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Forum Thread

SSD install on Dell XPS 8500

repitall 535 July 27, 2012 at 01:52 PM in Computers (4)
I haven't bought a pre-built system in years, but needed to get one up and running quickly, so
I ordered a Dell XPS 8500, which I should get next week. I plan on putting an SSD in it. It comes with a SATA III 1TB drive which I will use as a secondary drive.
I plan on creating a set of recovery disks, downloading all current drivers, then installing the SSD using those disks and then reformat the 1 TB drive. Am I missing something?

The XPS 8500 has a mSATA connection which is typically used for a caching SSD. Any reason I shouldn't used this as the primary drive connection or will it even work?

I also need an eSATA and Firewire connection. Any one know of a PCIe card that has both. Or even a USB 3.0 hub with both on it. My searching comes up with nothing. There may not be room for 2 separate cards.

71 Comments

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#61
Quote from Jiggyfly View Post :
OK, step 1 was to try diskpart, as per the instructions provided by Repitall. No luck. I can't get the partition any smaller than when I used the regular disk management. So something is definitely blocking me from getting it any smaller than half the size of the original 1TB drive(around 461 GB). Once I get it that far and query how much space is remaining, it says only 12 KB. For a drive that has 425 GB free... *sigh*

So the next step is to go third party. Unless you guys think it is safer just to wait for Dell to come through with the OS disk?
For sure. wait for the disc from Dell.
That is absolutely the best way to go.
It'll be ultra fast and stable and if it needs drivers, you can download them all from the Dell website (and utilities too).
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#62
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
For sure. wait for the disc from Dell.
That is absolutely the best way to go.
It'll be ultra fast and stable and if it needs drivers, you can download them all from the Dell website (and utilities too).
I agree. Even if you manage to shrink it and get it like you want it to clone, your still better off with a clean install.
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#63
Thanks guys. Dell did provide a disk called "drivers and utilities" which I assume should have most of their preinstalled stuff. I'll see how it goes.

Edit to ask: if I go this route, is there the potential for problems if I do not have Dell's "hidden" partition on there, and whatever else they may have installed behind the scenes? I just don't understand all of the potential issues.
Last edited by Jiggyfly November 24, 2012 at 07:06 PM
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#64
Quote from Jiggyfly View Post :
Thanks guys. Dell did provide a disk called "drivers and utilities" which I assume should have most of their preinstalled stuff. I'll see how it goes.

Edit to ask: if I go this route, is there the potential for problems if I do not have Dell's "hidden" partition on there, and whatever else they may have installed behind the scenes? I just don't understand all of the potential issues.
There are no issues.
Quite the contrary.
You'll have the ideal cleanest installation and you can pick and choose whatever utilities you want from that 2nd disc, so no bloatware for you.
This is the way it used to be, back in the days (not that long ago) when all the PC makers gave you the install discs.
As for the hidden partition, I assume that's just your recovery partition for your mechanical hard drive and you can still make an Image of that 1tb drive, to conserve both the OS and the hidden partition.
You may never need it, but just in case, for example, you decide to sell the PC one day and you want to keep your SSD, and you want a clean install on the spinner drive for whomever is buying it, so you use the recovery partition to do it.
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#65
Quote from Jiggyfly View Post :
Thanks guys. Dell did provide a disk called "drivers and utilities" which I assume should have most of their preinstalled stuff. I'll see how it goes.

Edit to ask: if I go this route, is there the potential for problems if I do not have Dell's "hidden" partition on there, and whatever else they may have installed behind the scenes? I just don't understand all of the potential issues.
You can use the disk for drivers and utilities, but chances are good that some of the drivers have been updated since that disk was created. If it were me, I would go to the Dell site and download all the drivers that apply for your configuration.

If your asking about not having the hidden partition on the SSD, you shouldn't need it. Just make a system image and boot disk in Windows of the SSD after its installed with all the current drivers. You may not have some of the programs that come installed on the system. Your probably gonna have to wait and see what they send you.
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#66
Quote from repitall View Post :
You can use the disk for drivers and utilities, but chances are good that some of the drivers have been updated since that disk was created. If it were me, I would go to the Dell site and download all the drivers that apply for your configuration.

If your asking about not having the hidden partition on the SSD, you shouldn't need it. Just make a system image and boot disk in Windows of the SSD after its installed with all the current drivers. You may not have some of the programs that come installed on the system. Your probably gonna have to wait and see what they send you.
Will do. I'll report back when I get this up and running... Hopefully in a few days. Thanks again.
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#67
Alright folks! Good news to report. Dell came through and sent the disks. To their credit, they sent them overnight by FedEx and I got them yesterday. I still don’t understand why they would not include the OS install disk right up front, but it is what it is.

So I went ahead and did the OS install to the ssd. Like you all said, it was a piece of cake. I just unplugged the old drive completely, installed the ssd, booted up from the DVD, and it did all the rest. Once the install was finished, I downloaded drivers directly from Dell and installed the ssd toolkit from Intel to optimize the ssd drive. I hooked the mass storage spinner drive back up and I was in business. No hitches at all, and the ssd drive boots up FAST!!! I was so sick of my old computer taking forever to boot up. It’s wonderful to be ready to go under 20 seconds!

One other question, as I am an ssd novice. What software, besides the OS, are best to install on the ssd drive to take advantage of it? I realize all media files (pictures, videos, etc.) should go on the mass storage spinner drive. But I assume Office and Powerpoint would be good to put on the ssd. Do you install other programs like antivirus to the ssd? Or is it better to leave things like that to the spinner to save room? I am not a huge gamer, but is there any advantage to putting games on an ssd?

Anything else I should do? I probably need to make a recovery partition on the ssd disk for backup? Repitall, you mentioned making a system image and boot disk in Windows of the ssd – what is the best way to do that? I kept the OS on my secondary drive just in case, but I am considering just reformatting the whole thing since I have the install disks anyway. I guess keeping it on wouldn’t really hurt anything, I have plenty of extra space (also have a 1 TB external drive).

Once again, thanks for all of your help and advice! You guys are the best. I was ready to send the drive back because I was so frustrated. Now I can finally actually load this beast up and play with it… Smilie
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#68
Quote from Jiggyfly View Post :
Alright folks! Good news to report. Dell came through and sent the disks. To their credit, they sent them overnight by FedEx and I got them yesterday. I still don’t understand why they would not include the OS install disk right up front, but it is what it is.

So I went ahead and did the OS install to the ssd. Like you all said, it was a piece of cake. I just unplugged the old drive completely, installed the ssd, booted up from the DVD, and it did all the rest. Once the install was finished, I downloaded drivers directly from Dell and installed the ssd toolkit from Intel to optimize the ssd drive. I hooked the mass storage spinner drive back up and I was in business. No hitches at all, and the ssd drive boots up FAST!!! I was so sick of my old computer taking forever to boot up. It’s wonderful to be ready to go under 20 seconds!

One other question, as I am an ssd novice. What software, besides the OS, are best to install on the ssd drive to take advantage of it? I realize all media files (pictures, videos, etc.) should go on the mass storage spinner drive. But I assume Office and Powerpoint would be good to put on the ssd. Do you install other programs like antivirus to the ssd? Or is it better to leave things like that to the spinner to save room? I am not a huge gamer, but is there any advantage to putting games on an ssd?

Anything else I should do? I probably need to make a recovery partition on the ssd disk for backup? Repitall, you mentioned making a system image and boot disk in Windows of the ssd – what is the best way to do that? I kept the OS on my secondary drive just in case, but I am considering just reformatting the whole thing since I have the install disks anyway. I guess keeping it on wouldn’t really hurt anything, I have plenty of extra space (also have a 1 TB external drive).

Once again, thanks for all of your help and advice! You guys are the best. I was ready to send the drive back because I was so frustrated. Now I can finally actually load this beast up and play with it… Smilie
Glad it worked out for you.
You'll get many opinions on just how much read/write you should do to a SSD, personally I can't believe that todays SSD's are that sensitive, so you'll have to decide what data you want saved on the SSD. For example, some people that use outlook will place their profile on the extra storage drive to avoid excessive writes to the SSD. I don't go this far. But, I do put just about all other data off it to a data partition on the other internal drive.
I partitioned my 1TB drive so that I had a space for storing everything and left the original install and hidden partition there, just in case I wanted to boot to it in the future.
Then I set-up Windows backup to create a system image and bootdisk of the SSD along with a backup of the data partition to an external drive.
This is easy to do in windows and is self explanatory when you do it. I then set a scheduled backup of this plan to run once a week.
I am sure others will jump in with recommendations.
Hope this helps.
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#69
Quote from Jiggyfly View Post :

One other question, as I am an ssd novice. What software, besides the OS, are best to install on the ssd drive to take advantage of it? I realize all media files (pictures, videos, etc.) should go on the mass storage spinner drive. But I assume Office and Powerpoint would be good to put on the ssd. Do you install other programs like antivirus to the ssd? Or is it better to leave things like that to the spinner to save room? I am not a huge gamer, but is there any advantage to putting games on an ssd?

Anything else I should do? I probably need to make a recovery partition on the ssd disk for backup? Repitall, you mentioned making a system image and boot disk in Windows of the ssd – what is the best way to do that? I kept the OS on my secondary drive just in case, but I am considering just reformatting the whole thing since I have the install disks anyway. I guess keeping it on wouldn’t really hurt anything, I have plenty of extra space (also have a 1 TB external drive).

Once again, thanks for all of your help and advice! You guys are the best. I was ready to send the drive back because I was so frustrated. Now I can finally actually load this beast up and play with it… Smilie
Congrats.
I put all my software on the SSD as I want EVERYTHING to be fast.
Gamers often need to install the huge games on spinners, as they don't want to overfill the SSD.
As you're not a big gamer, no worries, just install it all where it goes by default, on the SSD.
You should make a Windows System Image after you have it all set up the way you like.
As time goes on and you need to reinstall for whatever reason, you make sure that all your data is on the spinner and reinstall the Image, which can take as little as 10 minutes, depending on how much stuff you have on it.
One thing for sure, it's priceless to have a perfect image to install, anytime there's a serious problem or slowdowns.
Control Panel, Backup and Restore, Create System Image and the rest is self explanatory.
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#70
Having the same issue Frown

Dell recovery is too big for the ssd
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#71
Quote from reactions View Post :
Having the same issue Frown

Dell recovery is too big for the ssd
For some reason this works with some folks and not others. Did you shrink the original drive down to a slightly smaller size ( including the hidden partition, about another 13GB ) before you made the recovery disks? In other words I shrunk the OS partition down to about 100GB first. Then used it on a 128GB SSD and the OS and hidden partition both fit.

If you saying that you cannot shrink past about half of the original drive, then thats another issue.
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#72
I ended up cloning partitions

Not the cleanest way but it worked

Pretty annoying ; oh well
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