1.In Windows XP: Plug in a flash drive or external hard drive (or a floppy disk if you really want to). If you want, you can also use a blank CD-R , as long as you have a CD burner(CD-R/CD-RW).
2. Open the My Documents folder, as well as any other folders that you have files stored in. Open My Computer, and find the HDD, floppy, or flash drive you want to use. If it's a CD, then double-click it to get to a blank burning folder; XP can burn CDs.
3. Drag and drop all files into the folder from My Computer.
4. Click Start>Programs and make a list of all programs you have installed.
5. Make sure you have the driver install CDs handy, they should have come with the computer.
6. Insert your legit XP disk. Restart the computer.
7. When the DELL(tm) logo appears, start hitting the F2 key repeatedly until the Dell screen disapears and a screen like this one appears: (pic here http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/pblan/b1.jpg).
8. Push the arrow keys to get to the Boot menu. Press the indicated keys to move the CD drive to the top, then the HDD. (pic here http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/pblan/b5.jpg)
9. Push F10 to save changes and exit the BIOS.
10. When the "Press any key to boot from CD..." message appears, press any key (or just whack the keyboard like I do, as it'll hit a few random keys).
11. Once your computer gets to the screen "Welcome to setup" press ENTER.
12. Look at the license agreement and push F8 if you agree.
13. You should now be at a step for partitioning. Push D to delete the partition, the L to confirm. Then push C to create a new one. Push Enter. Choose to format with NTFS (Quick) and push enter.
14. Wait a while. Your computer will format the Hard drive, copy files, and then restart. When the "Press any key to boot from CD" message appears, DON'T PRESS ANY KEY. The computer will say "Microsoft Windows XP" like the startup screen.
15. The computer will now boot into the second part of second. Here you have the graphical interface and mouse. Follow the steps, they're pretty obvious. For the TCP/IP networking one, leave it at the default. Know that your computer's name CANNOT be the same as the user account's name.
16.For the workgroup or domain, leave it at the default workgroup unless you're sure of what you want it to be. this can be changed later if necessary.
17.Your computer will restart.
18. If asked about screen resolution, click Ok, the ok again.
19. Finish the rest, then click Finish.
(pics http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/winxp/install.mspx )
20. Restart the computer. Press F2 to enter the BIOS as I said earlier, go to the boot menu, and set the HDD to be the first boot device. Remove the XP CD. Press F10 to save and exit.
21. You computer should load XP. Login.
22. Insert the driver CD, and install drivers as indicated here: (http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/pblan/driver2k.htm)
23. Plugin the flash drive, external HDD, floppy(s), or CD that you used earlier for your data. Open My computer, or use autoplay if it comes up to get to the drive. Copy all of your files back to the places they were like My Documents.
24. Look at your list of programs that you made, and download or install them from the CDs.
You should now be finished reinstalling Microsoft Windows XP!