Like many others I have signed up to add my comments to this forum and to thank all those who have posted solutions to what is the somewhat crazy situation of owning laptops with a virtual self-destruct button close to the start button.
In my case I have just repaired a Dell XPS M1530 which had developed a faulty hard drive. Basically I removed the Samsung drive and replaced it with a brand new WD drive. The drive was pre-formatted with a single 500GB partition so I simply installed the OS (Vista Home Premium 32bit) and drivers from the Dell CDs and then went through the lengthy process of updating everything before adding my backed up user data and various programmes. Several hours work all in all.
Only then did I notice a reinstall disk for Media Direct in my collection and, having read through the booklet that came with it, I realised that it was too late to install it now that everything else was in place. I had actually never used it anyway so I figured it was no big loss. In checking on line to see what Media Direct was all about, I soon came across numerous reports of problems, typically on systems where Media Direct had been crippled in one way or another. The main issue seeming to be that on these systems, pressing the MD button while the machine was turned off resulted in no longer being able to boot into the OS. While some were able to reverse this with a simple re-press of the MD button, others were saying that this did not work for them and either used a repair disk to rebuild the MBR or completely reinstalled the OS.
Having read these reports and in particular the ones in this forum I have to report that I have not yet pressed the MD button since carrying out the reinstall and have no intention of doing so. I do however realise that it could easily be pushed by accident and so have a few queries which i wonder if anyone out there can answer.
1) I understand that the trigger for Media Direct is in the BIOS and that this cannot be turned off but I have read reports of people saying that once all traces of MD and the MD partition have been removed from the system, the MD button simply brings up the splash screen and then boots into the OS as normal. Can anyone confirm this or does this happen only on systems with MD version 4 or higher?
2) Again as this is a new HDD with no trace of MD or its partition, would I still be likely to suffer the MBR rewrite if I pushed the button and would the quick fix of turning off, re-pressing the MD button and then rebooting work?
3) Why is it that the quick fix seems to work for many but not for all?
4) I have the latest BIOS for the M1530 which is version A12. Is it possible that Dell have fixed the MBR issue in this latest version?
I would welcome any wisdom or thoughts on this.