Question Failed Hard Drive with confusing ePSA Test Results

Oct 29, 2020
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I recently dug out an 8-year old pre-built Alienware X51 PC that I had stopped using about 3 years ago. When attempting to boot it, the hard drive makes a loud clicking sound about 10 times, and the message on screen reads "internal hard disk drive not found." When I run the ePSA it reports a total success, but shows NA next to the Hard Drive. In the Results tab, it says the following for the Hard Drive:

** Hard Drive 0-0-0 - DST Short Test **
Test Results: Not Applicable

Is it still possible for me to create a Recovery Drive from this hard drive, or is it totally shot?
I have a new hard drive to replace it with but my understanding is that I need either a recovery drive or a copy of Windows in order to boot with it.
 
Sounds like the drive is failing. There are a couple of different methods to get the drive to work for a limited time (such as freezing), but I am not familiar enough with these methods to recommend an exact procedure. Hopefully someone else with more experience will chime in.
 
Oct 29, 2020
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I would also try booting a parted magic live cd and run the smart tests there.
I think the hard drive is definitely failing, what I'm wondering is if it's past the point of no return and I just have to buy a new copy of Windows. I'll give Parted Magic a shot, I just need to get a flash drive. Thanks for the recommendation!
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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Gotcha. It was Windows 7. Do I have any alternatives to buying a new OS?
Since you almost certainly did not create a Factory Reset USB or DVD set, and given that you can ONLY get that from AlienWare....you might see if it will magically update itself to a valid Win 10.

You can install Win 10 without a license purchase.
It might activate itself. It might not.
Costs $0 to try.
 
Reactions: WarpedSilencer
Oct 29, 2020
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Since you almost certainly did not create a Factory Reset USB or DVD set, and given that you can ONLY get that from AlienWare....you might see if it will magically update itself to a valid Win 10.

You can install Win 10 without a license purchase.
It might activate itself. It might not.
Costs $0 to try.
Thanks for the info! I'm downloading the Win10 installer to a flash drive now and I'll give it a shot. Would you happen to know if the Win 7 product key that came with the PC originally would work with 10, or even to reinstall 7?
 
Oct 29, 2020
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If you've got the coa for win7, it will definitely work with the os image download from dell.
I downloaded and installed Dell's Recovery Tool, but when prompted to search by Service Tag or Express Service Code I get no results from either. Haven't found a lot of answers but it seems that may only be for Win 10.
 
Oct 29, 2020
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Thanks all for the help - The Win10 fresh installation worked fine, and somehow I was able to use the Win7 product key to activate it. Needless to say, I'm creating a recovery drive immediately!
 

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