Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Changing hard drive on Dell Vostro 3450

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
Share
April 12, 2011 1:04:14 AM

Hello,

I just got a new Vostro 3450, and while I'm liking the notebook, I want to replace the hard drive. I cannot seem to find a Dell service manual for the 3450, and the 3400 is not the same construction. When I remove the bottom panel, I can see the drive, but it is covered by the lower part of the chassis. Anyone do this yet?
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
April 12, 2011 3:23:00 PM

Hey

i want to do the same thing, i'm looking for this information too. If you find anything, please repost it :)  ill do the same
April 12, 2011 11:36:32 PM

I sent a tech support request to Dell on this, but I have yet to hear from them.
Related resources
April 13, 2011 1:19:15 PM

I've experienced the same issue, I was able to add another stick of RAM without issue, but they sure have secured that hard drive in there well. Quick (unrelated) question though, did any of you guys notice like a filmy haze on the screen when you first opened the notebook? It seemed to come off with screen cleaner for the most part, but it sure was concerning to see when I first opened. It's easiest to see on dark backgrounds. Please let us know what you hear from Dell on the HD issue though, I have a shiny new SSD that's just waiting to be put to work!
April 15, 2011 3:55:36 AM

So, I finally figured it out. I have to warn you that first, I don't have any pics or vids of the process. And second, this has to be the most difficult hard drive swap you will ever perform. Rule of thumb, if you see a screw, you will need to remove it.

1. Take out the battery
2. Remove the bottom panel
3. Remove the screws under the bottom panel
4. Slide out the DVD drive where there are another 2 screws
5. Carefully remove the keyboard
6. Remove the thin ribbon cables for the keyboard, trackpad, etc
7. Remove the screws under the keyboard
8. Gently pry apart the top and bottom
9. Remove the heat sink fan
10. Remove the monitor cable
11. Remove any screws holding the larger motherboard
12. Remove the larger motherboard
13. Replace the hard drive

Now take a breather, and reverse the steps to put it back together. :pt1cable: 

All in all, it took over an hour to swap the drive. I'm happy with the laptop in general, but this is insane. If this is really supposed to be a business laptop, they should have made it easier to remove the drive.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
April 15, 2011 3:11:17 PM

ziffbam said:

....


I stop on point 5. How you remove keyboard? Only keyboard or all black part from top with keyboard?
On point 2 you only remove black bottom part(silver parts from left and right stay)?
April 16, 2011 12:50:19 AM

Quote:
I stop on point 5. How you remove keyboard? Only keyboard or all black part from top with keyboard?
On point 2 you only remove black bottom part(silver parts from left and right stay)?



To remove the keyboard, I used an old credit card to pry around the edges. Make sure you get fully underneath the keyboard. There is a layer of plastic on top that you don't want to pry off.

The silver edges are part of the bottom. They don't separate at all
April 16, 2011 2:00:18 PM

...and on that note, the SSD I bought is going back to Amazon. I'm pretty happy, stock drive doesn't seem too noisy. Graphics card (ATI) isn't as powerful as I would have liked, and it's hard to tell when it's integrated vs. discrete graphics. (I guess that's good?) But, I don't know... I would like some kind of indication when I'm using the discrete graphics (a little LED of a lightning bolt or something on the keyboard maybe??) :) 

Thanks for the instructions though Ziff, I printed them just in case I want to attempt this in the future!
April 17, 2011 1:59:57 PM

I know this somewhat unrelated but does anyone know if the vostro 3450 uses the same batteries as the 3400? I would like to get a 9cell at a good price. Thanks.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
April 17, 2011 5:35:44 PM

ziffbam said:
To remove the keyboard, I used an old credit card to pry around the edges. Make sure you get fully underneath the keyboard. There is a layer of plastic on top that you don't want to pry off.

The silver edges are part of the bottom. They don't separate at all


Thx for replay. I already change my hdd, and You have absolutely right! That was the most difficult hdd swap in laptop :) 
April 17, 2011 6:09:26 PM

hey

a have only one question: what about warranty?
i called to information center in poland (where i bought my vostro 3450) and technical director said (according to schemes in his projects book) that its forbidden to remowe hdd by myself. if i do this i will lose my next business day warranty. the strangest think is that in vostro 3350, 3550 and 3750 there is no such a warning.
information confirmed few times.

king regards / konrad
April 17, 2011 8:40:42 PM

In step "8. Gently pry apart the top and bottom", I'm having trouble getting the top and the bottom frames to come off of each other. When I try to take them apart, it feels as if the middle of the lower area (below the touchpad) and the left side are still screwed on.

Can someone please take a look at these pictures and see if I've missed any screws? I've put in green arrows for the screws that have been removed.

View from the top:
http://img820.imageshack.us/i/img3075.png/

View from the bottom:
http://img52.imageshack.us/i/img3068.png/

Thank you.

April 19, 2011 6:29:34 AM

While you were in the did you figure out how to replace the wireless card? How many antennas are in there? I opened up the back and keyboard and didn't see any obvious access to the wireless card.
April 19, 2011 3:35:43 PM

I called Dell support on this and was told a) replacing the hard drive would invalidate the warranty and b) there is no documentation available (e.g. service guide) that outlines the steps even if I'm willing to assume that risk. I went as far as to write a letter to Dell HQ and was contacted by someone on the Executive Customer Support Team who was of no help. The absurdity of requiring this level of disassembly to replace a hard drive is just beyond belief. The web is replete with people trashing Dell; add me to the list. Never again.

ziffbam - I appreciate the information you provided. I'm going to give it a go; it's a matter of principle now :-)
April 29, 2011 3:39:37 AM

did your 3450 have protective plastic on the hinges?

mine does and the are not possible to completely remove!

the plastic is wrapped around the hinges which go into the laptop and when i try to remove it, it rips off the accessible section but remains on the underside of the hinges.
im worried that if i just leave it there, the one that is right by the cpu heatsink will eventually start to melt once the unit gets hot enough.

i dont think that the plastic is supposed to be there on the hinges... it was probably supposed to be removed by the assembly person before being put on.

i should not have to dismantle a brand new laptop just to remove some protective plastic but it seems that is exactly what i need to do.

i cannot find a proper manual for this unit as the only thing available on the site is some quick guide which only outlines the laptops features.

does anyone know the process of how i can access the hinges from the bottom?
April 29, 2011 5:59:57 AM

octeuron said:
did your 3450 have protective plastic on the hinges?

mine does and the are not possible to completely remove!

the plastic is wrapped around the hinges which go into the laptop and when i try to remove it, it rips off the accessible section but remains on the underside of the hinges.
im worried that if i just leave it there, the one that is right by the cpu heatsink will eventually start to melt once the unit gets hot enough.

i dont think that the plastic is supposed to be there on the hinges... it was probably supposed to be removed by the assembly person before being put on.

i should not have to dismantle a brand new laptop just to remove some protective plastic but it seems that is exactly what i need to do.

i cannot find a proper manual for this unit as the only thing available on the site is some quick guide which only outlines the laptops features.

does anyone know the process of how i can access the hinges from the bottom?


I don't know if I can be of any help, but do you have any pictures of the hinges?
April 29, 2011 11:39:48 PM

octeuron said:
did your 3450 have protective plastic on the hinges?

mine does and the are not possible to completely remove!

the plastic is wrapped around the hinges which go into the laptop and when i try to remove it, it rips off the accessible section but remains on the underside of the hinges.
im worried that if i just leave it there, the one that is right by the cpu heatsink will eventually start to melt once the unit gets hot enough.

i dont think that the plastic is supposed to be there on the hinges... it was probably supposed to be removed by the assembly person before being put on.

i should not have to dismantle a brand new laptop just to remove some protective plastic but it seems that is exactly what i need to do.

i cannot find a proper manual for this unit as the only thing available on the site is some quick guide which only outlines the laptops features.

does anyone know the process of how i can access the hinges from the bottom?


I did replace the hard drive with an SSD. It was not necessary to remove the hinges as the top of the base separates from the bottom and sort of slides out from underneath the screen assembly. This is unlike every other laptop I've disassembled where it was necessary to remove the screen assembly from the base.
April 30, 2011 4:49:04 AM

Does anyone know if the 3350 poses the same hdd upgrade problem at all?
April 30, 2011 4:10:01 PM

fogchaser said:
I did replace the hard drive with an SSD. It was not necessary to remove the hinges as the top of the base separates from the bottom and sort of slides out from underneath the screen assembly. This is unlike every other laptop I've disassembled where it was necessary to remove the screen assembly from the base.


do you remember if during your disassembly, you were able to see the underside of the hinges?
i dont need to remove them...i only need access to the underside so that i can remove the plastic
April 30, 2011 8:27:24 PM

octeuron said:
do you remember if during your disassembly, you were able to see the underside of the hinges?
i dont need to remove them...i only need access to the underside so that i can remove the plastic


No, I never even looked at the hinges. This plastic you're referring to - is it something you could see when the laptop was fully assembled but doesn't appear to belong there??
May 2, 2011 1:02:00 AM

its protective plastic.
assembly guy should have removed it before puting on hinges.

anyways, i finally removed it by removing the the thin plastic cover by the hinges as well as a lot of time and frustration with pair of twezers
May 6, 2011 8:53:14 AM

Could someone give us fotos step by step of the hard disk replacement ?

Thank you.

(Sorry if my english is not good, I'm French)
May 9, 2011 4:10:04 PM

Apparently the service manual for the 3550 doesn't exists, no picture of the plastic bottom lid exists, no picture of the internal seen from the bottom side exists and nobody has tried to replace a harddrive on a 3550.

I've searched the net, dell foras, and asked dell support here in denmark. Nobody is capable of explaining how to change a harddrive on a 3550, or provide with manuals or pictures from the open 3550. This is indeed very strange.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
May 27, 2011 6:33:13 PM

ziffbam said:
To remove the keyboard, I used an old credit card to pry around the edges. Make sure you get fully underneath the keyboard. There is a layer of plastic on top that you don't want to pry off.

The silver edges are part of the bottom. They don't separate at all



But how with the keyboard? Pull or press? :( 
June 5, 2011 1:03:24 PM

ziffbam said:
So, I finally figured it out. I have to warn you that first, I don't have any pics or vids of the process. And second, this has to be the most difficult hard drive swap you will ever perform. Rule of thumb, if you see a screw, you will need to remove it.

1. Take out the battery
2. Remove the bottom panel
3. Remove the screws under the bottom panel
4. Slide out the DVD drive where there are another 2 screws
5. Carefully remove the keyboard
6. Remove the thin ribbon cables for the keyboard, trackpad, etc
7. Remove the screws under the keyboard
8. Gently pry apart the top and bottom
9. Remove the heat sink fan
10. Remove the monitor cable
11. Remove any screws holding the larger motherboard
12. Remove the larger motherboard
13. Replace the hard drive

Now take a breather, and reverse the steps to put it back together. :pt1cable: 

All in all, it took over an hour to swap the drive. I'm happy with the laptop in general, but this is insane. If this is really supposed to be a business laptop, they should have made it easier to remove the drive.

June 5, 2011 1:04:35 PM

Hello, On Step 5 I did Carefully Remove The Keyboard, but still had problems. I got that far using two plastic credit cards in case seams and verified all screws are out, but there seems to be something hanging onto the middle of the keyboard near the space bar. The keyboard near the center, near the space bar, is too tight, still seems connected somehow - yet there are no screws near there, within an inch or more - nothing. I also pressed down on the License Keys paper tag, etc. for any paper covered hidden hole(s) and found nothing. Any suggestions ?? More force might break the KB
June 7, 2011 5:17:45 PM

ziffbam said:
So, I finally figured it out. I have to warn you that first, I don't have any pics or vids of the process. And second, this has to be the most difficult hard drive swap you will ever perform. Rule of thumb, if you see a screw, you will need to remove it.

1. Take out the battery
2. Remove the bottom panel
3. Remove the screws under the bottom panel
4. Slide out the DVD drive where there are another 2 screws
5. Carefully remove the keyboard
6. Remove the thin ribbon cables for the keyboard, trackpad, etc
7. Remove the screws under the keyboard
8. Gently pry apart the top and bottom
9. Remove the heat sink fan
10. Remove the monitor cable
11. Remove any screws holding the larger motherboard
12. Remove the larger motherboard
13. Replace the hard drive

Now take a breather, and reverse the steps to put it back together. :pt1cable: 

All in all, it took over an hour to swap the drive. I'm happy with the laptop in general, but this is insane. If this is really supposed to be a business laptop, they should have made it easier to remove the drive.


I reached a stopping point at Step 5. Can anyone help me ? There is still something just in the middle of the KB holding the keyboard and shell near the space bar, but there are no screws nearby anywhere, nothing even under the MS license key, ertc. I used enough force that it could not just be glued. Does anyone know more detail on Step 5 above, "Carefully remove the keyboard" ?? I tried two credit cards of varying thickness and strength, but it all seems like too much force is involved which could cause a snap or break.
June 12, 2011 3:08:12 AM

I figured out Step 5 eventually. The Keyboard referred to in Step 5 is in the upper half of the laptop, adjacent to the LCD screen and above the touch-pad. The mistake I was making was trying underneath the touch-pad, instead of the upper half where the chrome 1/8 inch plastic trim surrounds the KB. Taking a credit card to that area pops the KB out just as described in Step 5. Step 10 is optional if you do not pull on the monitor cable. Step 10 is required if you are not good at working in tighter spaces.
Step 12 for me was a two step process, where there is a smaller daughter card attached to the larger, main motherboard with CPU etc. After the daughter-card sockets are pulled apart, there are 2 of them about a 1/4 inch apart, the motherboard easily comes out when all screws removed. The daughter-card has about 2 or more hard to get to screws, one behind the LCD hinge, so I found it better to separate the daughter card.
August 30, 2011 10:49:41 PM

Thank you for the updated Dell URL for Vostro 3450 hardware manual. Yes it is time consuming to get at the Vostro 3450 HDD, but well worth it for faster HDD / SDD. I just hope the MTBF is long for whatever I put into my 2 Vostros 3450 since I do not want to go back inside. I chose the best SSD I could find for one and the best HDD 7200 RPM 500 GB spinni ng drive from WD that I could find. So I will have a horse race to see which ones is the most durable / long lasting. I looked at the Dell Vostro maintenance manual and the pictures are nice. The non-Dell steps above do work as I have done this twice. The daughter-card separation from the Motherboard is easy and simple and saves removal of other things, as well as flipping the Mother-board over without removing the display cable ( to get to the bottom disk hold-down screws ) saves any display cable wear & tear. :hello: 
!