Dell M6500, mSATA and the FCM slot

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Rommul, Nov 27, 2015.

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  1. Rommul

    Rommul Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi guys.

    Is anyone running an mSATA drive in an FCM slot on the M6500?

    If so what brand? What capacity?

    I have been trying to get a 1TB Samsung 840 Evo to work with no luck and would appreciate any guidance.
     
  2. DynamiteZerg

    DynamiteZerg Notebook Evangelist

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    I have a Crucial 240GB mSATA working in my old M6500.

    What do you mean when you say you have no luck getting the 1TB to work?
     
  3. Rommul

    Rommul Notebook Enthusiast

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    I mean it won't boot up windows and wont allow me to go into bios it just boots past the dell splash screen then hands at the next black screen with a blinking cursor.

    This laptop is just finicky with mSATA drives. I am going to try another smaller drive model and will report my results.
     
  4. Rommul

    Rommul Notebook Enthusiast

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    I mean it won't boot up windows and wont allow me to go into bios it just boots past the dell splash screen then hands at the next black screen with a blinking cursor.

    This laptop is just finicky with mSATA drives. I am going to try another smaller drive model and will report my results.
     
  5. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    I would be extremely suprised if a different mSATA capacity would change anything. I've moved mSATA SSDs between different notebooks and never encountered any compatibility problems. My 1TB 840 EVO mSATA is now in its 3rd notebook (Samsung NP900X4C > Dell E7440 > Dell E7450).

    UEFI and SecureBoot
    are more likely to be the cause of apparent problems. Is SecureBoot enabled or disabled in the BIOS?

    John
     
  6. Rommul

    Rommul Notebook Enthusiast

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    There are threads online where certain drives from certain manufacturers don't work for anyone (crucial 256GB) in this model. When I get time over the weekend I will try it out.

    I don't recall seeing the secure boot option in the bios (I have the latest) by I will look again.

    So what's your thinking if I find the option? Enable or disable?
     
  7. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    I've done a little more research. The M6500 is 2009 vintage when SecureBoot didn't exist, so forget my previous suggestion. However, mSATA wasn't announced until 2009 (and compatible notebooks didn't appear until 2011) so I suspect that the M6500 slot would use the PCIe mini-card which uses the same connector but is electronically different. I think such SSDs as were made in this format had quite small capacities. I have in my collection of old electronics an Intel Turbo Memory card which is physically identical to an mSATA card (it looks the same as this) but it won't communicate with an mSATA compatible slot. Perhaps it would work in your M6500 (but with a capacity of a few GB it won't do much to enhance your storage).

    John
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
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  8. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    The earliest Precisions that have secure boot are the M4700/M6700 generation.
     
  9. Rommul

    Rommul Notebook Enthusiast

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    Okay update time.

    I got it to work. Windows is installed.

    At first I tried it with the mSATA drive in the FCM with no other drives installed.

    Same result. Couldn't enter Bios. Couldn't boot past blinking cursor.

    Then I decided to try something new.

    I installed drives into each available bay which resulted in this config.

    120GB Samsung 850 Evo mSATA in FCM Slot
    256GB Crucial M4 in Bay 0
    256GB Crucail M4 in Bay 1

    I booted up and was able to enter the bios (yay!).

    I set the ATA configuration to AHCI.

    I set the Optical drive as the first boot device and the minicard SSD device as the second and rebooted.

    The machine booted as normal recognised the windows CD and the install was painless.

    The only wrinkle.

    When I go into disk management it shows a 100MB partition on the drive in Bay 1.

    Is there a possibility that windows put a system partition on one of the other disks while still placing the main install
    on the mSATA drive?

    Don't know.

    Furthermore can this system boot with only the mSATA drive now that windows is installed (unlikely I think).

    My plan is to replace both of these drives with two completely different drives to see is the machine will still boot.

    I don't have time to do it today but in the next few days I should.

    Thanks for the ideas guys.
     
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  10. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    This may well have happened, Windows likes to put the boot partition on the "first" hard drive. If you haven't done much work, I'd recommend doing the Windows install over again with only the drive you want Windows on plugged in / enabled, and then adding other drives after the Windows install is done. (You can just disable the extra drives in the BIOS, you don't have to physically remove them.) I'd recommend doing this in general if your drive configuration is unusual.

    If you do this, you may have to pay special attention to the boot order when you enable the other drives, since the "bay 1" drive is also bootable. You can wipe the 100 MB partition from this drive to fix this issue, however, Disk Management may not let you do this — you can use "diskpart" on the command line with the override flag.

    You can also fix it manually. I know exactly how to do it with UEFI boot, but not legacy boot — but pretty much, you have to create a partition on the mSATA drive (it can go at the end of the disk and not the beginning), and then get Windows to reinstall the boot loader on this partition. From the Windows install media, if you get to a command prompt, "bcdboot" is the tool that you use to reinstall the boot loader. However, you will have to do some work to get the boot partition ready before it will work, and that's the part I'm not sure about except with UEFI boot.
     
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