Originally Posted by gabt
Gettin exactly this issue, tried osx, windows & linux, tried a partitioning tool, and no joy. Bios sees HD, disk utility sees it, lists all the info about it, but wont partition or erase it.
As someone already mentioned, you'd be best off running the dell diagnostics on the drive. In the case that you don't have the partition on it anymore, that's fine, you can download an .exe from the dell driver site that will give you the option to create a bootable thumb drive (or cd incase you have an external drive) with the diagnostics on that.
In the case of not being able to format/partition/erase the drive, its still not necessarily a failed drive. I'd suggest debugging the drive. Since these systems don't have optical drives, again, use the bootable thumb drive/cd option.. only when prompted with the choice of diagnostics or quit, choose quit.
It will drop you to a dos prompt... type in the following that is in bold
, pressing 'Enter' at the end of each line: debug
-F 200 L1000 0
xxxx:0100 MOV AX,301
xxxx:0103 MOV BX,200
xxxx:0106 MOV CX,1
xxxx:0109 MOV DX,80
xxxx:010C INT 13
xxxx:010E INT 20
xxxx:0110 (Leave this line blank. Press 'Enter' to continue.) -G
It'll then say either 'program terminated normally', or it'll just give another '-' dash. Power off the system.
You should now be able to install whatever OS it is you were wanting to do with it. Often times when I see a similar issue to this, if you debug the hdd, then format it with say, the xp formatting tool as part of the normal xp installation process... I'd normally then have someone let the system restart, but press the F12 while its rebooting, and swap out for the diagnostic disk/thumb drive again.. and if the drive fails testing, then yeah, its dead...
I wouldn't just assume or count it dead just yet though, give my suggestion a try, more often than not, it works out just fine.