replacing harddrive and os

  gomez554 20:46 23 Jul 2010

Hi everyone,

My dell inspiron 6400 of 5 glorious years just gave the "DTS short test failure" on the diagnostics screen (dead hard drive) just wondering if anyone can answer a few simple questions for me:

1: Can I put a new higher speed and memory (dell) drive into the laptop without causing any more problems, the original was 5400rpm 80gb, the new drive I’m considering buying is 7200rpm and 320gb

2: After I put in the new drive, can I install a brand new copy of Microsoft xp (cause the laptop only came with a recovery disk, which i've lost)

Note: The company I’m buying the hard drive says its full compatible with my old inspiron and they offer a 30 day money back guarantee, i'm more concerned with installing the new operating system.

To be honest i've never done this before and i could just use some reassurance that i'm not going to wreck any chance of getting the inspiron back. It was working perfectly up to the hard drive crash and i just can’t afford a new laptop right now....please help. thx

  Dark Mantis 21:16 23 Jul 2010

The only problem you might face with your new hard drive is that it will run hotter than the original and in a laptop that can be bad.
The installling a new OS shopuldn't be any real problem the worst that can really happen is that you will find trouble getting some of the drivers.

  rdave13 21:21 23 Jul 2010

The hard drive should be ok. If not the 30 day guarantee is ample.
This is the way I would do it, considering that your Dell will now be a 'normal' Laptop without all the bumf that comes with such companies.
Install your XP retail disc. When it asks to reformat the drive before insalling then I would.
Install XP. You will now have only the generic drivers but you should be able to connect to the internet via an ethernet cable. First job is to install a free antivirus. Avast 5 is my choice; unbeatable.
Now you will have XP's firewall and an antivirus.
Forget if you have no sound and the screen seems 'wavey' when you scroll as it is down to lack of drivers.
Now use windows updates to update your laptop.
If you get a message that your version is no longer supported then download SP3; click here
Hopefully you have a disc with SP1 or 2. If an XP disc with version SP3 then just install the latest updates.
Now for drivers.
As your machine has no personal info or programs I strongly suggest Driver Max. Got all my XP drivers through this firm when installing XP on an originally Vista laptop.
click here
Note only two downloads per day. You have to register with a proper email. It will take some days to get all the drivers needed.
It's a two way thing here, driver max suggests a driver for a particulad hardware and if successful the 'driver agent' sends this info back. Fair enough as it's a virtually a new machine.
As this progresses keep checking device manager and once you have no yellow triangles with exclamation marks you can do one of two things.
Uninstall Driver Max or go to msconfig and stop driver agent to start with windows. I suggest the latter for now just to see how the laptop performs.

  Ashrich 21:23 23 Jul 2010

You can install the 7200 rpm drive Ok , I run one in my 6400 no problems . Go to the Dell website and download the XP drivers for the Inspiron 6400 first and store them on a USB thumb drive or burn them to a CD/DVD so you have them to hand after the install .
Best of luck !!


  Terry Brown 21:30 23 Jul 2010

A new hard drive with the higher speed will work fine on your computer, I do not know if there is a limit to the size of harddrive that will fit into your machine, you may have to split it into (e.g.) 2 * 160 gb drives.

Provided you have a full RETAIL version of XP, there will no problems, however if it an OEM (Fixed to one machine)and you change the hardware, you may have a problem.

As you have another computer try this.

Get an adapter to connect your old hard drive to a USB port (see link) click here, and you may be able to recover your data or possibly even repair it.

As more and more people are changing from XP or VISTA to Windows 7, try asking on the forum to see if anyone could sell you an XP CD(no longer in use).

  gomez554 21:31 23 Jul 2010

are you saying that if i get a new copy of xp (lets say xp professional) i've got to download specific drivers for the inspiron from dell if so can you provide a link..please

  rdave13 21:47 23 Jul 2010

Forget my earliest post. You stick with Dell.

  Ashrich 21:56 24 Jul 2010

click here and enter your service tag ( on bottom of laptop ) or go through the menu to find your I6400 , select XP for the OS .


This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Alienware 17 R4 2017 review

Is this the future of VR and AR?

Best iPad buying guide 2017

Comment regarder le Bureau des Légendes en ligne ?