Dell Mini 9 Hardware Issues / Problems Inform everyone on any issues or problems with your Dell Mini 9 hardware.

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ByteMe Networking ByteMe Networking is offline
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Default STEC 8GB SSD 0MB in BIOS - 02-08-2012, 03:47 AM

:::::UPDATE::::: (added pictures and notes)
All,

A friend recently had me work on a Dell Mini 9/ Inspiron 910 Mini that was reporting 0MB from the BIOS and "Operating system not found" error.

I tried all of the tools I would normally use for HDD repair with no luck. Could not even see the drive.
After hours of searching and not coming up with any answers, I finely found a User on the Official Dell forums that provided me with a fix directly from STEC.

The information provided below worked for me on a standard STEC 8GB SSD. It is supposed to work on anything 8GB STEC SSD cards and higher.

:::NOTE::: I cannot guarantee any results, but can only share what has worked for me. In my case the SSD was already hosed and data was not an issue. Using this information or buying another SSD were the only options.
Buying a new SSD that may do the same thing when plugged in was not something in the budget.

:::NOTE::: Using the below information will !!!DELETE ALL DATA FROM THE DRIVE!!! Use at your own risk.

First, I will assume you are running Windows.
Second, I will assume you are using a USB Flash drive to boot and run the update to fix the BIOS error.
Third, I will assume you want to install Ubuntu 11.10 as your OS.

:::NOTE::: If not, Ubuntu, this guide in general will fix the boot 0MB problem but requires some windows box to get that far.
Again this is just what has worked for me.

First things first,
Have a USB flash drive ready to be wiped out and formatted with a bootable MS-DOS.

Step 1.
Download the following zip and extract to a covenant place.....EX. desktop.
USBBoot.zip

Once extracted you should have a HPUSBFW.EXE file and a win98boot folder.
Plug in your Flash drive and note the drive letter.
:NOTE: In my case it was H:

Now run the: (double click it)
HPUSBFW.EXE

Once ran you need to choose your "Device". (make it your flash drive)
Keep your "File System" as:
FAT

You can keep "Volume Label" blank if you want, or give it a name. (Who Cares)

Choose under "Format options" the following:
Check Quick Format
Check Create a DOS startup disk
Select "using DOS system files located at:"
Now click the "..." button and choose the win98boot folder.
C:\Users\Desktop\USBBoot\win98boot (somthing like that)

This should be located in the same folder as the HPUSBFW.EXE

Click "Start"

This will now build your USB to boot into MS-DOS.


Once it completes browse your Flash drive.
It should look blank! as the files it creates are system files and unless set do not show up.

Now download and extract the following file to your fresh MS-DOS drive.
notebook.zip (in my case H: drive)

Step 2:
Once the above notebook.zip file is extracted to your mint MS-DOS boot USB drive, you are ready to go with your BIOS fix.

Step 3:
Plug the USB drive into your MINI and then press the power button making sure you keep pressing "repeatedly" the 0 "ZERO" key to bring up the boot options.
Choose the "USB Harddrive" option.

It should boot to Windows 98 Screen then right to command prompt.

Once at the command prompt type:
cd notebook
And Press enter

This should drop you into the notebook directory which contains the update we need to get the drive seen by the BIOS.

Now we are in the notebook directory we need to type the following to run the update.
Type:
mcru004.exe
And press enter

You will see a screen that looks like this:


Just follow the command prompts until it has finished.

Once it completes you should now be able to recognize your SSD drive again to install an OS.

Reboot and then press 2 to get to the BIOS setup screen. It should now show under "HDD Size" your once 0MB drive as a drive with room.
In my case, it went from "0MB" to "7683MB".




If you have made it this far then the easiest way for me to instal an OS was PXE boot.

You can download a package that contains everything you need to install Ubuntu 11.10 over PXE boot from a Win box using the following URL.
You will want to DL it and extract it to the c:\ drive creating a tftp folder with all the goods.

tftp.zip


Once you have that file you should extract it to your c:\ drive.
Then open the tftp folder and double click to run the TFTPD32.exe app.

Once ran click on the Settings button on the bottom.
Change DHCP tab setting to fit your needs. (here is what I have)



Check the TFTP tab shows "Bind TFTP" as your deployment computer IP.
Without that checked for me, TFTPD would not work.

If the above is all good then you need to boot from the network and it should pickup the fresh install information.
Booting from a network is above the scope of this info and can be easily found by googling:
"how to make computer boot from network"


If anything above is not clear, you can reach me at tslipnbang(AT)yahoo.com

Thanks everyone and I hope this helps.


Quick TFTPD32 Win Setup PXE Boot To deploy Ubuntu 11.10
Change DHCP tab setting to fit your needs.
Check TFTP tab shows "Bind TFTP" as your deployment computer IP.

0MB SSD BIOS fix for Mini 9 Notebooks
Works for 8GB STEC and Higher SSDs

Last edited by ByteMe Networking; 02-18-2012 at 02:00 AM.
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Nx650 Nx650 is offline
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Thumbs up 02-14-2012, 09:29 AM

YYYEEEEESSSSSSSS IT WORKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS !!!

Thanks...... Thanks....

Last week i've tried to a windows firmware for stec, but no luck, with your magic file i did it just like you said. And voilá... SSD back in action... Bios recognize the full size of ssd. Linux have format the HD and it's working like a charm...

Thans again!!!!

Rui.

IF YOU HAVE A MINI DELL WITH 0MB STEC IN BIOS, TRIED THIS FIRST!!! MAYBE YOU CAN SAVE SOME €€€ OR $$$ IN STEAD OF BUYING A NEW ONE.
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ByteMe Networking ByteMe Networking is offline
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Cool Thanks! - 02-16-2012, 10:48 PM

Nx650,

Thanks for the feedback.

This was a hard one to overcome and learn from. I spent more time than I had to fix this issue and it turned into a personal quest.
I researched everything and tried to contact everyone I could get in touch with.
Dell support was absolutely no help at all!

After reading the official Dell forums for hours, I found someone that was getting blocked from "Dell" mediators who was providing the answer the entire time. (Had to be a 6 month old thread in 2011)
Dell mediators were keeping this fix, FIXed. Meaning they did not want this user to help others.

I finely found a post with there half email and started emailing random people until I got a response.
I am not going to give it out as it seems this issue is resolved with enough googling. Is that a word?

In the end, this works provided it is what you are looking for. And after reading Many,Many threads over the same issue there has been no Absolute answer.
In my case the answer was All of the Above!

Dell builds there products to break the same way many manufactures do. (cars, ipads, and TVs)
They don't make money if it works all the time every time you use it!

With test and quality control if it last until the warranty is due, they make money. If it doesn't, they send you a bigger POS model that may or may not make it to the end of that warranty.
When it breaks after warranty, you can either buy from them OR get something better, cheaper, or upgrade.

Not my motto.

Mine:
I own it and should be able to fix or repair anything I own.

That was engrained into me from my grandfather since I was old enough to pick up a tool.
God rest his soul.
He made it clear though.
If you cannot fix it you don't need it!

I think we forget that in our consumer lives and are just strung on by, Media and friends who are strung on by media.

Its all around us.

I did not mean to go this deep, but its always, from hear on out, going to be in our face!

Thanks,
ByteMe


Quick TFTPD32 Win Setup PXE Boot To deploy Ubuntu 11.10
Change DHCP tab setting to fit your needs.
Check TFTP tab shows "Bind TFTP" as your deployment computer IP.

0MB SSD BIOS fix for Mini 9 Notebooks
Works for 8GB STEC and Higher SSDs
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amadeu amadeu is offline
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Default 02-17-2012, 05:16 PM

Please can you upload the notebook.zip again, the download is not working.
Thanks
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ByteMe Networking ByteMe Networking is offline
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Default Link update - 02-18-2012, 01:49 AM

Sorry about that. My DNS server blocks many countries and if your country is on the blacklist you will not be able to access the downloads.

However, here are mediafire links to all of the files I have used to fix the issue.

notebook.zip
USBBoot.zip
tftp.zip


Quick TFTPD32 Win Setup PXE Boot To deploy Ubuntu 11.10
Change DHCP tab setting to fit your needs.
Check TFTP tab shows "Bind TFTP" as your deployment computer IP.

0MB SSD BIOS fix for Mini 9 Notebooks
Works for 8GB STEC and Higher SSDs
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amadeu amadeu is offline
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Default 02-18-2012, 11:33 AM

Thank's a lot, all is working now, you are the best !!!!!
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XeroOmega XeroOmega is offline
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Default 02-20-2012, 11:16 PM

Hi there, i wanted to reply as i have been trying to fix an issue for 2 days. I'll give you a little story.

I got a dell mini 9 the other day with the old owner saying (just reinstall the os it'll be fine) As a computer tech i knew better and haggled him down on price. Brought the unit home, ran the dell diagnostics on it. bad blocks, hmmm. so i looked into the issue, and i thought this sounds more to me like it isn't addressing properly. so i looked around for fixes. I have a live copy of xp that i use for debugging, so i tried to get it to boot, but it wouldn't go past the hd check. so i looked around more. found this place.(let me confirm i have a stec mini pci-e 16 gb displaying the proper size). so i have another ssd on order and figured wth why not screw with it, if i kill it oh well. So i applied your firmware update(where did you get it i could not find reference to it from stec?). Works, unable to run diagnostic(i assumed this would happen as i just nuked the partitions). so i ran it through my live xp, which now boots! all seemed well, format(quick) to fully ntfs (not a fat and ntfs partition like before). i'm currently reinstalling the original xp to it. All seems well. it boots!, you have gained me another 16 gb of ssd. woot, now to install my 32gb that's on order and rig up the third mini pci-e slot so i can run 2 drives!

So to confirm i fixed a 16gb stec ssd that was giving me bad block issues with this firmware update!
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lswartz lswartz is offline
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Default 02-21-2012, 11:59 AM

What a great find! I am sure there are a lot of Mini 9 SSD's that were replaced that might have been salvaged.


| Dell Mini 10v | Linux Lite |
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cyclopes cyclopes is offline
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Thumbs up 03-04-2012, 06:19 AM

I just wanted to thank you for posting this, I just recovered a 32GB STEC SSD which was literally in the garbage (I fished it out to try your method). It was getting the 0 byte size issue and I was on the verge of buying a new SSD.

This post needs to be stickied and given more praise.

Thanks again!
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holmes4 holmes4 is offline
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Default 03-06-2012, 12:19 AM

Duly stuck.


Steve
Mini 9|2GB RAM|64GB RunCore|Intel 5300|Windows 10
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