Question Dell Inspiron 1545 - hard drive healthy but not detected


Apr 10, 2004

I'm diagnosing a non-booting Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop for a friend. At startup it says "Internal hard disk drive not found". When I run diagnostics (F5) it confirms the absence of the HDD:
** Hard Drive - DST Short Test **
Test Results : Warning
Msg: Hard Drive - No Hard Drive detected
I've removed the hard drive (it is inserted into the side of the machine using a caddy) and connected it to another PC using a SATA caddy. It spins up and seems healthy - I can read the files on the boot partition.
I removed the battery and replaced the HDD in the laptop, pressing firmly as I inserted it, and tightened the screws, but it still would not detect the HDD.
So I tried removing the caddy from the drive, to allow me to press the drive more directly into the connector on the motherboard. The drive was recognised, and the laptop started up and did a disk check. Following the disk check (which found no errors), and after a long delay, the machine rebooted but startup failed with a BSOD: "Driver Power State Failure".
When I tried to reboot again it reverted to not being able to detect the hard drive again. I tried removing and re-seating it several times (without the caddy), but couldn't get the machine to detect it again.
Any ideas for anything else that I could try? Does this sound like a hardware issue with the motherboard?


It's probable that the SATA port on the laptop has been compromised, which could explain how the HDD works on a donor machine but not on the laptop. The latter portion of your post seems like the HDD might be having trouble dealing with the data/partitions/OS. You can rule out the drive that originally came with the laptop to be failing by dropping in a known working drive/SSD into the port of the laptop, see if you can get the laptop to operate normally.