I am upgrading the hard drive on my Dell Precision M4400 laptop.

The current drive is a Seagate Momentus 7200 80GB. The new drive is a Hitachi 5K500 250GB.
--> Both are SATA.

I have an external USB cradle, and used DriveImage XML to clone the old to the new. When the new drive is in the cradle, the files can be seen just fine. When I change the boot sequence and boot from the external USB cradle, the drive boots just fine.

But when I put the new drive into the laptop drive bay, the system complains that there "are no bootable devices".

I change the SATA settings in the bios (ATA, AHCI, IRRC) to no avail.

I am pretty certain I am missing something silly, but I can't find it.

  • It sounds like the partition on the new drive may not be marked as bootable. It may be that booting from USB ignores that flag... I dunno. It should be easy to check, though.
    – Flimzy
    Jul 3, 2011 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


On my Dell inspiron 1525, if I have USB boot enabled #1 in bios and have a USB device attached that lacks a bootable image, bios will return the error you described rather than moving to the next boot device in the queue. If I reboot after removing the USB drive it will then find and load from the local HHD.

  • Interesting, but not the issue. I can get the drive to boot when it is on a USB cradle, but not when in the laptop!
    – tomjedrz
    Jul 4, 2011 at 15:53

Enter the bios, once in , hold the alt key down and tap B, this will load bios defaults and force a hardware check on the next post, save changes on exit of bios. Some Dell bios's do not automatically detect a new hard drive.

If alt +B does not work, there will be a "load defaults" in the bios somewhere.

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