Replacing Boot Up HDD with SanDisk SSD in a Dell XPS 8700

FarrellFritz
FarrellFritz used Ask the Experts™
on
I recently installed SanDisk SSD Plus 1TB on a Dell XPS 8700 (I7 12GB RAM) with the intent of relegating the existing boot up HDD to be used simply for extra storage.

Cloned the HDD with both Symantec Ghost and Arconis  True Image WD edition, changed the boot up sequence in the BIOS and let her rip.  Exact same results with both cloning software.

Seems it completes a partial startup.  Network including my VPN connection to the office (started with a start up task in task manager) both seem to be working (I get the DUO text/prompt on my phone for MFA).  So "something" is working but the login screen never comes up and I get an arrow (my pointer plus the small rotating blue circle.  THe SSD is doing "something" as the activity LED is going mad.  Let it sit for an hour and it never came up.

SanDisk support suggested that the source drive must have some issue so to prove them wrong I cloned it to another HDD and it booted up fine.  Appears specific to the SSD.

Anything I'm missing here?  Have used Ghost over a thousand times over the years and never had this problem.  ONLY difference here is that I left the old boot drive in the system.

Any help appreciated.  SanDisk support not really responsive taking 2 days or more to receive a reply to my follow ups.

Thanks
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Try updating BIOS and Chipset in the machine and then try SSD drive again.

I changed the Hard Drive in my Lenovo Desktop for a Samsung SSD and installed Windows 10 fresh and all is well. BIOS already up to date.

Check to see BIOS is set for UEFI BIOS and not Legacy.

Wait for SanDisk to respond to say the SSD is compliant with your computer.

If nothing important (failed image) is on the SSD, put it in and try installing Windows 10 or other OS fresh and see if it installs properly
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software Engineer

Commented:
Not all SSDs are created equal.  It was quite common in the past and it is still fairly common to find that an SSD would work fine on manufacturer A model alpha, and not at all on manufacturer B model beta.

The situation is exacerbated now by the fact that some SSDs have DRAM cache and some do not, so the timing expected by a hardware SATA controller may be way off.

In this situation I'd eat my crow and return this drive to the vendor as it appears that it's not going to work short of reinstalling Windows from scratch, and perhaps not even if that is done.  Then go out on the net and search to see what SSD models have been found to work with your specific model of system.

Note:  In the past Dell has locked up their BIOSes in server-grade systems so that only Dell-supplied equipment will work.  Whether that is the case here is  unknown, but I doubt that updating the BIOS would solve the problem.  Flashing a BIOS is always sticking your head into a dragon's mouth while yelling "Bite me!  I dare ya!  I double dog dare ya!"  Safe practice is to never upgrade a BIOS unless there is a written description of the upgrade changes and one of those changes fixes your specific problem.

There is only one thing I can think of that might change the situation with the hardware in hand, and that is switch the SATA setting from AHCI to native, or vice versa.  But reclone the drive before trying that as there is no telling what state the SSD is in now.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
you can try making an image instead of cloning, it can help
and what OS are you running?
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Author

Commented:
Hi John

Thought you might have nailed it with the UEFI vs. legacy boot but alas nada.  Same results.

Also tried from image (instead of direct clone) with same results.

May give your suggestion about installing Windows on the new drive just as a test this weekend but I had already tried loading the image to another drive (not SSD) and it booted up fine so submit the image is not the issue.

Certain I'm missing something.  Perhaps there is some strange need to plug the new SSD in the 0 port on the mother board.  Going to try that also.

Thanks!

Author

Commented:
Nobus

Windows 10 Pro. All up to date (patches).

Thanks
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Please let us know about installing Windows fresh on the new drive.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
is the SSd seen in the bios ?

Author

Commented:
All

Thanks for the replies.  Consolidating my responses here.

nobus - The SSd is visible in the BIOS.  That is how I tell the system to boot off the SSd.  As an aside, it is also visible in Computer Management  |  Disk Management when I boot off the legacy drive.

Also important to note that if I boot off the legacy drive post cloning all the files on the SSd are accessible

John - Installing Windows fresh on the drive not my first choice since it cannot be a solution but would only point to the image as the problem however have already crossed that one off my list by restoring the image to another similar dell and it worked fine. Also tried as you had recommended changing the boot

Dr. Klahn - Haven't found the  SATA setting you described yet (SATA setting from AHCI to native, or vice versa) but will give that a shot, probably tonight.  Have a feeling you might be right about compatibility.  Addressing that I opened another case with SanDIsk (they had not responded to my previous update in 4 or 5 days) specifically asking that very question.

Thanks everyone

Stan
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
when you hook that drive to a working PC, check if it is empty
some have manufacturer softwares on it

Author

Commented:
Deleted the partitions before cloning.  But thanks!

SanDisk is now claiming the SSD is defective and in the process of replacing it.  Think not but cant argue with the "experts."
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
That is what we suggested above - defective disk
It took long enough and involved (unnecessarily) getting a replacement drive, but just  this last weekend I resolved the problem.

Booted up using a bootable flash drive, and using DISKPART noticed that the drive letters associated with the SSD was not your typical C.

Removed the C drive (and other partitions) designated drive letter from the HDD and assigned them to SSD.  (If you don't remove them you get an error indicating the drive letter is in use).  Didn't work.

Disconnected the HDD and repeated the process.  Still no good.

With the HDD still disconnected I REMOVED the drive designations on the SSD and rebooted.  

System came up perfectly.  Formatted the old HDD using USB cable and then reinstalled in the box (again removing all drive letters).

Everything is perfect.  

Thanks for everyone's suggestions.

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