How do I install Dell recovery drive on new hd? - Disk Drives (HDD, CD/DVD, Blu-ray) Forum - Disk Drives - Dell Community

How do I install Dell recovery drive on new hd?

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How do I install Dell recovery drive on new hd?

  • My Inspiron 8600, just 14 months old, now has a major problem with the hard drive.  Even Dell's recovery tests, run from the "hidden" partition, couldn't complete the IDE Read Test (Error code 0F00:0244 a few times)
    I'm just about to try a reformat and reinstall of WinXP (it was the C: drive, naturally) but if that fails I'll have to replace the drive. 
    If I do replace the drive, how do I partition and install the contents of the Dell recovery disk?
  • Start with the Reinstall Guides accessable through the Product Support tab at the top-left of these pages. There are several documents detailing the installation of the operating system, drivers, utilities, and applications. Check the Downloads section to replace or update any of these other than the operating system, which is not available by download. It might be a good idea to order the SP2 CD from Microsoft also, unless it's included on the XP Reinstall CD.
    After finding and reviewing those, check this guide for the installation process.
    The gist of the procedure is that you boot to the XP CD, partition and format the drive as desired, install XP, install SP2?, install the chipset driver, then install the video, audio, and network drivers, followed by utilities, then applications. Or something similar. I didn't look up the specifics for your system.
  • Keith64,  my 8600 also 14 month old and hard disk developed bad blocks. Since I purchased 3 year warranty, Dell shipped replacement drive. I used Ghost 9.0 to image both hidden partition and C drive to my external USB drive. Using Ghost System Restore CD I was able to copy both partitions back to the new drive.

    What type of drive you have. I think mine was Travelstar 80GB. The replacement drive was Fujitsu.

  • Thanks, GreyMack, I'm reasonably confident I'll be able to install WinXP on what will be the C: drive.  I'm most concerned about the "hidden" partition at the front of the HDD which Dell has loaded with recovery and test utilities and, presumably DOS.


    Any ideas?

  • I suspect your system was not provided with the Dell/Symatnec Restore partition, just the small (32MB?) Diagnostics partition. The Restore partition should be separate, about 3-4GB, and was implemented as a standard practice on systems shipped since last summer. (The date escapes me, but it's posted on these boards occasionally.)
    If the Dell Diagnostics partition is intact, it may be possible to preserve it with imaging software as alex noted, but perhaps without the contents of the C: partition if that is likely to cause the imaging process to fail. (The diagnostics are also available from the Dell Downloads section, but I suspect they can only be run from floppy or as an application on the C: drive which may be run in a DOS window under Windows 9x. I believe it does not restore the hidden DOS partition from which Dell Diagnostics may launched.)
    I suspect it would be possible to boot to a DOS boot floppy, or a CD created to emulate a DOS boot floppy, and delete the contents of the C: partition (IF you can't access or don't need or don't want the contents) and try to use imaging software to copy the entire drive, including the MBR, the hidden Dell Diagnostics partition, and the empty C: partition, to CD-R, change drives, recover the image containing everything but the contents of the C: drive, then reinstall Windows on the C: partition. That could be a paragraph of speculation, but I have my suspicions. Imaging software does not need to read and copy unused space.
    I believe I recall someone imaging just the hidden diagnostics partition and figuring out a way to get it to work on a new hard drive, but that was way back last year sometime, and I'll have to look for where I might have left that bookmark. I preserved an image of my diagnostics partition for that purpose, but I have a floppy drive, and I haven't pursued an attempt to restore the hard drive capability.
    Before giving up on your current drive, are you relatively confident of the symptom analysis? Well, yes, if the Diagnostics failed, that eliminates all but the drive and the IDE interface, or IDE connection, or another device on the same IDE channel, but I believe the IDE channel is dedicated to the primary hard drive on that notebook. Can you gain any reliability from the drive by powering down, removing and re-seating the hard drive to see if the problem may be related to the connector? Do you have indications of bad sectors, of does the drive stop and cause Windows to freeze?
  • Thanks again, GreyMack.
    I am reasonably confident of the symptom analysis -
    There was gradual degradation over three or four days;
    the system would freeze with the HDD-IO light permanently on;
    sometimes if left a long while it would continue;
    I tried a disk maintenance utility (Spinrite) which found unrecoverable errors on drive C:;
    I have just tried running WinXP Setup from CD and it couldnt format drive C: (or E; or G:)
    I have a media-bay HDD too.  If I can set up WinXP on it, I'll be able to boot from the media-bay HDD and image the Dell Diagnostics from the old HDD to an external CD (PC-card connected).  Then, next time I find myself up the creek, at least I'll have a paddle!
    I'll now give Dell the joy of a HDD order and, when it arrives, I'll leave a 47Mb partition at the front for the Dell Diagnostics (My Dell Diagnostics partition is around 47Mb), always assuming I figure out how to load WinXP on the media-bay HDD, of course.
  • I would tend to concur with your hard drive analysis.
    When it's my own pocket, I like to check here for price and warranty comparisons.
    Some imaging software may not directly navigate the PC Card interface to save/restore an image, but an image file saved elsewhere can be transferred later by Windows like any other data file. You can probably directly save and restore an image of that partition to/from a folder in the C: partition without any problem, but if your imaging software is successful at navigating the PC Card interface, it would be good to know. This article from Symantec indicates it is possible with Ghost 8.0 or 2003, but not guaranteed because of various possible limitations, which I can only vaguely interpret.

    Restoring the Dell Diagnostics partition and functionality is a project I have been intending to pursue, but I have the floppy version and have not allocated the time. Again, I recall someone on these boards reporting success a while back, but that's the extent of my recollection.