[SOLVED] Installing a hard drive into Dell laptop; says OPERATING SYSTEM NOT FOUND

sgoss66

Commendable
Dec 24, 2016
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1,530
Hi, all.

My wife has a Dell Inspiron 5721 laptop, but it has a few issues (screen, fan noise, etc.) so I decided to buy a used one on ebay, without a HDD -- and my plan was simply to install her HDD into the "new" laptop.

I ordered a Dell Inspiron 5720, with no HDD. But, I'm having issues. It boots fine, with no HDD installed. However, when I insert the properly working Crucial 240 GB SSD from the working 5721 laptop, into this new 5720, it says "operation system not found." It's like it can't boot from the hard drive. I'm not tech savvy, but I did go into setup, made sure the boot order was correct (hard disk first), AND the computer does "see" the drive, because in setup where it shows what hard drive is installed, it lists the correct drive.

As a final test, I took the OLD hard drive from my wife's laptop (the one that came with the laptop, before we cloned it onto the SSD about a year ago), and I installed that one. Same thing -- "operation system not found," but, again, in setup, it could see that the drive was installed -- properly identifying it.

Any thoughts as to how I can get this working? I'm suspecting it may be a BIOS issue, but no idea what I need to do to fix it. If I recall correctly, the BIOS says "A02" in setup, if that helps anything...

Thanks!

Steve
 
Last edited:

sgoss66

Commendable
Dec 24, 2016
29
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1,530
So are you saying that I may be "out of luck" at getting this to work? I do know that it is set to AHCI vs. ATA...and I do see where I should have BIOS version A19 on this machine, not A02. No idea if this is the issue, or not, and if so, how to fix it...

Thanks!

Steve
 
Sorry to say that yes, you are "out of luck." The model you purchased as a replacement has a different CPU and a different video chip; due to different drivers, the Windows HAL and registry entries being different, you would have to reinstall Windows to get the newly purchased laptop up and running (which means data would be gone).

You can only get away with migrating a drive over without installing Windows when the hardware is identical, but even then you may need to reactivate Windows.
 

sgoss66

Commendable
Dec 24, 2016
29
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1,530
OK --

NEW APPROACH. Can someone let me know if this will work, since my "plug and play" idea with the hard drive from the 5721 being inserted directly into the 5720 seems like it won't work...

Will this work?

1. Remove the SSD from the 5721, and install the original "stock" hard drive from the 5721, and then wipe it/format it (format c: )

2. Clone the contents of the current SSD drive from the 5721, back onto the "stock" hard drive.

3. Wipe the SSD (format c: )

4. Remove the SSD from the 5721, and replace it with the "stock" hard drive -- which now should be "current," since I cloned the SSD contents onto the "stock" hard drive.

5. Install the formatted SSD into the "new" 5720, and then boot from a bootable Windows 10 install disk.

Then, with both laptops up and running, I can copy over the important files, via thumb drive, from the 5721 onto the 5720.

This should do it, right?

Thanks!

Steve
 

sgoss66

Commendable
Dec 24, 2016
29
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1,530
OK, thanks folks.

So, once I've copied, and then wipe the SSD clean, then at that point -- without the OS on it -- it sounds like I should then be able to install it into the new laptop, and do a clean install of Windows at that point and I should be good.

Thank you very much!

Steve
 

sgoss66

Commendable
Dec 24, 2016
29
0
1,530
OK, so based on the advice here, I realize I can't do what I wanted to do -- i.e. take the SSD from my wife's Dell Inspiron 5721, and "plug and play" it into the 5720. So, what I did is cloned her SSD onto her old hard drive -- just to have a backup of her 5721 in its current state. Now, what I'd like to do is wipe the SSD, and start from scratch with this SSD installed into the 5720.

I know that I will need to talk to Microsoft, and get a Windows 10 ISI file onto a bootable USB. But aside from that, my only question is, when I go to "wipe" the SSD, to place it in the 5720 and get it ready to receive the fresh install of Windows 10, is a "format C:" all I need to do? Will that "wipe" the drive in a way that will allow Windows 10 to install onto it? Or, will there still be some "remnant" of having been installed in the 5721 that will need to be dealt with before I can make the drive work in the 5720?

Thanks!

Steve
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
OK, so based on the advice here, I realize I can't do what I wanted to do -- i.e. take the SSD from my wife's Dell Inspiron 5721, and "plug and play" it into the 5720. So, what I did is cloned her SSD onto her old hard drive -- just to have a backup of her 5721 in its current state. Now, what I'd like to do is wipe the SSD, and start from scratch with this SSD installed into the 5720.

I know that I will need to talk to Microsoft, and get a Windows 10 ISI file onto a bootable USB. But aside from that, my only question is, when I go to "wipe" the SSD, to place it in the 5720 and get it ready to receive the fresh install of Windows 10, is a "format C:" all I need to do? Will that "wipe" the drive in a way that will allow Windows 10 to install onto it? Or, will there still be some "remnant" of having been installed in the 5721 that will need to be dealt with before I can make the drive work in the 5720?

Thanks!

Steve
You create your own Win 10 USB here:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Put the drive in the laptop. Then:

Section II, Step 6 & 7 speak to deleting all partitions and continuing with a completely blank drive.
 

sgoss66

Commendable
Dec 24, 2016
29
0
1,530
THANK YOU, USAFRet! I followed the instructions you gave, and they worked perfectly. I am up and running now.

One last question. The bootable USB I created, during the Windows Install process (version 1903)...can that be kept, and used again, should I have the need to re-load Windows? I know I'd still need a product key to complete the install, but will that USB now work anytime I needed to begin a WIndows install?

Thanks!

Steve
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
THANK YOU, USAFRet! I followed the instructions you gave, and they worked perfectly. I am up and running now.

One last question. The bootable USB I created, during the Windows Install process (version 1903)...can that be kept, and used again, should I have the need to re-load Windows? I know I'd still need a product key to complete the install, but will that USB now work anytime I needed to begin a WIndows install?

Thanks!

Steve
Yes, you can keep it for future use. Or, just make a new one next time.

Can be used to install on any system. If that system was previously licensed/activated with a valid OS, it would not need a new OS license.
 

DSzymborski

Illustrious
Moderator
Yeah, it's worth keeping around if you're in a pinch and you have an emergency need to reinstall Windows. But if it's a planned reinstall when you decided to reinstall Windows, then I'd download the latest version at the time.
 

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