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I've recently got myself a used Dell M6700 and since I have some parts laying around I thought it was a good idea to play with it a little. All mods have gone good so far and I am down to the configuration for best performance and data safety. This thread is about configuring hard drives so that they give me reliability in case of emergency.
My configuration is:
M6700, i7 3940XM, GTX880m, 16GB RAM, Windows 10 x64 Anniversary Edition
1x ADATA DP910 SSD 1TB (main storage)
1x Samsung PM 851a SSD mSATA 1TB (secondary storage)
1x Seagate ST1000LM024 1TB (backup drive)
How do I use the PC?
I use the main storage for OS (partition 1 with ~300 GB space) and programs (partition 2, remaining space), which are mostly music production tools, video and graphic design tools and some games from time to time. The secondary storage is currently used as a place for downloads and data that I don't use super-frequently, such as old photos, old music projects, etc. The HDD drive is in a separate bay and I can plug it in/out anytime. Currently empty and waiting for further actions.
What do I need?
I have experienced different drive failures in the past and am aware that nothing lasts forever. I am super nervous about the data I store on my main drive as sometimes I need to carry the laptop with me to play a gig or work somewhere away from home. In these situations I need to be sure nothing happens to the PC or that I have an easy backup. What I want to achieve is a setup that works like this: main drive working most of the time, secondary storage for less important data and a backup drive that'd essentially be a clone of the main drive - if the ADATA fails I wish I could switch the boot sequence in BIOS options to the backup drive and make the PC work again with the same OS, same settings and most importantly, very quickly after the failure.
Now, I know that my M6700 comes with RAID configuration, but for now I am using AHCI setup for the three drives. First question is: is the RAID controller of my laptop a hardware one or is it a software option? I don't want to use anything that would slow down the CPU. As far as I know - RAID 1 (never used it before) is something similar to what I want - I believe it clones the drive (does it also clone MBR?) sector by sector. Would it work as I described above? If yes then do I need to reinstall Windows again to change from AHCI to RAID? Or maybe after the change a FIXMBR method would be enough to get it going again?
Windows 10 comes with several backup options: File History, System Image Backup and the regular Backup. To my knowledge, none of these options are what I need - a quick way to repair my laptop if the main drive stops working. Yes, I could probably restore my data from these backups, but no, I won't be able to boot the PC in 5 minutes after the failure, am I right?
Would it be better to just purchase some backup software and set it to automatically clone my drive from time to time? Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment
Hi i need help! i have got an asus t200ta-cp018h and this is the board where is the slot for the wifi card.
i would like mount an ssd in the wifi card slot. is it possible for you? Is this port pci-e or pci-s/sata combo?
I need a Kingspec SSD Mini PCI-E IDE/PATA or a Kringspec mSATA Half MINI PCI-E MLC SSD?
Could you help me?
Well I have now banged my head against this wall for a week.
Here is the basics of my system, all other parts are standard:
Alienware M17xR4 (delivery date May 2012)
Intel 3720QM processor w/Intel HD 4000 iGPU
AMD 7970m 015.017.000.000.042717 (if I read the right sticker)
Samsung 850 Evo SSD msata 1TB (removed other 2 Mechanical HDD's to simplify troubleshooting
8 GB Ram
Windows 7 64bit service pack 1 - installed fresh not a factory install, manually installed drivers myself (Winupdate last run in Feb 2016, then ran it on May 17, 2016 with a restore point being created before the windows update started, windows failure May 19, 2016 approx 10pm local time for me)
System Bios: A12
No overclocking attempted, ever. All parts are running at system spec settings
AMD are Leshcat drivers 15.7 WHQL Unifl.
IntelRST 11.x - version required with
Dell drivers for Alienware OSD, Respawn, and other related software, all drivers where possible were most current on site or by maker of product, i.e. Intel Management Interface)
While I was playing a game a week ago, the computer froze, no mouse movements, alt-f4 would not close the program, no keyboard response. It was typical as this game has issues with the switchable graphics and only sees the Intel HD4000, even though in the AMD CCC I set it Max Perform (main reason for running Leshcast drivers since Dell and AMD had old versions and/or drivers that were having issues or had the CCC lock some programs into one performance category or another and user couldn't change).
Inital Action Taken:
So when I rebooted nothing showed up. So I did my normal routine, windows recovery environment off Windows 7 Sp1 64bit retail disc. Nothing happened. sfc /scannow wouldn't run, chkdsk with the various / settings found nothing. I thought this was strange never had this issue before. So I figure well lets go into safe mode and find out what is going on. It just went to a blank screen with a mouse cursor I could move but no shortcut keys brought anything but sticky keys up.
After spending hours trying different things, I started to get the 0x07b error. So I did something I don't like, system restore. The only restore point I had was just before a Windows Update was done. Now everything started to go wrong. I would find one solution, but it would not work.
I deleted the prefetch directory and removed the Panther directory, in hopes of resetting the prefetch setup.
Trying to learn how to put back together the Windows Boot Manager/BCD. I can't confirm if the BCD has been configured in the registry or not since I am only able to load the 5 hive keys in the c:\windows\system32\config and the date on the registry backups were almost 2 hours after the problems started, so they have been of little use.
No additional restore points, just the one that I already tried and of course that leaves me with nothing.
Reading to many forums
Some of the Solutions attempted:
rename amd drivers and oem file
safe mode w/networking
windows system repair x3
sfc /scannow - won't allow
rebuilt the bcd, uefi partition correctly labeled
adjust entries in reg to remove amd/ati (but made backups before deletion of the keys)
removed all drives but the SSD and no usb devices
ran Norton Tool (ISO) for scanning for viruses/malware - results clean as a whistle (and that was with SSD + 2 HDD).
I have seen about 5 different errors show up in the Windows RE, but they change frequently, I get the Boot Status Indicates that the OS booted Successfully.
I even put in an older clone of this computer, it was from around August 2015. It got into Windows normal mode. I looked around in the SSD for some sort of errors, bad files, etc. Then I made the mistake of seeing if I could boot again into Normal mode on this clone. Opps! Now it won't boot. I can off and on get into safe mode on the clone (not the ssd).
Finally it went to the black screen with mouse cursor. I gave up and removed it as it obviously wasn't of much use now.
The Alienware model physical installation location of the Msata part is not at all easy to get too, as it all but requires a system tear down almost down to just the frame holding the motherboard.
When I had access to safe mode/normal (fyi, I do not have either ways to access Windows) I had Samsung Magician 4.7 software check the status of the SSD and no issues.
A new issues that started to appear was in the bios of the laptop. It no longer called the discrete graphics AMD 7970m and Intel HD 4000, now calls them ATI gfx and Ivy Bridge, respectively.
I eventually got Windows RE command Bootrec /scanos to say there was a windows install. Now it says there isn't, so it sounds like the BCD/UEFI Boot manager/etc is again wrong.
Where am I now on this problem:
I just don't know what else to do. I want to try and avoid a reinstall as it can take a long time with all the software and *cough* games I install. Didn't bother contacting alienware as it is really Dell support and someone reading a script that tells them to have me reinstall immediately, so pointless.
I can use the help at this point. I have way too many websites/forums, etc. bookmarked it could take years to clear all of them. So I feel I have reached that point that this problem is beyond my knowledge or expertise or lack their of.
UPDATE: MAY 28, 2016, Sat, 10pm, as noted below I removed the GPU to verify it wasn't the 7970m, while out I think I came across the sticker that shows the bios version of the video card, it was the only sticker that had a proper looking vbios, 015.017.000.000.042717
Sorry if this is very noob but I'm getting conflicting answers to this:
I want to upgrade my AW 14 HD and want to go with SSD as the primary boot. What's the difference if I replace my HDD with an SSD vs. adding an mSATA? Is mSATA faster booting?
What I plan to do is leave the HDD as a storage only device and use either SSD or mSATA as the boot/OS. Which is better for that? And would there be any benefit to having both mSATA and SSD (other than capacity)? TIA