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Installing new SSD in Dell Inspiron 15z Laptop

RUsum1 1,644 January 13, 2014 at 01:01 AM in Computers (4)
I purchased the Dell Inspiron 15z Laptop [microsoftstore.com] from Microsoft Store but have yet to open it as it's a gift for someone. I have questions regarding this laptop

1) It comes with 32GB SSD + 500GB HDD. Is this a hybrid drive or is there space for two hard drives (one SSD and one HDD)?
2) If it's just one hybrid drive, is it worth it to "upgrade" to a 90GB SSDnow 200 V+?
3) If I do upgrade it, what's the best method to get a clean Windows installation onto the hard drive? I don't want to reinstall whatever added Dell software may come with the computer so I doubt doing an image backup of the C drive would be best

*please quote my post so I know when people respond.

Thanks for help

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Professional Novice
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Original Poster
#16
Thanks for all of the responses. Since the computer had two drives I was considering expanding both drives possible. Using like an 80-120GB mSATA for the OS then a 750+ HDD for storage. But I'll probably just keep it as it is. I doubt the person who would use it would fill up the 500GB of storage. Although I do have a 640GB 2.5" HDD just sitting here so...

Any good guides to get rid of bloat and fully optimize the computer to run at it's best? It's still new in the box so it has never been turned on yet.

Quote from SLickCate View Post :
I have this same laptop and am loving it so far. Got it on the $399 pre Black Friday deal. I'm just a casual user and it's fast as it can be for me. I know, not any help, but just was excited to see a post about my laptop....LOL! I love the touchscreen!
Same deal I got it from. Was going to be a Christmas gift but it didn't arrive in time. I won't get to see the person again until the end of this month at which time I'll give it to her for school.
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#17
Quote from RUsum1 View Post :
Thanks for all of the responses. Since the computer had two drives I was considering expanding both drives possible. Using like an 80-120GB mSATA for the OS then a 750+ HDD for storage. But I'll probably just keep it as it is. I doubt the person who would use it would fill up the 500GB of storage. Although I do have a 640GB 2.5" HDD just sitting here so...

Any good guides to get rid of bloat and fully optimize the computer to run at it's best? It's still new in the box so it has never been turned on yet.


Same deal I got it from. Was going to be a Christmas gift but it didn't arrive in time. I won't get to see the person again until the end of this month at which time I'll give it to her for school.
You have your work cut out for you, if you'd like to tweak the system up before turning it over.
I can't give you a list of everything that should be turned off, as I don't know what Dell has added onto that model, so I can only suggest generic things.
Go to the Desktop area and right click on the desktop image and select "Personalize" in the list, then hit "Change desktop icons" on the left, and in the next window, check mark the 5 boxes.
Now you'll have the capacity to navigate the systenm.
Next, go to Windows Updates in the control panel, click on "Change Settings" on the left, and choose the "Check for updates but let me choose......." option, then hit OK.
Find and select one particular update (KB2893519), that has to be installed for the 8.1 upgrade offer to appear in the store.
While the update is downloading, remove the included AV program (Norton, McAfee, whatever).
By then, it'll probably be time to reboot the machine to complete the Windows Update.
Once rebooted, go to the Store in the touch interface to start downloading the 8.1 upgrade.
While it's downloading, you can start tweaking the system.
Go back to the desktop area and open Internet Explorer, go to Google to search for the iobit Start Menu8 app (or classic Shell or whichever start menu app you like), download and install it.
Once installed, uncheck all but the top option in the General tab, as the default settings are for non touch machines.
Now you'll have the standard Start menu and navigating will be near identical to previous Windows operating systems.

In this next section, I'll be suggesting ways to make the computer as fast as it can be.
There may be other posters who will balk at some of the suggestions, like minimizing the pagefile to 16 megs, or turning off the Windows Search feature in "Services", as we have a few trolls here, as well as some under-informed members.
You can choose to follow these instructions or not, and I'll try to refrain from replying to any trolls.
OK, let's get the ball rolling.
You could start cleaning up start up items now, but OTOH, you'll be installing programs that will find their way into the start up, so you might just as well get those programs installed, and then just do one "clean up".
Here is a list of common programs that most people install, that will find their way into the start menu.
Malwarebytes.
Superantispyware.
Adobe Reader.
Microsoft Office.
Skype. (skype updater)
Google Earth (google updater)
Team Viewer.
Unlocker.
Once you have installed those in the list that suit you, plus any other programs that you like, then open the Task Manager and hit "Show more details" at the bottom, then go to the Startup tab.
Disable everything that you deem unnecessary to run in the background.
That may be just about everything in the list, although you could keep a couple of things that are related to your audio and video systems.
Next, open "Services" (Administrative tools in control panel) and click on the Startup Type tab.
Then click on the Status tab next to it.
You will now see some processes that are set to start, but aren't running, like the Skype Updater, Google Updater, etc, which you can change from Automatic to manual or disabled.
Then click on the status tab again, and you'll be looking at all the processes that are set to start up and are already running.
You'll surely find Adobe in there, SAS, Team Viewer, etc. that can all be changed from Automatic to manual.
You may want to disable Windows Search and Windows Error Reporting, but they'll just come back after the 8.1 upgrade, so you can hold off 'till the upgrade is done.
With a bit of luck, by the time you've finished the tasks above, your laptop will be ready to reboot for the 8.1 upgrade.
Near the end of the upgrade, you'll be asked some standard questions that one gets during an OS installation, and it's worth noting that although it appears that there is no way to get in without signing in with a Microsoft account, it can be done by selecting the "I don't have an account" option, and on the subsequent page, there will be an option that allows you to continue with just a local account.
You will also be offered Express Settings".
Do not accept them.
Go through all the options one by one, otherwise you're going to find MSC living in your computer.
Once you're booted back up, you can go back to "Services" to disable Windows Search and Windows Error Reporting.
You will see Defender running and set to Automatic, but it's not fully running at this point, until you go to the Windows Defender option in the control panel, where you can easily get it up and running.
If you prefer using a third party AV program, then don't turn Defender on.

We haven't talked about bloatware and/or Dell programs that want to run in the background.
If you post screenshots of all the processes running at this point, I/we would be able to suggest which ones to turn off.
There are still a bunch of things to do, and we haven't even started to do anything in the touch area (Tiles, Metro, or whatever you choose to call it), but I have to do a remote job in a few minutes, so I'll have to stop here for now.
If you're liking the suggestions above, please advise and I'll continue, later on.
Otherwise, I'll assume you don't want any more suggestions.

Please excuse any typos, as I don't have time to proofread right now.
Off to work I go.
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#18
Although we haven't finished with the desktop area, we could wait for screenshots from your task manager, showing all the running processes and get back to the job at that time.

Let's go to the touch interface now.
If you choose to properly set it up, there are lots of apps to install.
After installing them, then it would be time to organize the apps.
Here are some of the apps that I install for clients.
Network Speed Test
Calculator Free
Skype
Voice Browser
Speaktoit assistant
Quick Convert
Live Tiles
Translator
Toolbox for Windows 8
All the News and Weather apps that suit you
Adobe Reader
Team Viewer
Facebook
Sound recorder
Alarm clock
One Note
App Switch
Free Youtube Downloader
Media apps of your choice, like Animal Planet, NatGeo, Ted, etc.
Photo apps like Photoshop, Skitch, Facegoo, etc.
Sound apps like Internet Radios, sound Box, sequencer, and piano, etc.
Tech apps if applicable, like Tom's Hardware, How things work, Appy Geek, etc
Games, games, games. This depends so very much on the person, age, sex, interests, etc, but here are some notables.
Judge Dredd
DriftMania
Hill Climb Racing
3D Marble Tracks
3D Boat Race
Archery Master
Parking Mania
Zombie Sniper
Various card games
Brainteasers
Dogfight
Word Search

Once you have downloaded the apps you want, it's time to clean up the tile area.
The new apps will not have appeared on the Metro desktop (for lack of a better term).
You'll find small tiles from all the programs that you installed in the desktop area.
It's time to delete them all.
Next is to swipe the your finger upwards to see the full collection of your apps.
At the top left, hit the arrow to classify the apps by date installed.
Then check mark all the new ones that you want on the Tile Desktop, then hit the "Pin to Start" icon at the bottom left.
After that, you'll have your work cut out for you, organizing the different types and naming the groups, for example,
The first group can be the user's name, or Action Center, etc
After that, you can choose the order of which groups come next.
Here are some suggestions.
News & Weather
Utilities
Games
Entertainment
Photo
Music
Tech
Shopping, etc.

Time to get back to work.
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#19
Looks like good stuff Rocky! Have you ever checked out www.ninite.com ? It makes the task of adding programs incredibly easy. Select the ones you want, click "Get Installer" and then run the installer. It does the rest automagically (and leaves out any toolbars and other crapware that might be included with any of the programs). You can even run the installer again in the future and it will automagically update every program you originally selected to the latest version. It's quite a time saver for setting up a new system. Smilie

One item on your list gave me problems when I was tweaking things after I installed my SSD. Disabling Windows Search will break the ability to add or show new folders in any of the Library locations (Documents, Music, Photos, Videos). The Library function relies on the Indexing Service of Search to find new additions. Also, Outlook (the full version from the Office suite) will always have a message at the bottom of the window, complaining about its search function not working properly because Windows Search Service is not running.

Many users may not ever notice. Wink But I use the Library function often to make certain that I can "see" files from multiple locations with a single-click. I ended up turning the search service back on. Frown
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#20
Quote from HarryH3 View Post :
Looks like good stuff Rocky! Have you ever checked out www.ninite.com ? It makes the task of adding programs incredibly easy. Select the ones you want, click "Get Installer" and then run the installer. It does the rest automagically (and leaves out any toolbars and other crapware that might be included with any of the programs). You can even run the installer again in the future and it will automagically update every program you originally selected to the latest version. It's quite a time saver for setting up a new system. Smilie

One item on your list gave me problems when I was tweaking things after I installed my SSD. Disabling Windows Search will break the ability to add or show new folders in any of the Library locations (Documents, Music, Photos, Videos). The Library function relies on the Indexing Service of Search to find new additions. Also, Outlook (the full version from the Office suite) will always have a message at the bottom of the window, complaining about its search function not working properly because Windows Search Service is not running. .

Many users may not ever notice. Wink But I use the Library function often to make certain that I can "see" files from multiple locations with a single-click. I ended up turning the search service back on. Frown
Thanks for being polite about giving your perceptions of turning Search off.
Whenever a user uses Outlook, Search has to be on or it won't work. end of story.
Also, if the user uses the search feature a few times every day, then I'd absolutely leave it on.
I might use Search a couple of times a week, so I'd rather have it off than have it cause so much drag on the hard drive, 24/7.
The one part that I didn't understand was this.
Quote :
Disabling Windows Search will break the ability to add or show new folders in any of the Library locations (Documents, Music, Photos, Videos). The Library function relies on the Indexing Service of Search to find new additions.
I may be misunderstanding something, as I know that I can do a search through a library and it will find any and everything, new folder or not, so I don't quite know what you mean, nevertheless, Search is an example of an item that I disable for speed, but at the first sign of needing it for some other function or program I just turn it back on and live with it.
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#21
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
Thanks for being polite about giving your perceptions of turning Search off.
Whenever a user uses Outlook, Search has to be on or it won't work. end of story.
Also, if the user uses the search feature a few times every day, then I'd absolutely leave it on.
I might use Search a couple of times a week, so I'd rather have it off than have it cause so much drag on the hard drive, 24/7.
The one part that I didn't understand was this.

I may be misunderstanding something, as I know that I can do a search through a library and it will find any and everything, new folder or not, so I don't quite know what you mean, nevertheless, Search is an example of an item that I disable for speed, but at the first sign of needing it for some other function or program I just turn it back on and live with it.
Yeah, common civility seems to be vanishing on this site. Frown

To see what I'm talking about, disable search and then try to add a location to one of your libraries. Frown (For example, I store all my music in a folder on my spinning disk, so I add that folder to the "Music" library. It wouldn't work with Search disabled. Frown But at least it told me why! Smilie )
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#22
Quote from HarryH3 View Post :
Yeah, common civility seems to be vanishing on this site. Frown

To see what I'm talking about, disable search and then try to add a location to one of your libraries. Frown (For example, I store all my music in a folder on my spinning disk, so I add that folder to the "Music" library. It wouldn't work with Search disabled. Frown But at least it told me why! Smilie )
You ain't kidding.
Linux Cultists can't seem to stop themselves from suggesting it as a solution to everybody's Windows computer problems, and when I mentioned it, the shyte hit the fan with every personal attack imaginable.
Of course, it's easy for cowards to mouth off behind a hidden identity.
I bet they wouldn't be so vocal if they presented themselves with their true identity, as I do.
Anyhow, it's part of life. The fools are the ones who make us look intelligent.
The cowards are the ones who make us look brave, and so on and so on.

As for the library folder thing, I'm still not catching on to what you mean, but I'll focus on it a bit more later on and see if I can figure it out.
If not, maybe I'll ask you to remote into one of my computers and show me what you mean, if you don't mind, that is.
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#23
Maybe this will help: Open file explorer, click Documents. Just under where it says "Documents library", you'll see a line in smaller font that says "Includes x locations". You can click the "x locations" part and a new window opens that allows you to add other folders that you want to have included in the library. It basically lets you add pointers to multiple locations, all accessible from one place.

I'll be out this evening, but would be glad to help when I'm available. Smilie
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#24
Rocky, note that I was looking at the settings on a Win 7 system. MS changed the way that you add things to a library in Win 8. EEK!
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#25
Quote from HarryH3 View Post :
Rocky, note that I was looking at the settings on a Win 7 system. MS changed the way that you add things to a library in Win 8. EEK!
I still have a couple of machines with 7, but I'd like to take a raincheck for now, as the football playoffs are on.
Thanks.
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#26
Oh wow. Looks like a ton of stuff. I'll read through it when I get the time. As always, thanks for all the help you give Rocky (and everyone else).
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#27
Just got a deal alert for this 256GB mSATA for $150

However it's the general consensus of people in here that having the OS completely installed on an mSATA drive will not be much faster at all compared to it's original setup?

There was also the deal with the $81 120GB mSATA as well (which is more of what I was looking for)
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#28
Do some laptops vary among their own model line? I have a Lenovo IdeaPad P580 that only has an HDD. I would love to add an mSATA (if I could install the OS onto it) in order to keep the HDD in the laptop as additional storage. How do I know if my laptop has a slot for it? It says Model Name = 20184 on the bottom.
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#29
Quote from RUsum1 View Post :
Just got a deal alert for this 256GB mSATA for $150

However it's the general consensus of people in here that having the OS completely installed on an mSATA drive will not be much faster at all compared to it's original setup?

There was also the deal with the $81 120GB mSATA as well (which is more of what I was looking for)
I think the general consensus is your stock setup should be pretty quick once your core apps/files are cached on your cache SSD.
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#30
Quote from heero884 View Post :
I think the general consensus is your stock setup should be pretty quick once your core apps/files are cached on your cache SSD.
How about for this laptop though?
Quote from RUsum1 View Post :
Do some laptops vary among their own model line? I have a Lenovo IdeaPad P580 that only has an HDD. I would love to add an mSATA (if I could install the OS onto it) in order to keep the HDD in the laptop as additional storage. How do I know if my laptop has a slot for it? It says Model Name = 20184 on the bottom.
Does this even have a spot for an mSATA? Or is my only option for an upgrade an SSD?
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