Dell Vostro 1500 Hard Drive Replacement

My buddy Garrett ordered a 250GB after-market hard drive for his Dell Vostro 1500, and he asked me to replace it. Most hard drive replacements for notebooks are straightforward, and the replacement for the Vostro 1500 is no exception. Here’s what I did. (See the album for photos.)

  1. Backed up data
  2. Turn off power, remove battery.
  3. Flip it over and look to the bottom right. Remove the 4 screws with a small Phillips screw driver.
  4. Pull out hard drive slot. Remove the screws attaching the slot, fix new hard drive in old hard drive’s place.
  5. Put screws back in, plug back in battery.
  6. Install OS and restore data from backup.

It really doesn’t get any easier than this, kudos to Dell for making it easily serviceable.


  1. gravatar

    Harry BAughn Said,

    July 15, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

    Thank you for some simple instructions. My Vostro LCD is bad and Dell said to remove the hard drive before sending the unit in for repair bu they didn’t say how to do that. Really appreciate your website

  2. gravatar

    Raybdbomb Said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 9:57 am

    Seems this post is getting a lot of views, but no comments. Makes sense, this is pretty straightforward. I fixed the bad links.

  3. gravatar

    dreyes Said,

    March 30, 2009 @ 11:23 am

    Yeah man, thanks for posting this. Same as above, I was instructed to remove it before sending it in…without your instructions, I could have really screwed it up.

  4. gravatar

    Calvin Said,

    August 19, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

    What do you do if a screw head is stripped beyond redemption. No slots are left….

  5. gravatar

    Jeff Said,

    August 20, 2009 @ 6:40 am

    You stripped a screw in your laptop? Man, that’s hard core.

  6. gravatar

    Raybdbomb Said,

    August 20, 2009 @ 10:20 am

    It’s stripped inside or stripped outside?

    If it’s stripped inside, use pliers to get it out.

    If it’s stripped outside, get a new screw.

  7. gravatar

    John Watts Said,

    August 26, 2009 @ 5:22 am

    Hi dont know if u can help me or not, but i have got a vostro 1500 but when i go the net or even try to install updates it keeps going into the blue screen, i have tried to use the recovery disc and use f8 to put it back to factory restore it goes into yhe blue screen or nothing happens at all, is this a hard drive problem? thanks John

  8. gravatar

    Jeff Said,

    August 26, 2009 @ 8:28 am

    Is it still under warranty? It sounds like bad RAM.

  9. gravatar

    Raybdbomb Said,

    August 26, 2009 @ 9:01 am

    Without any further investigation, I would say it’s probably either bad RAM like Jeff said, or just a software issue. Load up your favorite linux bootcd and run memtest86 to test the RAM. If you can’t get it to go that far, contact Dell and hope it’s under warranty…

  10. gravatar

    John Watts Said,

    September 4, 2009 @ 8:51 am

    Thankyou Jeff and Raydbomb unfortunately warranty is just out of date is there a solution to this problem many thanks John

  11. gravatar

    jonny Said,

    October 12, 2009 @ 5:14 am

    Hi There.

    Thats some nice piece of info you have here.

    i have a question. i have 120gb hdd in vostro 1500 and i am planning to upgrade it to something with more capacity.

    can you let me know some harddrives which are compatible with vostro 1500? or do i have to buy it from dell only?

    what specs should i look for?

    thank you

  12. gravatar

    Jeff Said,

    October 12, 2009 @ 8:24 am

    Any laptop hard drive should fit. It should say 2.5″ on the box.

  13. gravatar

    John Said,

    October 21, 2009 @ 7:46 am

    Great info Problem solved

    when booting hard drive was not showing just needed info on how to

    access and reseat it


  14. gravatar

    Nate Said,

    October 26, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

    FYI, I’m helping a friend switch the HD out of a Vostro 1500. Booting the computer for the first time, it pops up a BIOS style firmware menu that you have to exit out of before Windows setup does its thing.

    Not surprising for the technically inclined, but it might be unclear to some folks that this is not Windows setup running from their install media.

  15. gravatar

    Nik Said,

    October 29, 2009 @ 11:55 am

    Thanks a lot man for the instructions. They helped!

  16. gravatar

    julia Said,

    November 8, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

    so, i’m a nerd, but not enough, apparantly. please help!
    dell vostro 1500. it was turned off, and i dropped it lil harder than usual. turned on, wouldn’t load os. reinstalled while saving all data. (backup regularly, yay)
    so, having problem installing drivers in right order, got info from dell website, but still not working right. i can use explorer, chrome, but not firefox. goes to blue screen.
    also, do i have to worry about another hard drive crash? someone else said that i probly scratched it, and shouldn’t be worried. not under warranty. thinking about getting new hard drive. then jeff said blue screen means ram problem…aahhh. i need much help!!! ^..^ email is juliaspike@aol.com, but i’ll check this page often.

  17. gravatar

    Jeff Said,

    November 9, 2009 @ 9:38 am

    The blue screen of death doesn’t always mean it’s a RAM problem. The symptoms that John Watts is having, it seemed like his RAM was at fault. That doesn’t mean that your RAM is bad necessarily.

    Ray suggested trying the memtest86 test to see if the memory is the problem.

  18. gravatar

    julia Said,

    November 9, 2009 @ 10:31 am

    thanks, do you know how to install the drivers in the right order? i got 2 conflicting orders on the internet, and neither has worked right.
    i want to throw it out of a moving vehicle.

  19. gravatar

    julia Said,

    November 9, 2009 @ 10:32 am

    ooh, also…tried doing windows updates, and got blue screen again…and i can’t install windows ultimate office 2007.
    after a clean install, i’m missing important things for installations and updates, need a new compy.
    but i know if the drivers are installed right, everything should go smoothly.

  20. gravatar

    Regis Said,

    March 7, 2010 @ 4:26 am

    what is the format in use for dell vostro HDD ?
    is it 2,5″ SATA?

  21. gravatar

    Sasha Said,

    May 22, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

    Yes… 2.5” SATA…. just bought one at Fry’s 160Gb for $50, i know that i could get cheaper online but didn’t have wait time…

  22. gravatar

    cindy Said,

    June 7, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

    my dell vostro 1500 suffered a little smack and now says it cannot detect the hard drive … reseating did not help … anyone have any ideas??


  23. gravatar

    Lorrie Said,

    September 16, 2010 @ 6:28 am

    My Vostro 1500 is a couple years old and is starting to act funny. Programs and files are opening slowly. I ran virus scan and all seems to be fine. I did a defrag on the hard drive. Still acting the same way. How can I test the hard drive to see if it is dying? Thanks

  24. gravatar

    Jeanette Said,

    November 16, 2010 @ 10:43 am

    I have the same question as Lorrie but didn’t see an answer to hers. My Vostro 1500 was bought in Sept 2007. Programmes and files take forever to open. I made space on the 160gb it now has about 20 gb free. I don’t think its virus related. I have defragged and it did help a bit. Any clue what gives. Would a new hard drive be the answer? Thanks much much

  25. gravatar

    Curtis Said,

    November 28, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

    Just installed a 250G SATA in my Vostro1500. I don’t think Dell gave me a disk for my operating system but I do have a xp disk that I haven’t used. Running XP it says the harddrive not detected but in BIOS it sees it.

    Is there a SATA driver that needs to be run during installation?

  26. gravatar

    LoftyL Said,

    December 10, 2010 @ 8:03 am

    Yes you do. I had exactly the same issue. If your Vostro has a floppy drive then your ok, AFIKthis is the only form of media XP will accept for adding extra drivers at boot time.

    I didn’t have a floppy drive on my 1530 so I had to creata new XP install disk with the SATA driver slipstreamed in.

    I used a nifty bit of freeware called Enlite and while I was at it I slipstreamed in the latest service pack as well (if you’re feeling really adventurous you can use Enlight to make a fully automated unattended install cd with user accounts and all sorts of GUI tweaks built in)

    Sounds complicated, but Enlite is quite intuative, so you don’t need to be an IT guru to use it. Obviously this requires access to another computer to run enlite and a cd/dvd burner to create the new install disk afterwards.

  27. gravatar

    Guy Said,

    January 12, 2011 @ 1:25 am

    I recently upgraded the hard drive on my PC. It went so well that I am thinking of doing the same for my laptop – a Vostro 1500, so thanks for this. Your photos make it very clear how easy it is to swap in the new drive – I really hadn’t expected that.

    When I did it on the PC, I cloned my existing system, rather than doing a fresh install: I just didn’t want to have to spend days loading up every bit of software and getting things exactly as they are now. I used the “Acronis True Image WD Edition” which was a free download from the Western Digital site (I was installing a Western Digital disk).

    It (the cloning s/w) made things so simple that I will probably also buy a WD disk for the Vostro too – but if I don’t, do you have any suggestions about other cloning software, or other disk manufacturers that give you free s/w to do the same job? Have you tried Seagate’s DiscWizard or else the manufacturer-neutral Carbon Copy Cloner?

  28. gravatar

    john Said,

    February 1, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

    hi all,i am very green with computers,i have a dell vostro 1500,and i dont seem to have much space left on my local c disk,does this mean that i need to upgrade the hardrive for a larger one?
    any advice much appreciated,thanks,jj.

  29. gravatar

    Cman Said,

    March 5, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    Hi please i need help!!!,, my vostro 1500 hard drive got filled up (3Gb remaining) so i went out and got a new 500GB, after installing it then i restored my computer from a previous back up,then what happened was this, the back up seem to change the initial size of my new hard disk (500Gb) down to the old one ( 120gb) so now iam right back where i started (3Gb remaining)

  30. gravatar

    Guy Said,

    March 17, 2011 @ 4:36 pm


    It sounds like your issue is that your partitions are not changed. In other words, your original 120GB is now replicated on your new hard disk, with well over 300GB unallocated. You can use a partition program to expand your 120GB partition to take up this extra space.

    When I did this I used gparted (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php). I downloaded the ISO (free), burned it to a CD and then booted from the CD into a Linux-based program. I was very surprised at how easy it was. This was on an XP machine – if you are using Vista or later I think you will have the ability to manage your partitions from within Vista. I haven’t done this myself but see: http://www.vistarewired.com/2007/02/16/how-to-resize-a-partition-in-windows-vista.

    John, yes if you are out of space you will either need to clear files off it or upgrade the hard drive. As I explained above, I got “Acronis True Image WD Edition” as a free download from the Western Digital site (I was upgrading to a Western Digital disk) and I found it much simpler than I expected. That was to a PC. The whole thing was so simple that I am about to do the same for my Vostro.

  31. gravatar

    Guy Said,

    March 18, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    As a follow up to my last post: I finished the HD upgrade for the Vostro.

    I bought a WD 500GB so that I could use “Acronis True Image WD Edition”. Cloning my 160GB HD took a few hours (I left it running by itself). Swapping out the existing HD was extremely easy – I followed Ray’s instructions and, as Ray says in his post: “It really doesn’t get any easier than this.” Thanks Ray for making it so clear – it was actually easier to swap the drive on the laptop than it is on a PC.

    I could have let Acronis True Image expand my partitions proportionately, but as the Dell machine has several small system partitions (most of which I think are a waste) I didn’t want to expand them too, so I left the partitions untouched, planning to extend my C:\ (boot) drive partition later.

    I then found that I couldn’t achieve what I wanted to using the Vista partitioning tools: it just couldn’t access the large unallocated new disk space. Even using GParted, I had some difficulties in getting the C:\ drive to expand into the unallocated space: you need to have the unallocated space next to the partition you are trying to expand, and one of those Dell system partitions was in the way (one of the my reasons for being unimpressed with all those unneeded Dell partitions). After a bit of juggling of unallocated space (in GParted) I got it next to the C:\ drive and from that point, extending the C:\ drive into the unallocated space was easy. Because I knew I could always just put the old HD back into the slot and have things the way they were, I wasn’t too worried about this process.

    That was it: I now have a much larger disk on my laptop and that apart, all the setup & programs look exactly the way they were before.

  32. gravatar

    Erwin Said,

    July 28, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

    Hi there,

    My HDD 250 Gb (Vostro 1500 from 2007) is a goner!
    It contains all relevant data which I need but forgot to save (back up) lately.
    Any change I can retrive any of it??

    PS no Email at the moment because of this mishap, so I hope someone can inform me through this medium…..

    After, I want to install a after market HDD with instructions above.
    As I understand: any after market HHD will do, as long it is a 2.5 inch model. Do correct me if I’am wrong.

    Thanks in advance, Erwin

  33. gravatar

    Guy Said,

    July 30, 2011 @ 9:52 am


    There are two issues here. 1st is getting your computer up and running again, with a fresh HDD. Second is rescuing your data from the old HDD.

    For the 1st: Follow Ray’s steps to replace the HDD. You can’t use any HDD: it must be 2.5″ SATA (for my Vostro at least – I assume yours is the same but check). You will have to do a fresh instal of Windows, so make sure you have a Windows installation disk handy.

    For the 2nd: To give you any chance of getting data off your old HDD, get a USB enclosure: must be for the same disk that you are using – i.e. for a SATA 2.5″ disk. Put your old disk into it.

    Once you have your laptop running with the new HDD, reinstalled Windows etc, connect the enclosure to the laptop. If you are lucky, you will be able to access the data. Just copy all the folders that hold your data onto your newly set up laptop.

    Do not copy anything onto the old drive – and I would suggest interacting with the disk as little as possible. If it is in the process of failing, but hasn’t failed completely yet, it might well have only a limited life. So if you can access the drive and copy stuff off it, get your data and consider yourself lucky, but don’t push your luck. Definitely don’t try to restart the laptop with the old HDD still in it, if you think the disk is failing: that would increase your chances of losing data.

  34. gravatar

    Erwin Said,

    July 30, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Hi Guy,

    Thanks for your info.
    Bought myself a 640GB!! Samsung HDD and mounted it already, easily.
    With help of a friend I will install an OS (thik it will be Windows 7) this weekend.
    He has a external HDD casing and I hope for the best that I can access the old HDD as a USB device to get hold of my data.

    Thanks for your help.

    Gr. Erwin

  35. gravatar

    Guy Said,

    August 1, 2011 @ 4:16 pm


    That was one extra thing I should have suggested – get a friend to help with it. Good luck.

  36. gravatar

    mighty matt Said,

    February 19, 2012 @ 4:08 am

    I am wondering if anyrder to download the drivers for a vostro 1500? I go to the dell site and they have the list of drivers, but I don’t know if they are in order or not. I found a couple different people on different forums saying do the chipset first then system software. Please help!!! matt

  37. gravatar

    alvaro Said,

    May 27, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

    men you don´t need any order to install drivers i have many years using vostro 1500 and reinstallen win xp and vista and 7 and allways install the drivers with out any order

  38. gravatar

    Marj Said,

    September 13, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    My Dell Vostro 1500 kept getting the black screen “internal, no bootable drive” (last 9 months). It got progressively worse, but if I turned it off and then back on, I could get it to boot. This am, no luck. Dell is sending me a re-furbished HD. From reading other posts, it sounds as if I’m going to have to reinstall EVERYTHING. I’ll be sick enough about that, but my biggest heartache is if I’ve lost my emails, calendar and CONTACTS in MS Outlook. I’ve backed up stuff to an external HD, but it would not back up Outlook folders. When I tried about a week ago to archive/backup my Contacts, it said the folder was too big. I’m limping along on a very old, somewhat unreliable ACER. New HD should arrive tomorrow. Any advice to get/retrieve MS OUTLOOK folders AND other software (which apparently is not backed up on my external HD–don’t know) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  39. gravatar

    Guy Said,

    September 13, 2012 @ 5:33 pm


    Assuming you set up your backup software to back your Outlook PST files up, the issue might have been that your backup software can’t copy locked files (i.e. files which are in use).

    Not all backup software can do that – I’ve been using the paid version of Syncback for years – it CAN copy locked files. This is after previously using a free backup software which I thought was taking care of my PSTs, only to eventually realize that none of them had been copied because the PC considered them to be locked.

    First bit of advice is: if you are having disk problems, don’t (ever) try to turn on the Vostro with the old disk in it – you’re greatly increasing your chances of losing data.

    I would suggest you take the disk (the problem disk) out of the Vostro and put it into its own external enclosure. Then copy the PST files off the disk onto whatever you can – either your external HD, or your Acer, or something else. When you have reinstalled Outlook on your new disk and have your old PST files on it, you can open them within Outlook and you will be able to see all your old mail/contacts. (Obviously this depends on you being able to get the PST files off the disk.)

    For other software: it sounds like the best you can hope for is that you can get the installation files (for any software you downloaded, as opposed to installed from CD) off the disk.

    But again, only do that when you’ve got the Vostro disk into its own enclosure – NOT by running the Vostro with the old disk in it.

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