Thursday, August 13, 2015

How I installed Windows 10 on an old Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop

Windows 10 Pro retail release on a 9 year old laptop? yes. It can be done. But it wasn't easy.

Where I started from:
The Inspiron 1520 has 4GB ram, a 2Ghz Core2 Duo, a SanDisk Ultra II SSD and it had 32 bit Windows 7 which was an upgrade from the original Vista 32.  I cloned the SSD to another hard drive before getting started. I used a Windows 10 32 bit ISO burned to a DVD. For tries 1 and 2, I used WiFi to access the internet.

1st try - everything seemed to go well, I let it download updates to the install. But then it got to the first reboot. It hung on the light blue window logo with the spinning dots. After half an hour I manually rebooted it and it gave this message "0xC1900101 - 0x20017 The installation failed in the SAFE_OS phase with an error during BOOT operation". Windows 7 was back, so I tried again.

2nd try - similar to the first (I allowed updates). The reboot phase was different this time - no logo with spinning dots. There was a cursor. Window 7 did come back to life.

So I did some fruitless research and found that the error message might be related to a driver. So I did things differently on the third and final try.

3rd try - this time I flipped the switch that turned off WiFi, plugged in an Ethernet cable (for Windows activation) and Bluetooth and I told the installer not update before installing. It worked. After the first reboot I got the large circle showing upgrade progress. Then finally I got to "Hi there, welcome back!" and finished the upgrade. But I wasn't done - read on.

Windows 10 was showing the desktop in 1024x768 mode instead of the native 1440x900. Display settings would not allow me to go that high, so I unplugged the Ethernet cable and switched on WiFi. Then I downloaded the updates. After rebooting the NVidia driver was active and gave me the option to go to 1440x900.

Next, I started going through apps to check compatibility. NetScanTools Pro, the Managed Switch Port Mapping Tool and related products worked normally as did iTunes and Office 2007. But SanDisk SSD Dashboard 1.4.1 hung on startup and consumed 98% of CPU time no matter what I did. Obviously SanDisk has some work to do.

Later I went into the Startup tab of Task Manager to disable old unused drivers - that speeded up boot time and stopped a crash message on power down.

It wasn't easy, but I now have Windows 10 Pro 32 bit running. I would really like to get x64 running on it instead. Another time.

Here are screenshots of the System window and below it is the CPU-Z.



Anonymous said...

Hi, I tried to install Windows 10 in my Dell Inspiron 1520, but after checking my PC at the start of installation it says "You can't install Windows 10 because your processor doesn't support NX."

The processor in my laptop is an Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.00 GHz
My RAM is 3 GB.
32 bit Windows 7 Pro.

Kirk Thomas said...

I posted a screenshot of the Windows System and CPU-Z today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the screen shots of your system.

I appear to have the same CPU as you, but as mentioned above I still get the error message about my "processor doesn't support NX" (even though I have enabled the XD setting option in the BIOS).

Maybe I have a dud CPU!

Kirk Thomas said...

Your CPU is probably fine. There may be a bios setting you need to change. I have BIOS ver A09.

I posted a sysinternals Coreinfo dump showing NX enabled - see above.

Here is a post about your problem:

Anonymous said...

I tried on my mine but kept getting a blue screen. I don't have the NVidia card - only Intel VGA. It's the problem. Tech support suggested I run in "compatibility" mode, but I'm not sure what that means for a video driver.

Kirk Thomas said...

I would think that the basic VGA mode would install easier than the NVidia. In fact, I had to update the NVidia after getting Win10 installed because the driver was very basic.

Anonymous said...

I just did a clean install of Windows 10 on my daughter's old 1520, and it went off without a hitch. It was running XP, so there was no upgrade option. I made sure the BIOS was at A09 and double-checked the NX option, but other than that it was all automatic.

Shawn said...

This is cool stuff. Thank you so much! Hopefully I don't brick my dads laptop on his b day. Was the switch worth it?

Shawn said...

Thank you so much! This article is cool! Hopefully I don't brick my dads laptop on his birthday!

Kirk Thomas said...

I was able to upgrade another identical Dell laptop - same age - from Windows 7 to Windows 10. I used the April 2016 installer from MSDN, 32 bit. Then a couple weeks later I installed the Win 10 Anniversary update on both old Dell computers. No problems at all. Of course I backed each up using Acronis first. I always recommend that.

Varun Iyer said...

Wonderful, I want to upgrade my friend's laptop with Windows 10 which is running Windows Vista.

Anonymous said...

Hello all,
Just to chime in
I installed windows 10 pro on a Inspiron 1520 with 2GB RAM and dual core 1.46
I too had to run the ethernet cable to finish the upgrade
then on the reboot and finally desktop, I had to disable the onboard NIC to get the WIFI to turn on.
I think the Creator Update messed something up, so by disabling the ethernet, I can now use WIFI
This old 80GB is slow but overall its not bad. I bet a SSD drive would help some.
but for free, I cannot complain. This is just an extra one I had laying around, so this laptop gets no use.

Take care
Frankie B

Jeffery Niemuth said...

So in all of your 1520 upgrades to WIN 10 Pro was the Intel Express 965 graphics a NO GO or did it work (I too do not have the NVidia graphics)?

Kirk Thomas said...

Sorry, I have two 1520's both with nVidia, not Intel Express. I did manage to upgrade to the Fall Creators Update in December - I was unable to successfully do the previous Creators update due to the driver issue with Broadcom 440x. The older Creators update installed, but both the wired and wireless network ceased to function. I updated by turning off the Wifi switch and I used the Ethernet cable only during the update process. I did not use Settings/Updates, I used the updater tool from here:

Ricky Bennett said...

i have the inspiron 1520 with nvidia card. every time i try to install windows 10. it gets as far as the loading screen with the spinning dots. after the first reboot dose the device install then getting ready. then reboots and just hangs there on the spinning dot loading screen. what am i missing ? intel dual core 2 duo 4 gigs of ram.

Kirk Thomas said...

I've had the best luck upgrading to Windows 10 initially or each of the big creators updates by turning off the Wifi switch on the back left side - this turns off Wifi and Bluetooth. You will have to use an Ethernet cable.

Ricky Bennett said...

never mind i had turned the network cards off in the bios and it now go's to the desk top. but the intel wifi card is installed. and its not working. so you can deleat the other comment

Kirk Thomas said...

It does work - I have two 1520s on the latest Fall Creators update.

Ricky Bennett said...

i reinstalled it useing windows 10 32 bit. it installed with no problems this time did not even have to turn the network cards off in the bios. nor turn the switch off. the wifi card worked right away this time. will try again with windows 10 64 bit in morning some time. im just doing this for the fun of it anyways lol. so its really nothing big.

What runs better on it would you say. windows 10 32 bit or 64 bit ? also can we put more then 4 gigs of ram in the 1520? like mabey 8 gigs ? i know you need 64bit for that. would be nice though

not running too bad with 32 bit but like i said im not going real deep in to it and spend days updating it.

thanks much

Kirk Thomas said...

I forgot to mention that I have Windows 10 32 bit running on both machines. I have not tried putting 64 bit on it.