Dell XPS 13 9350. How do I format the SSD?

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by JamesFosterUK, Nov 16, 2015.

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  1. JamesFosterUK

    JamesFosterUK Notebook Guru

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    I want to do a clean Windows 10 installation. But when I use a USB key installer Windows can't find the drive or load the driver software. All I can do is upgrade Windows 10 which overwrites the existing installation. I want to blow away the whole drive.
    I want to remove all those recovery partitions and just have one partition which will be 238GB after formatting.

    upload_2015-11-16_22-36-37.png

    Do I have to go into the BIOS and unlock secure UEFI Boot. F Dell and all these recovery partitions. Ship expensive computers like this with USB drive with Windows 10 minus bloatware.
     
  2. kent1146

    kent1146 Notebook Prophet

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    Yes you need to disable uefi protected boot mode. That setting specifically prevents you from booting off of other boot devices, like a USB stick. You want to enable legacy boot mode.

    And the recovery partitions exist for people who don't know computers, for easy recovery. It wouldn't matter if Dell didn't put those there, and just gave you one large partition. A power user would want to do a clean reformat anyway, to get rid of the bloatware that Dell puts on their systems.


    Sent from my XT1575 using Tapatalk
     
  3. JamesFosterUK

    JamesFosterUK Notebook Guru

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    Thanks Kent. I did it earlier. Everything worked, but Windows 10 doesn't include those friggin Broadcom WiFi drivers. Remind me why Dell use Intel 7265 WiFi or 8260AC cards in our computers. The only thing is that if I re-enable secure boot, Windows 10 won't load. It's not a big deal.
     
  4. Carbo

    Carbo Notebook Consultant

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    I'm looking at the exact scenario. Just received the XPS 13, (9350), with a 256GB SSD. Like you, James, I want to wipe the drive, delete the partitions and crap that Dell includes and do a clean install. But being the techno-dinosaur I a bit apprehensive after looking at the BIOS. Seemed to be a lot simpler on my XPS 15 and Windows 7 with an HDD. But after reading Kent's reply I think I can do this after making those changes in the BIOS.
    But I read elsewhere that Windows 10 will automatically create 4 partitions when doing a clean install:
    1. a 450 MB Recovery partition (containing Windows Recovery Environment and supporting advanced boot options)
    2. a 100 MB EFI System Partition (ESP) which is what your system will boot from
    3. a 16 MB Microsoft Reserved (MSR) partition, part of GPT layout standard, reserved for future use, and
    4. the remainder of the disk as your operating system, i.e., the primary Windows 10 partition.

    I'm confused. Is this correct?
     
  5. kent1146

    kent1146 Notebook Prophet

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    Yep. It will create those partitions if you tell it to install on a completely clean drive.

    Just let that happen. You want those partitions there.

    Sent from my XT1575 using Tapatalk
     
  6. Carbo

    Carbo Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks, Kent. One area of confusion remains: I'm reading what you wrote above about how to boot off a USB drive. But elsewhere I'm reading that the BIOS doesn't need to be touched. Simply insert the USB drive, reboot, and the laptop will automatically detect the USB drive and run off of it.
     
  7. kent1146

    kent1146 Notebook Prophet

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    The guide you read isn't targeted for a computer like yours. Computers are now beginning to heavily use new technology, like UEFI and Secure Boot. You'll find that Secure Boot causes a lot of problems in laptops. I'm willing to bet that the guide you read was for an older laptop (that doesn't use UEFI / Secure Boot), or for a desktop computer where Secure Boot is usually disabled by default.

    Trust me on this one... I did exactly this procedure for exactly the same laptop (XPS 13 9343). You need to go into BIOS to enable Legacy Boot mode, and disable Secure Boot. When you want to boot off of your USB drive to do a Windows install, just hit F12 during the laptop startup process, and it will bring you to a one-time boot menu where you can choose the USB drive.
     
  8. Carbo

    Carbo Notebook Consultant

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    Kent, did as you said and, yes, you are correct. I enabled Legacy boot and disabled Secure boot. I was able to boot off the USB. That's the good news. The bad news is I have quickly run into an error of some kind when starting the install. I'm seeing a screen that asks "Where do you want to install Windows?" Followed by "We couldn't find any drives". Then I have an option to "load driver". But I don't have or know what driver they are looking for. What did I do wrong?
     
  9. Carbo

    Carbo Notebook Consultant

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    Nevermind. I needed to make a change to a BIOS setting and now the drives are visible. . .:rolleyes:
     
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