan Windows and repair the missing or corrupt system files.

  1. Restart the computer and boot into Windows. If the computer cannot boot into Windows, boot into safe mode with networking.
  2. Click Start and search for Command Prompt or cmd.
  3. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  4. At the command prompt, type sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  5. The System File Checker will scan and verify the operating system files. Do not close the command prompt window until the verification is 100% complete.
  6. Restart the computer and check if the issue is resolved.
  7. If the issue is not resolved, repeat steps 1 and 2.
  8. At the command prompt, type DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and press Enter.
    NOTE: The DISM tool requires an active internet connection. Connect an ethernet (RJ45) cable directly from the router to the computer. Safe mode with networking does not support wireless (Wi-Fi) internet connection.
  9. The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool will connect to Windows Update online to download and replace missing or corrupted Windows system files (if applicable).
  10. After the repair process is complete, restart the computer.

If this did not resolve the issue, go to the next step.

System Restore is a Microsoft Windows operating system feature that can help fix certain types of crashes and other computer problems. System Restore reverts your computer's state (including computer files, installed applications, Windows Registry, and computer settings) to a previous point in time.

Learn how to recover the computer using System Restore in Microsoft Windows .

If this did not resolve the issue, go to the next step.

If your Dell computer continues to lock up or the troubleshooting steps above did not resolve the issue, consider reinstalling the operating system. Learn how to Factory reset, restore, or reinstall Microsoft Windows on a Dell computer .

Note: Do you own a Dell laptop? Send your laptop in for in-warranty repairs , and we will identify and resolve the problem if you can't get Windows to boot up. This service is currently available in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Additional Information

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Out of Warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Browse to the website and enter your Dell Service Tag and view our offers.

NOTE: Offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and China personal computer customers. Server and Storage are not applicable.

Article Properties

Affected Product

Alienware, Inspiron, Legacy Desktop Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Legacy Laptop Models, Fixed Workstations, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

02 May 2024



Article Type