Dell Laptop repair



A friend asked me to fix his Dell Inspiron 1150 laptop.It has some sort of hard drive problem.Windows error calls it MBR problem.The Dell on- board diagnostic says it is an unmountable boot disc.I open it up and tried to reset the system rtc ram in cmos.It didn’t have a jumper and the battery was soldiered to motherboard. What I was wanting to do is just erase the harddrive completely and reinstall windows.It only has a 20 gb harddrive and I think it is full and has a corrupted file system.It looks like Dell has the drive locked somehow so you cannot delete or repair the partitions.
I made a disk with Darik’s Boot and nuke but it would allow it to run.
A laptop is a different creature from a standard desktop I discovered.I just want to destroy all current data and do a new reinstall any suggestions?


Have you tried the Dell disk that came with the laptop?


If you can boot from CD rom you can try something like Gparted to wipe the partitions and start from scratch.

If you happen to have a live linux distro cd around that will work also.

As for locking the hard drive, what shows up in the bios? Is it somehow password protected?

If Gparted doesn’t work you can try this one:

Is there no recovery disk available from Dell? Or do you have an XP disk from which you can run the Recovery Console?


Were it mine, I would probably try to acquire/borrow a Dell Restore Disk and fix it that way.
If you do a complete wipe (ie. DBAN), you may eliminate a hidden partition on the drive that allows the Dell restore disk to work.
If you don’t care if the machine remains a “Dell”, doing a complete wipe and clean OS install would be fine.

I mention the above because sometimes an owner of a manufactured machine, such as a Dell, does a complete wipe and regrets it.
(usually because of lost software)

Maybe a Dell owner will chime in (or contact Dell), as there may be a “hot button” routine to engage the Dell Restore function.