Swapping identical drives is annoying my XPS1530

cgilley

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Greetings

I have a venerable, trust Dell XPS1530 that i use as my main development platform. It supports SATA drives, and my backup solution is to simply image the main drive (256GB SSD) to a slower/cheaper spinner.

This approach has worked very well over the years. I've had this laptop over three operating systems - xp, vista and now Windows 7 (times three for the backups). I f need to go to an older drive, I just pop the drive I need in and boot. Works well.

However, lately, the laptop is getting upset with me. Pop another drive in, and it takes a long time to go through the RAM check, then it may or may not see the "new" or other drive. Its almost as if the BIOS is remembering something from the past. Once it boots to the new drive, rebooting with the same drive is fine. Dell support was useless in this case (understandably so).

Any ideas or thoughts?

Thanks,

Charles G
 

RetiredChief

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Have a simular set up on a laptop @ work, Have two HDDs that I have to swap depending on if I'm connecting to o'scope to capture waveforms, or connect to a digital temp/RH unit to download the temps and relative humidity for the cleanroom (once a month). Have not had a problem.

My quess is :
1) The contacts (data and or pwr). Possible the tension is weaking on one of the pins. These connectors are not make for high remove/connect cycles. Hard to prove - whould have to take a chance and replace - high cost and may not be the problem. Alternative is to use a straight pin to see if you can retension - Must use caustion and GROUND yourself.
2) HDDs having a problem, ie developing problem reading a given sector - since this is with two different drives, low probabilty. Can run diagnotic on drive.
3) If it is infact a bios problem, I would expect it is starting to have ram problems. Run Prime95 to check ram.
 

Chainzsaw

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I wonder if it has anything to do with your CMOS battery. I notice that laptop is at least 2-3 years old (going by the model).

It could be resetting everything back to defaults once you power off and plug in a new HDD making it think something went wrong - in reality maybe it just needs a new battery to keep the BIOS settings.

I could be way off though.
 

cgilley

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Good suggestion, but if I don't swap drives all is well. The wild card seems to be that the drives are different - size and type.
 

cgilley

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not losing time that I know of. Of course Windows updates the time once it's up and running, so I'll need to watch it when it boots.
 

cgilley

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Wow, a real pain to find this post! Note to Tom's Hardware - search is lacking.

Anyway, I wanted to follow up this post in the hope it may prove useful to someone in the future. I finally tracked down what was going on with my laptop. After doing backups and what have you, there were times when it would take upwards of 15 minutes for the laptop to boot - it was clearly in a "find something to boot from" search.

It only did this at home, never at work.

Well, I reconfigured my USB support in my home office. Bought a new 10 port hub so I could stop plug swaps. One of the devices on this hub is a Western Digital Book device - essentially a USB disk. Turns out the laptop is trying to boot from it. The WD device isn't quite sure what the laptop is trying to do and keeps fending it off. Leave the USB plug out, and the laptop fires up instantly every time.

Forehead slap.
 
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