Question about Dell Inspiron 630M Notebook
Be aware that if you clone the old hard drive to the new one with something like Norton Ghost or dd or ddrescue you will have issues with the machine not correctly reporting the size of the hard drive in the BIOS. After much searching on the web for many unhelpful answers, I finally discovered what the actual issue is, so then I was able to fix it. I will be posting this in as many places as possible so that future people having this issue won't have to struggle with it for hours like I did.
First of all, as much as I love Samsung drives, avoid them for this model. There is some sort of "brain-dead incompatibility" (as one guy put it) that prevents them from working correctly. Western Digital costs more and is slower, but it at least will work correctly in this unit.
The size issue is not the BIOS at all. I discovered this by accident. The issue is that Dell's software engineers are stupid......or at least were. Dell customized the boot loader in the MBR, which gives the www.dell.com bar upon bootup. The issue is that this is not the only thing this weird bit of code does. Programmed into this odd bit of code is the size of the original hard drive. Upon executing, this boot code then sets the hard drive HPA to that size. For people unfamiliar with HPA, it tells the hard drive what size it should report itself to be. If you had put the hard drive in the machine blank, you'd see that the BIOS correctly reported its size. However, once you clone the old hard drive onto it and boot it, that funky MBR writes an HPA to the drive, telling it to report the old size, which it dutifully does.
The solution is as follows:
1. Remove the HPA with a utility like MHDD (Maysoft's Hard Disk Utility), which can be downloaded as a bootable CD. Other utilities provide this functionality, but I am most familiar with MHDD's implementation. Once you boot MHDD and select the drive, type "hpa" to launch the HPA utility. It will show you the native maximum addressable LBA, which you will then tell it to apply persistently (1), type in the native address, and confirm with y. It will say "done."
2. Reboot, but this time boot from the Windows XP CD. DO press a key to boot from the CD, when prompted. After it loads the text-mode Windows, select "R" to repair with the recovery console. Select your preferred keyboard layout if it isn't US, and select the Windows partition to log onto by number. You will need to know the Administrator password for the Windows installation. On many of these units there is none; simply press enter when prompted on these machines. If you don't know what it is, NTPASSWD is a great utility to clear them--do your own research on that one. Once you are logged in, type "fixmbr" then "fixboot" to replace Dell's weird bootloader with the standard Microsoft one. You will get a warning that the computer has a non-standard or invalid MBR......which we already knew, so tell it to go ahead and fix it. In spite of its dire predictions, I have never had fixmbr lose partitions, no matter how non-standard the MBR may be.
3. If you adjusted the partition smaller to make Windows boot, you can now expand it to fill the hard drive. Windows will boot normally, without that Dell bar or a BSOD.
If this helps you, please consider making a small donation to business [at} silverdollarsolutions.com via PayPal. I put in a lot of time solving this issue and writing it up, and it would be nice if people would chip in a little if this has been helpful to you.
Posted on Mar 27, 2012
you can follow the following link to do the same
Thanks for using fixya
Posted on Apr 26, 2010
I giving you a link which has complete details of Dell Inspiron 630m, please do not get confused with XPS 140 title as this is same manual for Dell Inspiron 630m.
Posted on Apr 26, 2010
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
You should be able to upgrade no problems, i have a 320gb SATA drive in my 9400, runs fine...try getting the latest bios version.
Check that the connections are the same and you have moved any of the jumpers on the hard drive, see the manual or online help for the hard drive.
Posted on Jan 08, 2009
this laptop came originally with windows xp. assuming you want to load windows 7, which will require at least 1gb ram, and at least an 80 gb hard drive, the largest i would use in this laptop for heat dissapation issues, would be a 7200 rpm sata 1 100 GB hitachi. some of the older laptops have trouble recognizing anything over 100 GB
Posted on Jan 19, 2011
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