I bought a hard drive upgrade for my Inspiron 9300 laptop:
Old Hard Drive: TG754 Hard Drive, 60G, 9.5MM, 7.2K Hitachi, Moraga Plus, Lead Free
New Hard Drive: 250GB SATA 3 Gb s Hard Drive 16 MB 7200 RPM 2.5IN w o Free Fall Scorpio Black
I'm sure I have installed it correct (simply slide it in and screw it) but my problem is that my laptop does not recognize the new drive. When booting it complains that no hard drive is found, and when I boot from my Windows XP it also says that no hard drive is found.
I followed Dell's recommended upgrade so I'm not sure why it isn't working. I have read that SATA drives require additional drivers, but I'm pretty sure that my old drive was already a SATA drive so I don't understand why it isn't being recognized.
Please help. Thanks.
The 9300 was made in two versions - the vast majority were EIDE. The last production run used SATA. Yours is EIDE.
The drives are physically the same size, and fit the same carrier - but the SATA version won't connect to the mainboard (look at the back of both drives and you'll see why).
The EIDE version has a BIOS limit of 120G -- it doesn't mean you can't use that 160 G drive, but the results can be unpredictable, sudden loss of all data. Keep backups if you try a 160 -- it's far safer to use a 120G.
No, a 5400 all else equal will be slower than a 7200 - but you don't have a choice, since all manufacturers ceased making 7200 rpm EIDE (PATA) notebook drives some time ago.
Replace the drive -- it's just not worth putting that kind of money into a system this old.
Replace the drive -- it's just not worth putting that kind of money into a system this old.
I agree, just replace the drive with the 120Gb option. I have an identical Inspiron 9300 which happily accepts a 120Gb HDD, no problems in the BIOS or with Windows. Just remember to move the connector over from the old HDD to the new one. It's a block that pushes onto the pins of P-ATA Hard Disk Drive with flat connectors that then slide into the connector block on the motherboard at the internal end of the HDD bay. If you don't do this, then the drive won't actually be connected to the motherboard and so won't be recognised by the BIOS. If you compare the original HDD with the replacement, you will clearly see the connector block over the pins of the P-ATA connector.
I certainly wouldn't waste too much money on upgrading the whole motherboard as well as the HDD, on a machine that is now pretty much out of date.
Don't know whether anyone else is still playing with these things - I am so probably a few others are. There are rules;
Inspiron 9300 with a SATA drive were called 9300S - I have never seen one and no one I know has ever seen one - very rare indeed because....they were almost instantly replaced by Inspiron 9400. This had a SATA drive but....Dell never made a BIOS that supported the SATA mode so the drive (although SATA) runs in (P)ATA mode only - not important for a machine like this. Returning to the maximum drive for a 9300; BIOS maximum support is OK up to 120GB disk. If you wish to let your operating system support a larger drive without partitioning it (like Windows XP SP3 for example) then there are three rules - disobey these rules and the machine will one day refuse to boot. Rule 1 - disable BootOptimizeFunction in the registry (or windows will one day helpfully move your boot files out of the area supported by the BIOS. Rule 2 - do not bother to create restore points (turn it off) because even if you create them when you try to use them the odds are that some files needed to boot the machine will get moved out of the area supported by the BIOS. Rule 3 - never do anything "low level" to the disk either within or outside of windows. Have 160GB running as single partition and have never had a problem following these rules.
The original drive you had is EIDE. You must use an EIDE drive to replace it - you cannot use a SATA drive in your system.
Thanks for the info ejn63.
I'm left wondering why when I click on "Parts & Upgrades" for my system I'm shown nothing but SATA drives and not a single, solidary EIDE drive?? Does DELL even sell EIDE drives because I can't find any?
Also I'm complete confused about the EIDE vs PATA vs SATA. On the back of my hard drive I thought it had the letters 'ATA', so I was thinking it was SATA because that is all that Dell lists for upgrades. Then, through browsing these forums some say that it could be PATA. Now you're saying it's EIDE, but I can't find any EIDE hard drives anywhere. I'm completely lost.
I saw in another thread that you said the connectors were different between EIDE and SATA, but when I got my new SATA it fit perfectly into the motherboard. I would think if they were two completely incompatable connectors then the new drive would not have fit??
edit: Ok through some more research I've found that PATA and IDE are essentially the same thing. Also, someone mentioned that a 160GB 5400 may run just as fast as a 80GB 7200. Am I on the right track? Someone mentioned this as a viable option, do you agree:
Thanks again for the quick answer.
Yeah I went through the zillion threads about the drive size limit and the jest I gathered was that if you go higher than 120GB then be sure to create your OS partition smaller than 120GB or you'll eventually experience a failure. If I decide to go higher than that I'll definitely create a backup, but the 120 definitely appears to be the safer bet.
I hear you in regards to the SATA not connecting to my motherboard but I'm almost certain mine did, unless it slid in perfectly but no connections were ultimately made. I was able to slide mine in and screw it in with no problems so I'm a little weary of that. When I get home I'll do a direct comparison of the connectors and check back.
I also have an Inspiron 9300, and mine is definitely EIDE or PATA or ATA. The three terms are interchangable, the second term (PATA) came in to use after SATA was developed. The EIDE connector is a double line of 43 pins, plus 4 more pins separated off to one side which are for Jumper Settings that you almost never need in a laptop. To connect into the 9300 there will be a connector over this that is a double sided flat connector with contacts on both sides. This flat connector only covers the block of 43 pins, and not the extra 4 Jumper Pins. The connector can be carefully pulled off the Hard Drive pins and will need to be put onto the replacement EIDE drive.
At least here in India, the EIDE 2.5" notebook drives are still easily available, generally in sizes up to 120Gb. I would suggest going to a good computer store to get a replacement EiDE drive. For one thing they will probably have drives at much cheaper prices than Dell does, or did in the case of EIDE HDDs, and secondly they will almost certainly be able to get a drive for you, if they don't have it in stock. I've just checked the Hitachi GST website and they still manufacture EIDE (PATA) notebook drives. The Travelstar E5K160 is available in various capacities and as either an SATA or PATA (EIDE) drive. You would need to specifically ask for the PATA (EIDE) drive when ordering. Their website is;
As I always partition my Hard Disk Drive anyway I've not had any problems with data loss on my system. I always recomend that you have two partitions, one for the OS and programs and the second for your Data. This way if anything ever goes wrong you can mess around with the OS Partition and know that all your Data is safe on the second partition.
Assisting NGO's with IT Support Services.
Thanks a bunch for the great information guys, it is indeed an IDE and I will be pursuing your suggestions on a viable upgrade.
I found a couple of options that I'd like to run by you guys if you don't mind, both 120GB.
Says ATA & 2.5in, but doesn't mention IDE:
Says PATA & IDE, but doesn't mention 2.5 in.
Both drives are parallel ATA and will work.
wow am I glad to have found this forum! I have spent hours and hours on the phone with Dell after they sent me a SATA drive that is supposed to fit my computer which I now see is PATA (old drive has the pins and jumper).
Dell still swears they sent me the right drive and in fact sent me a replacement which was the exact same as the first one (WD 250GB SATA).
So I just wanted a little double check to make sure that this one would fit since I'm not quite clear if a ATA-6 is the same as PATA
I have a inspiron 9300 that came with a 60GB PATA drive (pins and jumper). I may be revealing that I am not very educated but the picture also shows the drive without the cover right? The one in my computer looks different so I just wanted to be sure.
Yes, ATA-6 is PATA. The first spec to mention SATA was ATA-7.
Dell Forum member since 2005
I knew it. I'm in trouble.
I have an Inspiron 9300, bought in December 2005, and thought it needed an upgrade. I've added memory to the maximum 2GB, and wanted to replace the hard disk. I checked the upgrade parts from Dell using my Service Tag number. I drooled when seeing the inexpensive 320GB, 7200RPM drive for only $70.
Feeling uncomfortable with ordering online, I contacted Dell's sale and order the 320GB drive. Again, I wanted Dell to ensure that the drive would fit my computer. The sale person assured me that it would. He said nothing could go wrong when he got the part based on my Service Tag. He also verified that with Dell's technical personnel and his manager. So, the 320GB, 7200RPM SATA hard drive was ordered and on its way to my home anytime soon.
After reading this forum, I was currious. I took the drive from my computer and noticed that it has the IDE/PATA connection. I pulled out the picture of the drive I ordered, and noticed a completely different connection - the SATA connection.
I called Dell and requested the verification. Dell, again, assured me that it will work, eventhough I had already communicated my concerns.
I'm not sure how things will fit together once I get the drive in a couple of days, but I'm worried. I've put my trust in Dell since 1995, through 6 different computers, and could be two more this year when my kids are old enough to have one in their room. I hope Dell's technical/sale personnel know what they were talking about.
So far, my experience with Dell has been good, except that I've had difficulties understanding the technical/sale support personnel. Not being an English native speaker myself, I sympathy with Dell's non-American support staffs. However, I couldn't undestand them most of the time, especially when they spoke fast! I hope Dell could provide better English training to its non-American employees as well. My frustation kept increasing everytime I called for support. I sometimes wonder if loyalty is worth the anxiety.
Misery loves company, welcome to our common hell.
I'm telling you this to save many hours of your life. I spent 6 calls, several of them longer than 2 hours. It doesn't matter how high up the chain you go it is impossible to convince anyone at Dell of this problem. I even emailed pictures of the 2 drives side by side. The guy on the other end then said he would send a replacement drive that was sure to fit. I said I wanted to be sure he wasn't sending me the same drive, he assured me he wasn't. He then sent me the same drive.
My advice: cut your losses now. When you get it don't open the package and send it back for a refund. Buy a PATA drive and avoid calling Dell at all costs. I too have bought several computers from Dell but this drive situation is really an endless waste of time.
Who would have guessed that they wouldn't be able to tell you what hard drive is compatible with the computer they built?
I was thinking I could cleverly swap out my i9300 IDE motherboard for one of the later SATA ones, and then hook up a 1 TB drive. But where would I get the appropriate BIOS file? I only see the one file on Dell's site. Is there any way this could work?
If you can find one, maybe. Very few 9300s had SATA mainboards -- you may be in for a long search to find one.