Dell Inspiron Laptop


I was given a dell inspiron N7010 laptop. I know very little about computers but was told all it needs is a harddrive, and it should be about 50.00 for a cheap one. I only use my computer for mail, searching stuff, Stacking of course, and my wife plays stupid games, (solitare etc). There is no drive in it now so I cant even tell if it works, it turns on, but says something like system not detected. My son has an external drive i was wondering if it can be used to try and run computer to see if it works. I also have 2 other dell laptops. Could i use the drive from 1 of them (if it fits) to see if it will work with a known working drive? If so could it be damaged if there is something wrong with the other laptop? any help would be appreciated, thanks Ed

Craig A

Staff member
I can't imagine you would damage a hdd from another laptop assuming it's compatible.
I don't know if your "dead" laptop would read an external drive without an internal drive....... :confused: .......even if the bios is set to boot from another drive but it's certainly worth a shot to see if this laptop is in otherwise working order.
Failed laptop hdds are not uncommon.
At a glance your best bet, should you find out if the laptop is good, is a new drive there >>>

Do you know how to access the bios?
Tapping the F2 key at startup should take you to the bios.
If you can get to the bios chances are it's decent it would work.

The next difficulty would be installing Windows again.
If you have a product key you can use any Windows CD to install the OS but the problem is you will have to manually find all the laptop hardware drivers from the Dell website which will ask for a Service Code number so you get the right drivers.

Elden DuRand

In Memory Of

I agree with Craig. He's a lot more of an expert than I am.

If you can get a hard drive into it and if the machine has a CDROM drive, you could invest in Windows 7 (NOT Windows 8) and simply do a full install.

For normal use, the Windows installation should load whatever drivers you need.

Then, the only remaining problem would be getting on the internet.


Craig, on your first line, do you mean it will damage it possibly, or it wont? Kinda reading it both ways:bonk: Like i said not a computer wiz. Tapping the F2 did bring me to the bios screen. Last night i asked my son about the external drive and he said the same thing, it will do nothing, there is no operating system on it. So far it looks good, intel 5 core, windows 7, srs premium sound, but like you said thats all on the drive. Somebody said there is a site to get all the recovery discs, will need to look around. Guess i need to find a compatible drive and try.


Staff member
The person who gave you the laptop kept the keys to the safe, that being the CDs or DVDs that came with the unit when is was first purchased. They very well may still have them so it might be worth a try to ask them. Driver disk and operating system recovery disks are your basic needs. Other software would be a bonus.


Active member
That is a good machine, with a processor that is considered current and is sold in new machines.
It probably had Win 7.
Dell drivers are a PITA to manually install
I would go to the Dell website and order a set of recovery discs.
When my daughter's failed, they shipped them for free.

Craig A

Staff member
Craig, on your first line, do you mean it will damage it possibly, or it wont?
It'll either read or it won't.
I had an external hard drive I thought had failed.
I thought I had lost a ton of stuff....... :(
I removed the drive and plugged into a working machine and it read it.
It wasn't the hdd that was the enclosure....... :headbang:
On another computer on which the motherboard :barf:d I pulled that drive, plugged it into another computer and it booted to that drive.
None of the peripheral hardware worked but it booted into Windows.
I found the hardware drivers and that computer still works....... :D


I asked them for the discs and hdd. They said the drive was trashed and the laptop didnt come w/discs. Now you need to make your own, or buy them. Cutting costs anyway they can. I have an hp drive but it wont plug into that machine. Im going to check my sons dell, it should fit. Its running windows 7, thats the one reason i wanted to get it going. Plus it got intel 5 and premium sound, plus every port you could imagine.

Dwight S

You might consider putting Ubuntu, a lunux operating system, on it instead of win 7. And its free and comes with a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software. I put it on my XP machine instead of win 7.


I got the hdd from my sons computer. Stupid me there is just an adapter on it for the hp. I took it off and it plugs right into the insperon. It still goes into the repair mode and asks to do the repair which i did. After that it says problem cant be fixed and something like cant find drive or operating system. (its been about a week so cant remember exactly what it said) anybody have an idea or do you think its junk? Took out memory and 1 at a time, same thing, also took battery out and held button to drain any stray power, also plunged it in and just used the power cord w/no battery. any help would be appreciated.


Active member
I got the hdd from my sons computer. . any help would be appreciated.
Re- read my post 6.

Newer Dells are NOT shipped with discs. You are supposed to make your own when you get machine properly configured with appropriate software installed for whatever your needs are.

Dell will ship you a set specifically for your machine for free, or if long out of warranty, for a nominal charge. The recovery discs will put the machine in as shipped condition.

Dell provided some out of warranty support for free. First you have to work your way thru the Indian support group, which I found knew far less than I do, and provided information that would make problem worse. When I got to the USA team, I found them knowledgeable and helpful.

Luckily, the HP disc did not work. When you change disc to another machine, first thing it does is to reconfigure OS to specifics of that machine, leaving a lot of useless junk for processor to sort thru. It will work, just slower. People do that when they intend to leave it in new machine. If you put it back in original, it tries to reconfigure again, and leaves lots of junk on HD for processor to sort thru. This will drastically slow the machine down.

Over the years, I repaired those mistakes.

If you are sure the MB is ok, buy the right HD and load OS from Dell discs.

worst comes to worst, offer it to me for a great price. ;-))


Power- I just figured if its not recognizing os the discs would do nothing. Update, today i took my new dell insperon hdd, put it in the n7010 everything tested fine. cpu tests all passed, pre boot system assessment (55) min. all passed. only thing it did say was to check charger it needs to be 90w not 65w, did that. I guess ill call dell and try to get discs, i do have 2 machines under warranty, and 1 that is out, so they can see i am a good customer. The only other thing that puzzles me is the 2 loud beeps on start up, i believe they are a error code but forget which one. Thanks again for the help.

---------- Post added at 06:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:58 PM ----------

P.S. the only difference in the hdd was is the one i tried is running vista and this machine runs 7, would that be the problem its not booting?

Craig A

Staff member
Oh oh.......2 beeps is not good.......but you have to copy the error code and google the error code at another computer.
If you are really REALLY lucky you might try reseating the ram modules although that's not typically a 2 beep code.......but I have seen it once in a tower.
You might try this first: Shut the laptop down, remove the battery and hold the power switch for 30 seconds to reset the BIOS.
At this stage of the game it's worth a shot.


Craig-did that, even took out the internal battery, still the same thing. Think ill try calling dell like power said. Just wanted to try all ideas first. I know the 2 beep code aint good, but that usually comes with the dreaded black or blue screen. This starts w/the dell logo etc. then will boot to bios so i am figuring all else is good. Did start it after reinstalling the memory cards, same thing. Even tried taking one out then the other, still the same thing whatever i do.


New member
A laptop is nothing more than a small portable desktop computer. You can't put a drive from another know good working OS system into another computer without having some errors or just not working at all. The OS could be the same but the drivers for the "dead" one won't be and that'll cause a problem with your new and old system.

Best thing is to get a new HD and install your OS (whatever that'll be) and let it find drivers. You can go to Dells website and d/l drivers for your particular laptop and install them after the OS has been installed.

If the laptop came with WinXP, 7 etc. it will have the license number on the bottom of the case or inside when you install the HD. That's what you should install and number to use when activating the OS. If you don't have the number just buy the OS you want and install. If you have the number, you can use the OS disk you have (even from another system) and use the laptop number when asked. I've done this many times and changed drives as well. It's not rocket science. :)

Once done, get the appropriate drivers from the Dell site and start fresh.

Good luck.


I work for the local school system. The computer guy does some stuff on the side. He (I) can also buy any program through them for peanuts. Im going to try and get him to look at it, (if he has the time) if not will try and do it myself. Only thing left i need to do is confirm the mother board is good. Once that is confirmed i will get the drive and do the install.


Active member
2 beeps-on many systems is missing/bad component.
Expected - you don't have correct HD installed.

You can go to Dell site, type in your model, serial and get specific beep codes for that MB.