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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    After removing Windows from a Dell laptop -- any way back?

    The 32 GB hard drive on my new Dell Inspiron 14-3452 laptop is so small that Windows can't install updates. I've followed the instructions on the Dell support website, talked to Dell support, removed all the files I could, but even after dumping files to a USB stick Windows still says it needs another 3 or so GB of space on my hard drive. I don't seem to have anywhere else to turn.

    I'm thinking of scrapping Windows and installing Linux instead. That would be a no-return move, wouldn't it? Dell Support (I'm not sure of those guys, they are a little iffy in some of their answers) said the Windows 10 license/product key is embedded on the motherboard, and according to the Internet it's possible re-install Windows 10 by downloading an .iso file to a USB stick and installing Windows from there, so maybe there's a possibility of going back to Windows if I don't like Linux.

    Any comments?

    Warn your friends not to buy a Dell with one of those small hard drives. It's really a fatal flaw if Windows can't even install updates.
    Last edited by DavidToronto; 2016-04-16 at 13:25.

  2. #2
    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Windows 10 will have activated itself and stored a machine-specific fingerprint or signature on MS' servers relating solely to your laptop. From now on you can re-install Windows 10 and it will check this signature then activate automatically.

    You can use Microsoft's Media Creation Tool to perform a clean install, avoiding any Dell bloatware. Use something like Macrium Reflect or AOMEI Backupper to create/save a system images first before making any changes. There are free versions of both available to download. Also, make notes about the devices in Device Manager in case you have to download one or more Dell-specific hardware drivers.

    Do a Google search for reduce the size of Win 10's footprint and use articles like the following:

    Windows 10: Reducing the disk footprint

    How to reduce the Windows 10 footprint on your computer

    Reduce the size of your Windows 10 installation using compact.exe

    You can also help the tiny 32 GB SSD by installing something like a 64 GB SD card and change Win 10 to install apps to this.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-04-16 at 15:18.

  3. #3
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    Check out the reply from jareza on this Dell site - near the bottom.

    cheers, Paul

  4. #4
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    I find it very interesting that Windows 10 won't install updates on a 32 GB hard drive. I have installed Windows 10 in Hyper-V allocating only 30 GB, and never had an issue. If you did an upgrade, did you remove the Windows.old folder, and the $Windows.~BT folder? If you didn't this could be your problem as they take up a substantial amount of space. You would want to run Disk Cleanup as an administrator, and check all the boxes to remove those folders. If all of the Windows.old folder is not removed, just take ownership, restart, and delete as normal.

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    With the prices of platter-clatter hard-drives being very reasonable, why not purchase a larger hard-drive? And, just before changing hard-drives, use something like Macrium Reflect to do a full OS image, change the hard-drives, restore the full OS image onto the replacement hard-drive?
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (sevenforums)
    Clone or Image often! Backup, backup, backup, backup... -- RockE (Windows Secrets Lounge)

  6. #6
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    The link Paul gave (post #3) implies that it may not be possible to use a conventional hard disk drive in this case.
    Last edited by RockE; 2016-04-17 at 21:09. Reason: typo or stupidity

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