Inspiron 640m – Windows 7 and 8.1 32 Bit

This model and Operating System is not supported by Dell.

Legacy BIOS

Recommended hardware Upgrades

SSD – Solid State Drives

It is recommended to upgrade it to 4 GB of RAM (3.25 GB usable). This is also unofficial, the official maximum is 2 GB.

Refer to the Owner’s Manual when performing hardware upgrades.

Media Direct

This is a Media Direct system and the Media Direct partition should be setup before installing Windows 7 see Preparing your Hard Drive: Setting Up Media Direct.

Windows OS

Windows 7 and 8.1 are now obsolete if you have these Operating Systems you should use them to take the Free Upgrade to Windows 10.

If you don’t have a Windows 7/8.1 license you have until the 2nd of October 2015 to upgrade to Windows 10 for free using the Windows 10 Insider 10130 as a stepping stone. See Free Upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 10 (also works with Windows XP).

OS Updates

System utilities 




Try in order latest first, if it doesn’t work try for an older version.



For Windows 8.1 the audio driver is inbuilt to the OS and the registry file or older SigMatel Driver should not be installed.

Install the registry file and then the audio driver. New untested.


Media Direct Updates

* Requires installation of the Media Direct program.

Dell Backup and Recovery 

Only install if you have a larger than a 120 GB SSD/HDD

Note this system won’t be able to boot from a Rescue Disk (external hard drive) so make a Factory Backup (Bootable USB Flash Drive).


10 thoughts on “Inspiron 640m – Windows 7 and 8.1 32 Bit

  1. Hi there. Congratulations for this guide. It is very useful. I want to ask your advice.
    I have an Inspiron 640M, its hard drive is not working, apparently is gone, and I would like to upgrade it with an SSD. I am watching the new “Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E250B/AM)” which apparently is an “state of the art” SSD. Does this model will take advantage of all of the benefits advertised in this SSD? Will it be used in SATA 3 or SATA 2? My other doubt is that I see that Crucial includes a bracket to adapt the SDD to the 9,5 mm space inside the lap top, but Samsung doesn’t, will the Samsung SSD stay loose without that bracket? Thanks in advance for any suggestion and keep on the good work with your guide.

    1. You will not get the full speed of the SSD in this system. I wouldn’t advise going for a state of the art (more expensive SSD).

      It’ll be SATA 1 speed at 1.5 GB/s (SATA 2 is at 3 GB/s and SATA 3 is at 6 GB/s).

      The Crucial website is good as it tells you whether the system is SATA 1, 2 or 3 (to the left):

      The new SSD will work but it’ll be at SATA 1 speeds however it will significantly speed this system up. You’ll likely need the bracket to seat it. See here for a difference in the height:
      More details here:
      Inserting the drive without the adapter in my latitude D820 didn’t work. The SSD never slipped into the SATA connectors properly.

  2. Thanks a lot for your answer.
    To be honest I didn’t expect the computer to be faster with a new SSD. That would be a plus. My main concern is the durability of the drive. This laptop is used by my mom. The first HDD lasted about 5 years (2006-2011). The second one ( I think it was refurbished) 3 years: 2012-2014. And now I just want a drive to last forever, or at least until my mother buys another laptop or a tablet. She uses it mainly for social networks: FB, TW, youtube, etc, and I have read a lot of articles (you have no idea) which talks about how reliable are the Samsung’s SSD. For example this one says:

    “Specifically, the 850 Evo’s 120GB and 250GB capacities have an endurance rating of 75TB. This means you can write 40GB per day to the drive every day, and it will last for 5 years. The 500GB and 1TB capacities’ endurance is doubled (150TB) and is the same as that of tt he 850 Pro.

    Note that SSD’s endurance relates only to writing as reading doesn’t effect its life span at all. Also, 40GB is a lot of data; in general usage, most days we don’t write even a fraction of that to our computer’s main drive. That said, chances are you’ll replace your computer a few times before the 850 Evo’s endurance is expired.”

    I just want don’t have to replace the hard drive never ever again (hopefully). That is my main goal. Like I said my mother hardly writes so many data, only when she uploads pictures from her camera to FB and that is not every day.

    I like the Samsung 850 EVO (in Amazon is in 99 bucks with a 5-years-warranty) but I am worried about the lack of bracket. Believe it or not, there is noone who sells that part individually in Amazon.

    On the other hand I like this crucial model:

    BX-100: 95 bucks and 3-years-warranty in Amazon and includes the bracket. The BX100 also has a “lower” endurance rating of 72TB for all capacities, but it is very similar to the Samsung EVO-850.

    So. what do you think? should I go for the crucial?

    Thanks for your time.

    1. The main points for the SSD are speed, power consumption and tied to that less heat.

      The SSD will be faster than a conventional drive in the system and should use less power and the system should be less hot.

      Laptops of this vintage however do generate alot more heat (elsewhere) than newer systems.Heat usually kills components faster. Its hard to know how long the new SSDs will actually last as these new SSD models are only just released. Using this system with a USB cooling pad will help prolong the life of the drive and the system in general.

      I have had a Crucial V4 fail on me before but these drives were simply terrible. I have had a few Crucial M4s and a few MX500s and these have been reliable. I hear many good things about the Samsung SSDs but haven’t had one myself. You should be pretty good with a new Samsung Mode, Crucial model or Intel model.

      Once you clean install Windows 7 on this Dell with the Windows Updates and system drivers, you should install Dell Backup and Recovery to make new factory settings (from the clean install) and then make a recovery USB. This will give you th ability to quickly reconfigure this system if need be. However the upgrade to Windows 10 will be out in about half a year.

  3. The lack of bracket for me is a deal breaker. I will go for the Crucial. Besides, their website guarantees me that will work for this Dell model. Thanks for the info.
    One last question, if I upgrade the RAM memory with two modules of 2 Gb and I install Win7 in 32 bits, would I get the 3,25 Gb? Again, thanks for your time and advices.

    1. The amount of RAM this system can use is 3.25 GB and is hardware limited. Even the 64 Bit OS will only be able to use 3.25 GB of RAM. Upgrading the RAM will help with the performance but after installation of a SSD the performance benefit will be limited.

  4. Phil, thanks a bunch, I recommend this page as a great resource for upgrading a 640m.
    I had a S L O W 640m with 2GB Ram and the original 160GB HD, originally running Vista 32bit but with a Win7 upgrade on the top. I’d been thinking of wiping the drive and re-installing but I am so glad and took your recommendation to upgrade the memory to 4GB (even for the 3.2GB) and install a 250GB SSD.
    I was a little cautious on the upgrade…
    1. Replaced the memory and booted up the old config to make sure memory was OK.
    2. Cloned the original 160GB HD onto the new 250GB SSD (which came with an enclosure and disk copy utiltiy). This left me with about 90GB left for a spare partition,
    3. Rebooted PC using copied configuration, with all recovery partitions intact as at this point the SSD was an exact copy of the original drive.
    4. Re-installed Windows 7, wiping the C partition as part of the install.
    5. I tried to stick with as few extra Dell drivers as possible.

    I had one annoying issue which took a while to notice. A bizarre typing redirection feature where the cursor would randomly move to another line after typing between 5 and 30 characters. I thought it was fat fingers to start with but then noticed I was not loosing any characters, they just we not necessarily in the right order.
    I first thought I’d a loose keyboard connection, as this was lifted as part of the memory upgrade but booting from the old drive and from an Ubuntu USB Stick did not show an issue. So I looked at the old install’s keyboard drivers, just bog standard windows but then noticed the Touchpad has a Synaptic Driver. I downloaded the Vista version from Dell’s Support page and I think I’ve fixed the issue.
    I did also noticed the fan running a bit hot, and during the keyboard diagnosis I had taken the Dell Chipset drivers. Since then, it seems to run cooler.

    So again, thanks a bunch Philip, I now have a totally transformed, responsive Laptop.

  5. Hi Phillip, congratulations on your very helpful and informative website!

    I have an Inspiron 640m purchased from DELL preinstalled with Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit OEM, which I upgraded with 4GB RAM. I have just bought a Crucial SSD and I want to install Windows 7 Ultimate 32 Bit (or alternatively, Windows 7 Professional 32 Bit). I don’t want Windows 8, 8.1, or 10.

    The laptop was purchased in April 2007 and the BIOS version is A10 with SLIC2.0, so it does not support Windows 7 automatic activation. I believe I have the following 2 options, which one do you think would work on my system?

    1. I have downloaded Windows 7 Ultimate 32 Bit Retail ISO (X17-59463.iso) from Microsoft DigitalRiver Mirror. Will I be able to activate it by phone with an OEM key bought from Ebay along with scrap hardware? Or do I need to purchase a retail key for that purpose?
    (I have read that activation of a retail ISO with an OEM key works for systems that came preinstalled with Windows 7 OEM and have their own Windows 7 COA, but I am not sure if it will work in my older system that came with Windows Vista OEM)

    2. I have also found on Ebay a genuine DELL OEM Windows 7 Professional 32 Reinstallation DVD plus COA sticker with OEM key, sold along with scrap hardware. Will this work on my system or can I only install Windows 7 Ultimate since my laptop came with Windows Vista Ultimate? Or do I rather need to go for the retail version instead as described above?

    Your advice and guidance would be greatly appreciated!

    Kind regards,

    1. Licensing wise:

      The OEM license is non-transferable so you cannot legally transfer a key from scrap hardware… Some eBay sellers may state that you can and that you can use Microsoft phone activation… to activate but this is basically misleading and it should be considered that they are selling non-genuine Windows.

      Your system will not auto-activate on your system as it has SLIC 2.0 and not SLIC 2.1…

      Microsoft also state that a system cannot have 2 OEM licenses.

      The OEM license is designed to be preinstalled on hardware by the OEM and then sold as a complete unit to the End user. It is not designed to be used by the End user directly.

      Technically you should go for the Retail or Retail Upgrade license opposed to the OEM license. However Windows 7 reached end of retail sales some time ago so these are now quite hard to come by and may cost more than a Windows 10 Retail license.

      1. Thanks very much, in that case I will try to get hold of a retail license.
        Thank you for all the time, energy, and knowledge that you are sharing with everyone here!

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