Dell Thinks That Second Hard Drive Bay Is Just A Big Hole

Spencer’s Dell laptop has two hard drive bays. That’s pretty cool, and he decided to take advantage of this by using it to install a hard drive. But no one at Dell has ever heard of such a crazy thing, and you can’t order any of the parts needed to actually hold or connect the drive from Dell’s site. Because that would be simple and easy.

If you’re not technically inclined, scroll to the bottom of this entry to see the handy summary chart that Spencer made.

My laptop (a Studio 1749) came with two hard drive bays. I figured I could actually use both hard drive bays and bought a second drive. Turns out, the empty bay doesn’t come with a caddy, connector, or screws. No big deal, I’ll just order those parts from Dell, I thought.

Unfortunately, Dell doesn’t seem to understand the concept of a “second hard drive”. Their Web site doesn’t let you order caddys or connectors at all, just the hard drives. When I called customer support and explained what I needed, the customer representative put me on hold for about 10 minutes to figure out what I was talking about. I don’t fault him for not knowing what a caddy is. What comes next is what I’m writing about.

The representative found a caddy, but couldn’t figure out what the connector was. I explained that it is a small plastic part with a few contacts on it. He put me on hold for another 20 minutes, then added a connector to the order.

After accomplishing this feat, the representative decided to try and sell me a printer. He took almost the same amount of time to do this as he had to figure out what I wanted to buy. I already have a printer that works perfectly fine, but he insisted that it was overpriced and I should buy a new one, claiming I was getting a great deal – for only $80! Eventually, he gave up – then decided to sell me an antivirus subscription instead. This alone is absolutely horrible customer service that no company should employ.

When I actually got an e-mail showing my order, I discovered absolutely nothing the representative ordered for me was correct. The caddy (item 1F40K), it turns out, was for the FIRST hard drive bay, whereas I needed a caddy for the SECOND bay. I stressed this when ordering, and the representative said that the caddy was indeed for the second bay. Furthermore, even if I did need the first caddy, I couldn’t use it because the caddy doesn’t come with screws to attach it to the computer. The “connector” the representative sold me (item A1260986) turned out to be a full cable, which is absolutely useless for a laptop computer. Note that the representative had my service tag, yet still thought that the cable in question was what I needed, despite being for a desktop.

To top this off, I’m not the only person who’s had this problem before. This forum thread features other customers who have had a problem finding this caddy, which is apparently an “obsolete part”. Dear Dell: if you don’t stock a part anymore, please just say so; don’t put me on hold for 30 minutes, sell me crap I have no use for, and try to sell me other crap I have no use for.

By the way, remember that printer?

$60 online.

Thanks Dell.

Here’s that chart:

dell.jpg

Comments

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  1. scoutermac says:

    and your surprised? It is Dell. Use the service tag to find out the correct part number and order it elsewhere. ebay, amazon, etc. Do not call Dell hey are worthless on the phone or via email.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      My ASUS laptop also has 2 drive bays, and came with all the needed hardware to install the 2nd drive.

      • lee says:

        seen an number of 2 bayed laptops i think only 1 or 2 of them had the second bay caddy missing (norm come with the laptop) guess it was an Dell laptop that did not have it

    • asten77 says:

      Service tag means nothing!

      I had a laptop LCD get busted last year. I called Dell to order a new screen.. They looked up my service tag, and told me they didn’t have any of the LCDs. However, I could order the higher-res, LED backlit version instead. Assured me it was compatible. Hey, sweet, nice upgrade! Paid for it, waited, got new screen. Completely, 100% incompatible with what I had.

      I called again, and they apologized profusely and sent me a UPS label to send it back for a full refund, including shipping. Still, claimed to have none of the original. So, deciding to look on ebay and other places, I got the actual part number off of the original invoice. Dell tells me they have that part in stock and promptly order it.

      The question is, what the heck did they think i was ordering in the first place?

  2. cheviot says:
    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      Damn you cheviot, you beat me to the punch. I shall have my revenge.

    • ClemsonEE says:

      Yea, that’s what I did for my wife’s laptop. Didn’t even think to go to Dell’s website because I figured they were overpriced, didn’t realize they were inept as well.

  3. deathbecomesme says:

    The screws and cable are an easy find online. You might be able to go without the aluminum bracket.

    • jefeloco says:

      OP will definitely need the adapter though. It should be able to get one online from any number of links people have posted since your post. It’s funny to me as well because part of my job is preparing used equipment for donations, and I pull everything useful out of laptops that don’t come to me with power supplies.

      As such, I have a plethora of miscellaneous Dell laptop HDD connectors for SATA and PATA drives all over the place, including the one indicated in the OP’s diagram :) Too bad I can’t do anything other than donate them to local charities since I’m with local government :(

  4. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    I assume you just wanted to get it direct from Dell because you thought they would get it all right.

    Well anyway here are the parts:
    Bay Caddy and Sata kit

  5. human_shield says:

    These big companies have no interest in selling you what you want to buy. They want to tell you what you want, based on what they can sell for cheap with the best markup. If you need real service or something specific, you are wasting their time.

  6. human_shield says:

    These big companies have no interest in selling you what you want to buy. They want to tell you what you want, based on what they can sell for cheap with the best markup. If you need real service or something specific, you are wasting their time.

    • scoutermac says:

      Yes as a Dell Certified Technician and a former Dell Employee.. I would not even call Dell for parts.

  7. bender123 says:

    It is an Alienware connector. Just order a replacement HD caddy for an Alienware M17x R3. The connector is the same too. It is not outdated, just a part that is used primarily on a different Dell product. I have both an Alienware and Studio and the drives are swap-able.

  8. ancientone567 says:

    The mistake you made is not building your own computer. Order your own parts from newegg.com and build the computer yourself. Get some help if you need it from a computer guy. You will have a superior computer for much cheaper.

    • comedian says:

      Build your own laptop?

      Really?

      • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

        Duh, it’s totally better and less expensive to create a mold, fabricate the shell, find a supplier of laptop components like motherboards, screens, keyboards and trackpads, probably all from China. Then you just gotta do all the custom soldering and assemble the parts and spend a year testing the design.

        What’s so hard about that?

    • deejmer says:

      If you are talking about a desktop, and it is 5 years ago, you are correct.

      • Cat says:

        I know… it’s cheaper to buy a desktop nowadays. Biggest expense is a copy of Win 7 if that is your choice of OS.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          The problem with buying a brand name machine is that you never really know what you’re going to get. It might be serviceable or it might not be. In the end you might get something that’s no more upgradeable than a Mac but takes up remarkably more space.

          OTOH, there are plenty of companies out there that will build a machine for you to any specs you want. You don’t even have to choose the parts ahead of time. Just check out the options on what they offer.

          It takes the same amount of effort to know what you’re buying as it does to be able to spec out the parts from a custom builder.

        • Not Given says:

          It may be cheaper to just buy a desk top but you’re just getting what they put in it instead of exactly what you want. My mom’s new desktop was pretty cheap but it has no way to add anything.

    • ancientone567 says:

      Ok build a custom laptop here: http://www.ibuypower.com/lobby.aspx Not exactly the same but it is much better than Dell or Gateway and you will get a lot more for the money.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        That website is atrocious. Although the basic idea is sound.

        • ancientone567 says:

          I found it very useful when I built my rig. I picked all the pieces I wanted and the site told me if they all fit well and then I ordered all the parts from newegg and then had a computer shop owner help me for 200- usd put it together.

    • Dave B. says:

      I suspect you fall under the “If you’re not technically inclined” category.

  9. Preyfar says:

    When I ordered my Alienware M17X R1 I had the same thing happen to me. It had two hard drive slots, and I planned to add a second hard drive from the get-go. Received the laptop, opened it up… no caddy.

    I called Dell, who quickly informed that that ONLY provide caddies if you order the second drive from them. Honestly, I found that preposterous. Why couldn’t I upgrade my own laptop?

    Thankfully, the Dell Alienware rep understood what I was asking for, and placed the order for the caddy (and all parts) for free. He did state they normally /didn’t/ do this, but I made my case, and I guess they agreed with it.

    Needless to say, I was miffed. It took a few tries and multiple calls to Dell to get what I needed, as a month into release the laptop still didn’t have official part numbers.

  10. Cat says:

    Dell desktops are a proprietary nightmare and I only own one because it was a freebie. I’m stuck with using them at work, though. Grrrr…

    I can only imagine how bad a Dell laptop would be.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Quite proprietary… But their desktops? I have serviced a bunch of them. I have a precision T1500 under my desk right now and it seems pretty industry standard to me. And the consumer lines trend even more standard than the large company (Optiplex and Precision).

    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      My Dad’s new laptop from them is pretty damn nice, besides some of the shovelware I had to remove.

      Now if I could just keep him from uninstalling the anti-virus *facepalm*

  11. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I have these parts in a box from an old laptop in that same line around here somewhere. I’m certain I didn’t get them from Dell.

    What I love about Dell laptops is the availability of parts from 3rd party suppliers. I have almost always found it cheaper to fix out of warranty Dell laptops than any other brand. It might help that I live and work near their HQ and drive by it every day.

  12. BobOki says:

    Dank you foir corring Dell Tech supports. My name is Elvis, and I will be very much happy to helps you today. What is yor survice tag number please? I am sorry, without de survice tag we will not be able to be helping you. Dank you for corring *click*

    A few years back I spent an hour on the phone with a guy who said his name was Elvis, no I am not kidding, trying to GET my service tag number, it had been rubbed off the machine. I had my serial number, account name, but this guy just could not get it. “Yes, I have my serial, but my service tag got ripped off somehow, I need to get the service tag for this machine.” “I can very much help you ith this if you woul just give me your service tag number”.

    Yeah… when Dell finally closes it’s doors, the only way I will notice is by the lessening of calls for help from friends and family I will get when they move on to a real pc.

  13. webweazel says:

    A whole bunch of Dell haters will probably come out of the woodwork at this point, but I just want to say that I only buy Dells, and most of my family buys them as well. I’m on my 4th, 6 years old at this point. We received from a family member, after an upgrade, an old Inspiron 1100 laptop (from 2004) that has a dying hard drive but otherwise works just fine. There’s another desktop sitting behind me that a relative gave to me when they upgraded to a newer model. Still works great, it’s about 7 years old. I am replacing the totally smashed into itty bitty pieces screen on a new Dell laptop (the upgrade from the 1100) that my relative hit with the tire of his truck while moving it in a driveway. Tested it with an external monitor, and all is fine.

    Some of the problem stems from the fact that Dells are made mostly for the more “techie” people and they WANT you to upgrade it yourself. Years back when most computer companies like Gateway and others put stickers on the case so if you simply opened the case to clean out dustbunnies you would void your warranty, Dell designed easy-open cases so you could go in and fool around yourself. They encouraged it. (Which is why I know a lot about the inner workings of a computer today.) If you are a person who feels like you have to buy parts from Dell itself to upgrade or repair, you’re doing it wrong.

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      This story seems to contradict you assertion that Dell wants you to upgrade your laptop/desktop yourself.

      • webweazel says:

        No, they do. They just want you to go and find the parts yourself. My impression is Dell just wants to sell whole components like the computer, printers, mice (mouses?) and such. They don’t want to be bothered with supplying and shipping parts or dealing with that whole issue after the fact. If it’s an option at the time you order a computer from them, they’ll ship it with the computer, no problem. Once it’s in your hands, except for warranty issues, you’re on your own for upgrades.

  14. matt314159 says:

    Wait, did I read the OP right? You actually bought the antivirus?

  15. Invader Zim says:

    I love the pictures with the lil circles around the parts.

  16. az123 says:

    It is called eBay, you can normally just get these things off there…

  17. Hi_Hello says:

    awesome picture

  18. Pete the Geek says:

    How is Dell still in business? I *tried* to buy a laptop from them a few years ago but they kept slipping the delivery date. I waited a few weeks and then cancelled because – and this will suprise Dell management – I needed a new laptop and could not wait indefintely.

    • quail says:

      Not defending Dell, but a few years back there were supply problems with either hard drives, memory, or both. Everyone was having issues if you were getting a custom made machine and not one sitting on a shelf and was at least 6 months old.

  19. chemmy says:

    dude you’re getting a dell. *puff puff pass*

  20. elex says:

    i have that same laptop. as the IT manager of a medium sized business, I used to deal with Dell all the time. Sometimes you gt a good CSR. Sometimes you don’t. Usually you have to know exactly what you need ahead of time. they cant tell what parts are. Even parts your machine did ship with. After buying my machine, i noticed that i could have gotten a blu ray drive. without knowing the part number, its not worth calling them.

  21. Hungry Dog says:

    I have service with Century Link and when my connection fails and I try to get routed through tech support they always try to upsell services. I always ask if this “upgrade” will be as reliable as my existing service they then try to upsell their protection plan to go with the better/more expensive service bundle.

  22. Press1forDialTone says:

    A lot of Dell desktop products have two hard-drive bays and two bays
    for CD/DVD drives of one type of another. But unless you’ve got an
    OptiPlex (generally much better made and sold only to businesses)
    don’t fill all those bays or max it out on memory, the power supply -will-
    fry.

  23. XmentalX says:

    This reminds me of a similar experience I had years ago with a Dell Dimension 2450. That unit is from back in the days of dells if you dont order it with the part we dont give you the socket or bracket in the tower days. Didnt order an AGP card no agp slot just the solder points on the mobo. Didnt order a floppy drive the bracket wasnt a fixed part of the case so no bracket for you. Well this became a problem when I wanted to install a 2nd harddrive and discovered they literally designed the case for 1 hard drive and a floppy. So I figured I would just call dell and order the bracket, fat chance… The rep seemed sharp and on point and was happy to send me the part free of charge. Until it arrived and instead of a bracket I got the dust cover that covers the hole for the floppy drive which mine already had, 3 calls later to no avail I finally I just took a bracket out of an old system and an erector set and made my own.

  24. Galium says:

    Dell used to be a half way decent company but it seems they are trying their best to get on the WCIA list. I have bought 5 different computers from them over the years and until the last system I bought I did not have many problems with them. The last system an XPS had a bad mother board that they knew about long before my purchase date. Nothing was said until a few months after I received it and they sent me a notice that they were going to replace it as it might burn out the system. I went to several sites and that‚Äôs where I found out they knew about the problem and did not bother to say anything, strike 1. I went back to the Dell site and found that my particular computer was no longer available. I called their CS and ask why I was not told of the mother board problem and figuring maybe more problems as the computer was no longer available. The CS person said it was just temporarily out of stock (no mother boards) and would be back for sale again soon. Out of stock is a far different status then “no longer available”. Strike 2. When I received my new computer I had also purchased a new printer a V515w that was wireless. My old HP was wired (I had it for about 8 years) and I needed a wireless one as I had recently gotten my wife a laptop (Dell) and she would now be able to use the printer without hooking up a wire. A few weeks ago I had the message on my printer that it had print head problems, (1 month after warranty expired). I went to the Dell site to try to find a solution, tried what they suggested, nothing worked. Digging further I found that this was a problem with this printer and that many others had the same problem. The print head was a piece of crap. Reading the comments made, I found that not only was this a common problem with the printer, but Dell does not carry any spare print heads to replace the bad one. Strike 3. I will be getting a new wireless printer; it will not be a Dell. I also expect to buy at least a couple more computers in the coming years, but they will not be Dells either. I like sex just about as much as any normal person but continually being screwed by someone (companies are people, SCOTUS) when the screwing was not mutually agreed upon is rape. I have come to the conclusion that Dell is a serial rapist.

  25. jeffpiatt says:

    I hate to say this but dell does not consider an consumer HDD an user serviceable part and the service tag would not help due to the fact it only brings up the pars put in to the computer when it was built since the buyer did not buy an seciond hdd from dell dell omitted the unneeded parts and the phone tech decided to order the caddy part number they saw and not look up the actual part code . heck dell even gives each screw an separate part code and those have to be ordered to be included.

  26. majortom1981 says:

    DId you talk to customer support or PARTS. dell has a seperate parts department. All you give them is the service tag number and they give you the part number and let you order it.

  27. natebum says:

    I would look around town at computer repair shops they might parts from old computers or they might be able to get you those parts (sometimes with special orders). might have to go several places.

  28. sloweddi says:

    See if you have a computer recycling company with a retail outlet in your region. When I volunteered at our we had drawers full of those caddys. Also connectors.

  29. karlmarx says:

    This is Dell… They told me that they don’t have a lemon policy. Actually today after sending an email to Michael Dell I received a call from Dell and I was told that there are no Lemon Laws on electronics and they do not replace their laptops. They will only fix them.

  30. karlmarx says:

    This is Dell.. And I received a call after sending an email today to Michael Dell and was told that they do not have a lemon policy won’t replace no matter how many times it has bee repaired.. Which has been now 5 times.

  31. axiomatic says:

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/studio1747/en/sm/hdd.htm#wp1187790

    That’s the service guide instructions for this whole procedure. The Google search was “dell studio 1749 service manual” and the link on this page id for “hard drive(s)”.

    Show this to Dell. And for you the customer, remember the words “service manual.”

  32. stevenpdx says:

    You’ll generally have a much better experience if you call Dell Spare Parts directly at 1-800-357-3355, rather than customer service or tech support.

    • jeffpiatt says:

      What happened is that he called the Support line those people only get an list of parts added to the Service Tag you ordered and every single thing on the computer has an D/PN number right down to the ad stickers on the case. i worked for the people who did dell field service the people who order parts stick to the part numbers they see when ordering so he got the bracket his model had and the first adaptor the persion found. Dell Spare parts is the line for IT staffers who have dell certs who want to get spare parts with out an specific tag.

  33. ray4jc says:

    i’ve got two extra you could have asked me i would have gave it to you

  34. clickable says:

    For possible future reference, http://www.newmodeus.com is a vendor that specializes in exactly this type of item, which I learned from the forums at notebookreview.com when I had a similar quest.

    I’m not sure they have exactly what OP needs but it’s a useful resource to know about. The forums at notebookreview.com are also a valuable resource.

    Like I said, I had a similar quest. Also had a similar experience with Dell. The part was not listed anywhere on their site, customer service initially couldn’t figure it out, and the first time they sent me the wrong part. Eventually I got it straightened out and got the correct part I needed but I emphathize with the OP, because it was a frustrating experience. My laptop is a Latitude, from Dell’s Small Business side, so maybe the CSR’s are a little more inclined to genuinely try to find the answers. But even with good intentions they were fairly clueless.

    I ended up registering at notebookreview.com and participating in the forums, which I think are a far better source of solutions than the manufacturers’ customer service or discussion groups.

  35. DELLChrisM says:

    I am the Alienware Laptop Liaison but I wanted to post the following information from our non-Alienware Laptop Liaison, DELL-Terry B.

    I am sorry to read about the poor experience you have had with Dell. The part number for the second hard drive bracket and interposer for the Studio 17 (1745, 1747 and 1749) is J7P67. The part number for the bracket screws are 4270E and you will need to order three of them. These part numbers are used by tech support for warranty repair and the parts may only be in limited supply to sale. You may call Dell Spare Parts 1-800-357-3355 and ask for the part number(s) for prices and availability. I do apologize for any inconvenience and I do hope that this clears things up for any of you Studio 17 users wishing to upgrade to a second hard drive.

    DELL-Terry B, Dell Laptop Liaison, http://dell.to/wVqZ4T