Inspiron 9400 – Windows 7 and 8.1 32 Bit

This model and Operating System is not supported by Dell.

Legacy BIOS

See Updating the 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 Service 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 



* See instructions on using the Microsoft Update Catalog and install drivers via the Device Manager.


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).


25 thoughts on “Inspiron 9400 – Windows 7 and 8.1 32 Bit

  1. Many thanks for your wise tips. Everything was fine until the video driver installation (ATI Radeon x1400). I am looking for the right driver or procedure to start working. In any case, many many thanks.

  2. Hello Mr Yip, I am very satisfied with the Windows 7 Family Edition 32 bit installation on my DELL Inspirion E1705, I also installed a 240 Gig SSD Hard drive. I have the 2 Gig RAM which came with the E1705 when I bought it new; i would like to upgrade to 4 Gigs of RAM. Is it necessary to make some chassis modifications and alter the heat pipe? The SSD disque I bought was made by CRUCIAL, Two 2Gig RAM Offtek cards (FT256MSQ64V6U) are less than 1/2 the price of two Crucial 2 gig RAM cards. (CT2KIT25664AC667) and the CRUCIAL product refers to a 64 bit configuration. I would just as soon order the cheaper cards from Offtek. Sincerely Stephen Bach. BTW I live in Bayonne, France Most all software and hardware which I buy here is in French or a combination of French and English

    1. The Offtek parts work fine, if it helps I actually have them in my system. 😉
      As for heating, I’ve not noticed any significant difference in heat and made no modifications to the chassis.

      I would recommend however using one of these:

      I actually have this one but its similar:

      There are cheaper parts such as these which are best to avoid because usually the fans don’t align with the events and products like these when used on soft surfaces heat the system up because the fan jams and you heat the system up by covering the vents with a piece of plastic:

  3. Hello good sir, thank you for this FANTASTIC solution to all of my sound related issues. My old ass Dell laptop had some issues after installing windows 7, after applying the registry file and the newest sigmatel driver, the sound returned after a restart. Can’t wait to try the rest of your work. Thank you kindly for all your hard work.


    1. It’ll work with Windows 7 32 Bit provided you have 1 GB (preferably 2-4 GB of RAM installed).

      Windows 7 has reached end of mainstream support and is becoming hard to come by to purchase.

      Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will automatically update to Windows 10 in Late Summer. So theres little advantage in purchasing Windows 7 over Windows 8.1 at present as Windows 8.1 is cheaper.

      You can alternatively install Windows 10 Technical Preview:

      Evaluate how well it runs and then take advantage of any promotional deals.

  5. Just got this to work and support XP on an inspiron 9400 and also on an e1705/ Windows 7

    Added Micro SD-XC support up to 64 gb card tested!

  6. hello.sir i have dell inspiron 9400 xp operting system and i would like to update window 7 or window 8.1 so which one is work with my coumputer.

    1. 64 Bit compatibility depends on the processor and RAM but as the system cannot address more than 3.25 GB of RAM there is little advantage of 64 Bit on this system.

      Windows XP is obsolete (end of life April 2014)
      Windows Vista is obsolete (no Digital Distribution, no IE10/11 or Office 2013 support)
      Windows 7 will be obsolete in Summer (free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10). Also Windows 7 is in scares supply and has a high price.
      Windows 8.1 will be obsolete in Summer (free upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10). Its available but not worth buying for only a few months use.

      The best thing to do is to install Windows 10 Technical Preview 32 Bit:
      Hold out on the evaluation until Microsoft fully release Windows 10 at RTM. This will possibly lead to a free upgrade path at the best or a discounted promotion at the worst. Have at least 2 GB of RAM installed. The 120 GB or 250 GB Crucial BX100 SSD will also help this system out a lot.

  7. my coumputer : genuie intel(R) cpu
    T2250 @ 1.73 ghz
    1.73 ghz.3.24 gb of ram
    microsoft window xp professional
    version 2002
    serrvice pack 3

  8. Hello. I have a Inspiron 9400, T5600 Core2 Duo, 1,86, 4 gb of ram, all works well, even the HDD TOSHIBA MK1234GSX (111 GB), i want to upgrade the wireless card maybe something with BT, what do you recommend? you think 7260n can work here? i currently have Intel 3945ABG . Thanks in advance.

    1. Are you running Windows 10? It’s a fairly old system and comes with a full height card. You would also need a half height to full height adaptor for such a card to slot in.

      1. Hi philipyip, Thanks for you’re answer. Sry i forgot to mention, i use windows 7 , a lite edition , it runs smoothly, better than any windows 10 edition, and much better than xp or vista, it makes 9400 a fast laptop even today. Aham, didnt know about the adapter. Thanks again m8. Maybe ill use a usb wi-fi , i will try a usb card and see what happents. What ssd you recomand? a sata 3 from 2017/18 is a good upgrade or should i buy something older?

        All best wishes,

      2. You aren’t going to get full performance of the SSD as the system is so old (t’s a 2006 model so about 12 years old now).

        However there is no point in running something older (unless you can get it for cheaper) the Crucial MX500 or BX300 is likely a good choice. N.B. You are unlikely to see any noticeable performance difference between the MX500 and BX300 on such an old model.

      3. Thanks you philipyip, for the advice and for the answer. And also a last question, i found the xps M1710 model that looks the same but from the seller point of view, the lcd panel, full hd its better than mine , what is you”re opinion, are the xps panels the same with inspiron 9400, can i use other parts from the xps? , and yeah about the Bluetooth, i cant install the driver for win 7 , in bios it says Bluetooth : none, i found the remote control and read it works with BT, but my bt isnt working…? Looked for the problems with the BT and found some unresolved topics with the driver stuck at Fn+F2…, to activate but i cant activate it ? thanks.

      4. These models are aging considerably. They are from 2006 and so now over 12 years old.

        Bluetooth 2.0 was optional in these models… and the Bluetooth cards aren’t as capable as Bluetooth 4.0 around today.

        I would not bother getting a M1710, performance wise they are very similar. Not too sure if the motherboards etc are cross-compatible with the chasis but likely not…

        If you are on a budget I would look for a second hand Latitude D830, Latitude D630 or a Latitude E Series instead (which will have a Windows 7 Pro COA and free upgrade to Windwos 10 Pro).

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