Possible resolution:

Symptoms: System failed to boot. Diagnostic pointed to disk failure. Service request auto-generated by Dell Support Assist Software.

System has 1 TB SATA hard disk and 1 16 GB Intel SSD to speed up cold boots.

Diagnostic from Dell was SATA hard drive failure. Replace hard drive.

Hard drive replaced, system rebuilt from backups. ‘Failed’ hard drive placed in USB carriage for examination. All of hard drive appeared to be good and accessible.

Worked with Dell support personnel to replace hard drive and get the new system up and running. Support personnel depth of system understanding was ‘read the manual’ level with NO ability to communicate directly with more knowledgeable help personnel. All communications of this type were pass through the customer support.

After a few days, boot diagnostics flagged a disk failure. Upon further boot diagnostics, discovered the failure was not the hard disk, but the SSD. Looked back at previous messages and determined the original failure was SSD failure which was misdiagnosed by Dell as a hard drive failure.

Was accidentally able to contact a more knowledgeable Dell representative through FB messenger who examined the case file and helped verify the root cause of the system problem. Repair is scheduled to replace the SSD.

Dell customer support personnel via email / phone support paths don’t have sufficient knowledge to handle other than rudimentary problems and are neither willing nor able to put the customer in contact with more knowledgeable Dell tech personnel. Previously there was the ability to elevate the problem level to be handled by more knowledgeable tech support. That capability apparently on longer exists.

The current Dell help desk process is broken for non-elementary problems, costing Dell and their customers wasted time and effort. Had the problem been diagnosed correctly in the first place, significant time and effort would have been saved. When it was clear the problem was beyond the knowledge level of the help personnel, had the problem been elevated to more capable tech support, significant time and effort would have been saved.

Dell should fix their help desk system.

The saga continues.