partition info for Inspiron 15 (1545)

Discussion in 'Dell' started by vbDavidC, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. vbDavidC

    vbDavidC Guest


    I am doing some work for a friend who we bought a Inspiron 1545 a
    couple of days ago which we don't yet have.

    I am wanting to figure out if I can install XP on it on a separate
    partition. I have some specialty electronic hardware that does not
    work with Vista (or above).

    Right now I am in Germany and supporting my friend remotely. So I
    will be walking him through how to do this. Since I am not there I
    will want him to do the easiest thing for him.

    I am an XP user so I don't have any experience with Vista (except for
    recently installing 7).

    I have just read that Vista allows you to 'shrink/extend' the
    partition size. Can I shrink the partition and then with unallocated
    space install XP onto it?

    Besides the partition with Vista on it what other partitions are on
    the drive?

    I guess if I mess up I will be able to restore from the recovery
    partition easily?

    Once we get everything installed I will have him back it up with our
    Acronis CD.

    You can give me the big picture and I will figure out the details.

    thanks, David :)
    vbDavidC, Jul 4, 2009
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  2. vbDavidC

    vbDavidC Guest

    That is an option as well. If I were there I would possibly do that.
    I use some industrial DAQ hardware that I develop apps for. Older
    hardware drivers will not work in Vista but newer hardware does
    support Vista and I need to start migrating over to Vista (or Win7).

    vbDavidC, Jul 4, 2009
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  3. - You may need a SATA driver for the XP installation. This may not be
    necessary if the laptop emulates IDE (as many Dells do for the SATA drives)
    or if using XP with SP2 or SP3 and it has a compatible driver.

    - After installing XP the laptop will not be able to boot to Vista until the
    boot files are repaired. See

    - Dells generally have a recovery partition as well as the primary system

    - Yes it should be possible to use the factory restore. That will wipe any
    data and programs installed.

    - Vista should allow shrinking the partition to accomplish this, but it
    doesn't always seem to work.

    I have a feeling this is going to be difficult to support by phone if your
    friend isn't very technically savvy and you may not have a Vista machine to
    look at while guiding him.
    Motzarella NEW, Jul 4, 2009
  4. vbDavidC

    vbDavidC Guest


    Based on the last post I was wondering if XP would work with the SATA
    drive. However, I have a XP SP3 CD that I slipstreamed from my
    original SP2 CD.

    I have an old D600 that is IDE and my home desktop boots from an IDE
    drive with a second SATA drive for data so I am somewhat SATA

    But having searched this group and your posting it seems like that
    will not be an issue with my SP3 CD.

    Is the IDE emulation you are talking about in the BIOS?

    Thanks for the links...

    Are the additional partitions that Dell puts on the hard drive visible
    by the XP install. Will it show them or just hide them. I just want
    to make sure that they don't get deleted.

    thanks, David
    vbDavidC, Jul 4, 2009
  5. vbDavidC

    vbDavidC Guest

    Over the last couple of months I have been reading and hearing how
    wonderful Windows 7 is and I was thinking that everyone was moving
    over to it asap.

    Motzarella on one of his links regarding partitioning had another
    article about IT departments not necessarily rushing to upgrade may
    influence me in not shifting away from XP so soon.

    the partition link was very good and the site seems like it has other
    good stuff.
    vbDavidC, Jul 5, 2009
  6. vbDavidC

    GTS Guest

    See inline

    Yes. See
    for some explanation re. AHCI and emulation modes for SATA. I don't think
    you'll have a problem with the XP SP3 media based on the default BIOS
    settings I've seen on other Dell's, but can't say with complete certainty.
    I don't remember if the XP install will list the hidden factory image
    partition, but it should be reasonably simple to distinguish and avoid it if
    You're welcome.
    GTS, Jul 5, 2009
  7. vbDavidC

    dg1261 Guest

    The 1545 will likely come with MediaDirect installed. That makes things
    a lot more complicated.

    I've posted info about a serious flaw in Vista's Disk Mgmt in my quick-
    and-dirty webpage at
    (The webpage shows a custom partition layout to illustrate the nature of
    the bug in clearer detail.) Also, scroll to the bottom of that page for
    an explanation of Dell's typical partition layout on Vista laptops. The
    DE and DD partitions are commonly referred to as "hidden". Unlike Dell's
    XP systems, the Vista "Recovery" partition is completely unhidden.

    To either install XP as a separate stand-alone OS (dilemma: need primary
    partition) or as a Microsoft-style Vista-XP dualboot (dilemma: need
    third-party partitioner plus Vista bootloader repair) won't be easy if
    you're trying to help remotely.

    As RnR suggested, wiping the whole hard disk and installing XP alone
    seems easier. Before losing the Recovery partition, though, I'd copy the
    "imagex.exe" utility and the "factory.wim" recovery image from the
    Recovery partition to an external hard drive, just in case.

    You may not have XP+SATA trouble, but you do, at the worst you can always
    download the SATA driver from Dell (1545 downloads, "SATA Drives", "Intel
    - Driver") and temporarily use a USB floppy drive.
    dg1261, Jul 6, 2009
  8. vbDavidC

    vbDavidC Guest

    Thanks for the info.

    I am thinking about buying a second hard drive and removing the
    original drive and just install XP on it.

    If I were there I could mess with it until I figured it out but the
    second drive might be my easier solution.

    Would y'all know how easy it is to remove the hard drive from this
    Inspiron? My Latitudes swap out quickly but I don't know too much
    about these Inspirons. I guess I will look at the service manual.

    vbDavidC, Jul 6, 2009
  9. Hi!
    SATA can operate in two modes:

    * a high performance mode that takes advantage of all (or many) SATA
    specific features. This requires special driver support in the OS, or an
    operating system that is happy to work with the adapter's own BIOS. All SATA
    add in cards function in this mode.

    * a mode that is compatible with legacy PATA technology. Operating systems
    do not need to be aware of any of the specifics of SATA. On the downside,
    this may hurt performance as the operating system drivers won't make use of
    any advanced SATA features.
    Dell systems have two modes--"normal" and "compatible". Selected systems
    also have RAID mode. In compatible mode, the "normal" functions are there
    but the BIOS also reports everything attached to the SATA controller as
    though it were a PATA device.
    It's possible that they will show up. The diagnostics partition in
    particular may be visible. You'll recognize that one by its small size. This
    is probably also true of the restoration partitions--they will be smaller
    than the largest slice of the disk.

    William R. Walsh, Jul 9, 2009
  10. Hi!
    I know that I won't be upgrading (if I'm there at the time, and if it is my
    choice (if not, I may not bother being there!)) until Windows XP has left
    its supported status.

    I don't think I'm the only network administrator (or "IT guy" if you must)
    who would say this. After spending inordinate amounts of time to get things
    working to start with (usually the easiest part), iron out the kinks, write
    the documentation and get the users to stop messing things up, sometimes you
    just want to say that "all this stuff works and I am leaving it alone for as
    long as possible".

    William R. Walsh, Jul 9, 2009
  11. vbDavidC

    vbDavidC Guest

    Thanks for the info.

    Would you know if with my Windows XP CD with SP3 slipstreamed in it
    will be enough to support the SATA drive. At one point will I know if
    it is working. When XP boots and at its initial startup screen where
    it asks you if you want to install? When it tries to check your hard
    drive to ask you where you want to place the installation?

    If for some reason it does not work with my CD I can try the
    compatible mode you mention. After I install XP can I switch back to
    normal mode. Do I have to download some SATA driver before I do

    Thanks, hope my questions make sense.
    vbDavidC, Jul 9, 2009
  12. vbDavidC

    vbDavidC Guest

    I wanted to thank everyone who posted suggestions on installing XP and
    dual booting XP with Vista.

    The link provided by Motzarella NEW made the dualboot
    situation straightforward.

    I did have a problem resolving the SATA driver issue.

    Like I have said previously I was helping out a friend install XP on a
    Vista computer remotely.

    My Windows XP SP3 CD was not enough to install XP on this Inspiron 15
    (1545). Fortunately my friend had a USB floppy drive so that we could
    create a driver disk that would be accessed during the XP
    installation. I would imagine if we did not have the floppy drive we
    could have slipstreamed the driver onto a install CD but having the
    floppy disk took all of 5 minutes to download from the Dell website
    and create onto a floppy.

    After not having used a floppy drive (although having a USB drive in
    my closet) for several years I am hoping that with Vista and 7 a
    floppy drive is no longer needed just for the sake of not needed old

    This was the first time ever that I had to install 3rd party drivers
    with XP so the whole F6 situation was new to me. When I was asked to
    select the device type (during XP setup) I was not sure what to
    select. There were like about 10 different types of hardware to
    select from. I went into Vista and checked what type of controller it
    was and found: Intel(R) ICH9M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller which matched
    one of the choices. After we installed the driver everything worked

    The issue related to SATA compatibility mode I don't know how useful
    that is. I don't know exactly how everything works but to me it seems
    like switching this BIOS setting will not work if you already have
    VISTA installed. I would think having the driver and running in
    standard mode is the ideal thing.

    One other thing this Inspiron has funny function (FN) keys. During
    the installation of XP when you press F8 to accept the license XP
    would not continue. Apparently the Fn keys are dual purpose and
    apparently to get the F8 key you need to press a keyboard
    combination. Since I was not in front of the computer I don't which
    exactly. I recall reading in some forum about this issue when
    considering the purchase and recalled someone complaining about this.
    Last night during the install I remembered this situation and asked my
    friend to check it and sure enough he was able to continue when he
    pressed the 'real' F8. When he had to press the F6 key earlier that
    key worked normally but he told me that F6 was the only key that had
    'F6' as white text and the other were not.
    vbDavidC, Jul 13, 2009
  13. vbDavidC

    Bob Villa Guest

    Intel(R) ICH9M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller which matched
    one of the choices. After we installed the driver everything worked

    Thanks for that specific driver as I need it to merge into an XP SP1
    install disc using nLite.

    Bob Villa, Jul 14, 2009
  14. vbDavidC

    Kevin Guest

    Here's the EASIEST way to install XP onto a Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop
    (with SATA AHCI enabled)

    1. Enter BIOS setup and set the SATA mode to ATA
    2. Install XP using the standard setup disk
    3. Get the ICH9 SATA driver from Dell (R197861.exe)
    4. Unpack it. You should end up with a folder named "f6flpy32" that
    contains the .sys .cat and .inf files for the driver
    5. Create a folder named "Prepare" under the "f6flpy32" folder.
    6. Create a text file named "IMSM_PRE.INF" in the "Prepare" folder and
    insert the following into it:


    AddReg=iaStorCritical.Reg, iaStorSvc.Reg

    DelReg=iaStorCritical.DelReg, iaStorSvc.DelReg

    DefaultDestDir = 12 ; DIRID_DRIVERS


    ; ICH9M - Critical Boot Device Database
    ; %PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2829&CC_0106.DeviceDesc% = iaStor_mobl_Inst,PCI
    ; %PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2829&CC_0106.DeviceDesc% = iaStor_mobl_Inst,PCI
    ; ICH8M - Critical Boot Device Database
    ; %PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2829&CC_0106.DeviceDesc% = iaStor_mobl_Inst,PCI
    ; ICH7M - Critical Boot Device Database
    ; %PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_27C5&CC_0106.DeviceDesc% = iaStor_mobl_Inst,PCI



    ; Storage Service - Parameter Set (ICH9M)









    iaStor.sys=1, ..\,

    ProdName="IMSM Critical Database Preparation for Windows 2000/XP"

    *PNP0600.DeviceDesc="Intel AHCI Controller"


    ;Handy macro substitutions (non-localizable)
    REG_SZ = 0x00000000
    REG_EXPAND_SZ = 0x00020000
    REG_DWORD = 0x00010001

    7. Save the "IMSM_PRE.INF" file.
    8. Create a text file named "install.cmd" in the "Prepare" folder and
    insert the following into it:
    rundll32.exe setupapi.dll,InstallHinfSection DefaultInstall 132

    9. Save the "install.cmd" file.
    10. Run "install.cmd"
    11. Reboot.
    12. Enter BIOS setup and set the SATA mode to AHCI.
    13. When XP starts, it should find new hardware and install drivers.
    14. If it asks for a driver location, specify the folder where you
    originally unpacked the driver, i.e., the "f6flpy32" folder.

    You should be good to go after that!!

    Kevin, Jul 17, 2009
  15. vbDavidC

    Kevin Guest

    NOTE: Apparently the forum decided to word-wrap the contents of the
    "IMSM_PRE.INF" file. The contents of every line that starts with
    "HKLM" should be on ONE line. The same goes for the contents of the
    "install.cmd" file.

    Sorry about that.

    Kevin, Jul 17, 2009
  16. vbDavidC

    dg1261 Guest

    Thanks for posting that. I've cut-and-pasted it and saved for possible
    future reference.

    As for your claim that it's the "EASIEST way", though, there's just no
    way that's easier than simply dumping the contents of f6flpy32 onto a
    floppy disk and pressing F6 when you start to install XP. Sure, that
    requires a floppy drive, but external USB floppy drives are so
    inexpensive that everyone should have one. They come in so handy for
    assorted simple tasks (like this), and you only need one for all your

    Still, your roundabout procedure may come be handy for somebody who
    already installed XP in ATA mode and now wants to switch back to SATA
    without starting over, so it's worth saving.
    dg1261, Jul 18, 2009
  17. vbDavidC

    Bob Villa Guest

    I'll check-in as soon as I try the nLite method of adding the driver
    to the XP SP1 install CD.

    Bob Villa, Jul 19, 2009
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