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Seeking Help HDD Fail Warning on Dell Inspiron Windows 10 Laptop

TJ_DJ

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Hi guys. Seeking help from you professionals regarding my Dell Inspiron Laptop.
Dell Inspiron 15R
Purchased: April'2013
Intel Core i5 3rd Gen 3337U CPU @ 1.80 Ghz (Max 2.70 Ghz) x64 processor
8.00 GB RAM
AMD Radeon HD 8370M GPU, 2.00GB RAM
64-bit Windows 10 Home, version 1909
750 GB SATA HDD @ 3 Gbps SATA Transfer
15.6" WLED Full HD Display
65 wH Dell Original Battery

The laptop came with Windows 8 pre-installed and I got free updates to Windows 10.
The Activation page shows: Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.

Laptop is excellent, been almost 7 years, not a problem. Very smooth and great performance. Few days back, the pre-installed Intel Rapid Storage Technology monitor reported a fault in the Hard Disk. The exact error mesage is:
SATA disk on Controller 0, Port 0: At risk (SMART event)

I looked this up and this is a warning that the disk is eventually going to fail. I did not have any problems with the laptop earlier.
I found this -> Forums

What I have done so far:

Defragment C:\ completely. Completed without any errors. There are no other drives or partitions on the laptop.
Performed a System Restore to December 2019. Completed without any errors.
Ran the Dell Support Assist Utility that comes pre-installed.
I have ruled out any viruses since this is certainly a Hardware issue and is not being caused by System Software.

My questions:
1) Do I have to replace the HDD - is that the only option?
The issue that I face now is the laptop sometimes becomes unresponsive and hangs completely. A restart works but the problem resurfaces.

2) How do I reinstall Windows and link my digital license to the new Hardware?
I found this -> https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change
 

IamTRoy4

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The issue that I face now is the laptop sometimes becomes unresponsive and hangs completely. A restart works but the problem resurfaces.
either your RAM problem or the HDD. Since you're facing HDD issue then it's better to change the HDD, to do this you've to clone the Windows to a new drive (search YouTube, you'll get tutorials) then replace the HDD.
 

sumitroy

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@TJ_DJ Bro, you can replace HDD with SSD (recommended) or HDD and reinstall Windows. No need to clone.

I've replaced HDD with SSD on two Windows 10 PC, both are running Windows 10 Pro (digital license). I performed clean install of Windows 10 Pro on both of them and it got activated automatically.

GXt0Xdu.jpg
 

mmadhankumar

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Did you do any other diagnostics other than SMART. Because smart is a self diagnosis and it will report errors when it couldn't self fix the small issues which happens almost everyday. Being a Dell, you should have BIOS hardware diagnostics option. Run that to check the HDD. Also install and run the HDD diagnostic tools from the manufacturer website. If it's Seagate the tool name is SeaTools and for WD it is called LifeGuard. For other brands and download links please search in google.
  • Also run a CHKDSK check from command prompt.
  • How much free space available on the HDD?
  • Try a clean install on the same HDD first before going for replacement.
  • Do you hear any crackling sounds during the operation of the laptop?
 

TJ_DJ

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Thank you guys for your responses. It will certainly help me.

I performed clean install of Windows 10 Pro on both of them and it got activated automatically.
Ok, so I just need to use the same Microsoft Account (Email Address) that I currently use on my Laptop? Looks easy. Thanks bro for confirming.

Also run a CHKDSK check from command prompt.
I am currently doing this by restarting PC and giving chkdsk C: /f /r /x option but it is taking way too long.
How much free space available on the HDD?
500GB+ free space
Try a clean install on the same HDD first before going for replacement.
Waiting for CHKDSK to complete currently
Do you hear any crackling sounds during the operation of the laptop?
Nope.
 

sumitroy

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Ok, so I just need to use the same Microsoft Account (Email Address) that I currently use on my Laptop? Looks easy. Thanks bro for confirming.
Actually, Windows will activate as soon as it connects with the internet. Windows automatically checks for a valid license for your device from Microsoft server. Replacing HDD is not a significant hardware change that will deactivate your Window license. It is not necessary to have a microsoft account, but it can be useful to troubleshoot activation issues (if any).
 

Rajat Basak

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You can use mini tool partition manager software (latest version) and then do a surface test of the hdd. It will take some hours but you will know if any bad sectors are there.

If you want to buy a new drive but want to use current installed os then you can clone your old partition by using the same software in a new drive.
If possible then buy a M2.0 SSD 120 GB only for operating system and softwares.

I don't recommend to partition in a drive. Only one task at a time which increases its life.
 
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TJ_DJ

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CHKDSK C: /f /r /x is taking ridiculously long at Stage 4 (which fixes the files). But I will let it complete, probably as it is actually fixing / isolating bad sectors on the drive - which is what I need now. I purposely chose the /f /r /x parameters so that all issues get resolved with the drive dismounted (no other processes using the drive).
 
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