Dell Mini 9 Hardware and Upgrades Discuss Dell Mini 9 Hardware and Upgrades.

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era043 era043 is offline
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Default Problems with new 32GB SSD (and other issues!) - 02-07-2010, 02:37 AM

Not sure if this is the right place to post this question, but I've just read the last 10 pages of this sticky, and enough of my issues have been touched upon here that it seems like the most appropriate place to me. Please feel free to move it elsewhere if necessary.

I just bought a RunCore Pro IV 32GB SSD. No problem physically replacing the original SSD with the new one (as an aside, the contents of my original SSD are intact despite having used a magnetized screwdriver).

What I wanted to do next was align the partition on the new SSD first, and then do a fresh installation of WinXP Home. I have an external CD/DVD-ROM (USB) which I've successfully used with my Mini 9 in the past.

As per the instructions to "Align system partition with free Vista Recovery Disc" at, I downloaded the Vista Recovery Disc and burned the ISO to a CD. I set the boot order to CD/DVD first. When I tried running the CD after installing the new SSD, however, I consistently got the following message:
ntldr is missing
Ctrl-alt-del to reboot
I tried all three USB ports on the Mini, with the same results (as I said, the external optical drive worked with the original SSD).

I Googled the error, and didn't find much in the way of immediate solutions.

I figured if there's some problem with the Mini reading from the optical drive, maybe I could try putting the Vista Recovery Disc on a flash drive and run it that way instead. Spent a few hours googling that possibility. Problem is, I want to run the Vista Recovery Disc for the alignment, but I don't actually want to install Vista. So I need to make the USB flash drive bootable, and then put both the Vista Recovery disc (for the alignment) and WinXP on the flash drive for installation (although I have more than one flash drive, so I could easily put the Vista Recovery Disc and WinXP Home on separate units).

Using (on a flash drive), I got a little farther, but not in a helpful way:
Phoenix TrustedCore(tm) NB
Copyright 1985-2006 Phoenix Technologies Ltd.
All Rights Reserved

BIOS Version A04
CPU = 1 Processors Detected
Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270 @ 1.60GHz
2039M System RAM Passed
512 KB L2 Cache
System BIOS shadowed
Video BIOS shadowed
Rixed Disk 0: RunCore 32G-C
USB 2.0: 410 RamBo USB 2.0
Mouse initialized
0200: Failure Fixed Disk 0

Press <F1> to resume, <F2> to setup
Pressing F1 or F2 didn't do anything. I waited for a few minutes, then turned the computer off. [Failure fixed disk sounds ominous. Does that mean the new SSD is defective? Could that account for why the optical drive isn't being recognized by the new SSD even though it worked fine with the old one?]

Running BootMyISO to set up the flash drive, I got the following message on the Mini:
Intel UNDI, PXE-2.1 (build 082)
Copyright © 1997-2000 Intel Corporation

For Realtek RTL8101E/8102E PCI-E Ethernet Controller v1.08 (080408)
PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable
PXE-M0F: Exiting PXE ROM
Operating System not found
I found somewhere that the “Operating system not found” means “the LBR (bootsector of your USB volume) does not have a valid (55aah) signature, or that the partition table or MBR is wrong/corrupt.

Having spent over 10 hours working on this today, I finally gave up and put back the original SSD (8GB) - it's working fine, btw. But I really would like to get the 32 GB SSD working!

So what can I try next?
  1. How do I go about creating a bootable Vista Recovery Disc on to my flash drive?
  2. Assuming I am able to do that, would I be able to just use that to align the partition (i.e., not have the computer 'think' I'm actually going to install Vista)
  3. I have found a number of sites with instructions for how to install XP from a USB flash drive, so I'm hoping to be able to accomplish that without a whole lot of fuss – but does anyone have instructions that they feel are particularly straightforward or successful for this?
  4. If I can't go the Vista Recovery Disc route for the alignment, according to the ocztechnologyforum post I referred to above, "You need to have a working OS to boot to in order to align the partition on the drive." Does that mean I'd have to reinstall XP, align the partition, and then reinstall XP again in order to preserve the alignment?
  5. The Reinstallation CD that came with my Mini is a “Recovery Media for MS Win XP Home, service pack 3” - can that be used for a clean installation, or do I need a full-fledged XP Home CD (which I have for my Dell Dimension 5100 – could I use that and just enter the Mini's product key if/when asked?)
  6. Of course if the new SSD is bad, then I realize that any suggested solutions are moot right now - but at least I'll know I need to contact RunCore for a replacement.
I know the alignment of my new SSD isn't critical, but as long as I'm starting from scratch, I'd like to try to set it up as 'ideally' as possible.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Addendum: I tried cloning the original drive this morning, and I can't even get that to work. I connect the gizmo in the black casing to my Mini - get a popup saying, "The device has been loaded" but I don't know what do to next. When I look under "My Computer", the additional harware doesn't show up, and sure as heck nothing initiates on its own!
If someone can just tell me how to go about this cloning business, I'd be happy to skip all the above for the time being. I just can't figure out how to tell WHERE the problem lies!
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holmes4 holmes4 is offline
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Default 02-23-2010, 09:00 PM

I moved this from the SSD upgrade thread where it seems to have been overlooked.

Mini 9|2GB RAM|64GB RunCore|Intel 5300|Windows 10
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reflex reflex is offline
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Default 02-24-2010, 02:49 AM

A couple hints/points/questions/etc:

Try booting your Vista Recovery CD on another computer, maybe it's bad.

"Failure Fixed Disk 0" may just be a software problem, since there's no OS or anything on the SSD for ntldrusb to find.

BootMyISO probably only works will select Linux ISOs.

Being a Linux user, I use Linux fdisk to create aligned partitions. A Ubuntu LiveCD/USB and "sudo fdisk -H 32 -S 32 /dev/sda", (using 32 "heads" and 32 "sectors-per-track" for disk geometry). Then starting the first partition at offset 2 will work as long as your subsequent installer doesn't insist on screwing up the partitioning.

You could also try imaging/cloning your old drive's install to the new aligned partition (run "fixmbr" from a recovery disc afterwards to get the Windows bootloader on the new drive).

Or if you don't care about alignment, you can easily image one drive to another. I'd boot off a Linux LiveCD/USB with both drives attached and use basic tools. But there are a thousand different programs which can do the same.

Good luck.

Mini 9 | Intel 5100 Wifi | Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook
Mini 1012 | SSD | Intel 6200 Wifi | Ubuntu 11.10 64bit
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cybernevets cybernevets is offline
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Default 02-24-2010, 06:09 PM

Here is a link to what I have found to be the easiest way to create a Windows (Vista or 7) bootable USB flash drive. Please note that you will need a computer with a CD/DVD drive and a USB port in order to create the bootable USB flash drive.
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Dellerious Dellerious is offline
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Default Requesting Help Also - 02-28-2010, 10:33 PM

I have purchased the new RunCore 32 GB SSD Pro IV Light and don't want to proceed until I have a good plan to properly align the partition prior to also correctly installing the new drive so that it works with the intended new speed and indeed "satisfaction is guaranteed". All the problems I am reading in this forum with regard to the SSDs in general is discouraging. I have a mini9 purchased early in its production run. The OS is XP and the old SSD is 16GB. Could someone point me in the direction of a step by step procedure "so that even a caveman can do it", since I'm not at an expert level with digital H/W or S/W. Having already spent $130+ on this new SSD, using free partition and installation S/W would be appreciated. I don't want to invest anymore cash in it or a new OS. I am aware there is trial S/W on the drive used for cloning, but haven't looked at it yet until I have a plan. Thanks.
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Dellerious Dellerious is offline
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Default 03-02-2010, 01:35 PM

Also, is anyone aware of any issues yet with this new Pro iV Light drive? Thanks.
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dsf3g dsf3g is offline
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Default 03-03-2010, 11:21 PM

Originally Posted by Dellerious View Post
Also, is anyone aware of any issues yet with this new Pro iV Light drive? Thanks.

I've got the 32GB Runcore IV. It is blazingly fast. No problems whatsoever. Copied my old drive using the included trial Acronis software. Actually, the only thing that gave me any trouble was Acronis.

Here's how I dealt with Aconris:

Runcore Pro IV observations & Acronis Warning
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Dellerious Dellerious is offline
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Default Thanks for replying - 03-05-2010, 11:07 PM

Originally Posted by dsf3g View Post
I've got the 32GB Runcore IV.
Is that the newly released "Light" unit? Did you realign the partition before installation?
Thanks again.

Another question - if one has an older full version of Acronis True Image (and you want to continue using the XP OS) can you use this older version to clone the SSD drive? (the older True Image may have been released before the SP3 of XP) I'm asking this so I'm not stuck with the time limit of the TI home 2010 trial version and I don't want to pay for yet another new version. When I truly understand how to properly align the SSD partition for speed optimization, I may want to go back later and reclone the Runcore.
So far I have been able to physically put the new Runcore SSD into its USB case, connect the USB cable to the mini and use the XP disk management tool to see that the new SSD is alive and well. I also used the tool to download the files that were on the new SSD. I haven't installed the trial Acronis S/W as yet. Granted for the gurus on this forum these are baby steps, but I'm taking this slowly since I'm no expert.
I am disappointed that this Runcore SSD did not come with any detailed instructions on properly aligning the partition and then installing it into a mini9. I have sent messages to the MDD Runcore reps who have responded but have not as yet provided such detailed instructions (that will work with satisfaction guaranteed as they advertise above)
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Dellerious Dellerious is offline
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Default Completed the installation - 03-21-2010, 12:32 PM

I went ahead and just installed the 32 GB RunCore Pro IV Light and I am very satisfied so far, My Dell mini9 is now very responsive. In fact, as far as I am concerned, it is blazing fast. This is subjective, of course. I used the Acronis S/W that was on the RunCore drive. I still would like to know about partition alignment specifically for this drive, but since no one is answering my questions, I decided to just go ahead and install it. I will post any long term issues, if any come up. But so far so good. I will go back now and also install the larger 2GB RAM that made my Mini9 run even slower with the old SSD installed and ended up in the sock drawer.

Update: Installed the 2 GB RAM module. There is maybe a slight decrease in speed, but still very fast and well within my high level of satisfaction. Baring any future issues, I would highly recommend this RunCore SSD for turning an excruciatingly slow Dell mini9 into one with very responsive and satisfying speed. The SSD installation procedure went very smoothly. The most difficult part was handling the tiny screws, but I went and bought a set of miniature screwdriver bits that included Phillips 000, 00, 01 etc and made sure the one I used fit well - 00 I believe.
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Dellerious Dellerious is offline
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Default My Dell Mini9 Failure - 05-04-2010, 03:05 PM

After being very happy with the Runcore 32 GB Pro IV Light, my Dell mini has now failed. I would appreciate some help in determining what has caused this failure since the Runcore is a suspect. Upon turn on, the XP logo appears and the busy bar below it just moves with no desktop appearance. I removed the battery and replaced it and the Dell went into safeguard mode. I then turned it off again and then on and I got this message. I've uploaded the screen shot. Since this error has to do with the PCI-e does this point to a Runcore failure? Thank You. -O7
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