Question

Clean re-install of Windows XP on a Dell

My son gave me a Dell Dimension 4600 w/Windows XP Pro..I had to order the re-installation CD from Dell for that computer..How do you do it?? I thought I knew..I went to setup and disabled all the boot sequence except for the cd drive where the cd sat..went to reboot, but the cd didn't run.. the screen said " press F1 to continue, F2 to reboot...nothing else happened like it wasn't recognizing the cd in the drive??...what am I doing wrong Thanks!!

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Answer
That sound like the correct way

Assuming the CD drive is working, that sounds correct. On that PC, the reinstall disc should boot and proceed to run the setup. Just so we are on the same page, that CD should have something along the line of "Operating System already installed on you computer, reinstallation CD Microsoft Windows XP Professional" Is that close to what it has on the CD?

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Clean install Win xp pro...

Yes that's what it says...

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Answer
Regarding your comment ...

"I went to setup and disabled all the boot sequence except for the cd drive"

Don't do that. Leave all the drives enabled but set the CD as the FIRST boot device then the hard drive as the second boot device.

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I would agree

It could be a miscommunications, so do as Edward says. See if that then causes the CD to boot.

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Answer
You could also do this

If you don't change the boot order in bios you can still temporarily choose the cd drive by pressing the f12 key while the pc is booting up. Then use the arrow keys to highlight your cd/dvd drive.

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windows clean install

Thanks to everybody who has responded.. I think there's a new problem..my screen was blank, I rebooted and the screen said 'Disc read error...press ctrl-alt-delete to reboot"...AND there was a clicking noise in the tower...the computer rebooted to the same screen..did my HD puke??!!...it's still clicking...

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Was the read error from the HDD or Optical Disc Drive (ODD)?

If it was the usual ODD failure I use a lens cleaner and try a duplicate copy of that XP CD (it is copiable so no big hurdle there) and then I try again. If the ODD still fails to read we slip in a new 20 buck DVDRW and try again.

If the HDD is failing, we replace that.
Bob

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Read error

I took out the install CD, changed the boot sequence to OD and then HD, then rebooted, but got the same message.."read disk failure ctrl-alt-delete to reboot"...I do have another HD from another Dell, but it has Windows XP Home...will that work with this cd??

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(NT) Sorry but why didn't you try that?
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Windows install

I'll switch hd's...will it work if the hd has Win xp home and I'll be using the Win xp Pro disc to restore??

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Sorry but you'll have to try it.

I can't predict the outcome. I do know that installing XP is too hard for most folk today. It's best to use restore media or give yourself time to sketch out the install plan for after you install XP. XP has so few drivers it's not funny anymore.
Bob

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Depends

If the suggestions were followed and the WinXP Pro disk was in the CD drive, then it might be the CD drive. Please give details as to what was/has been done with the results to the point that "'Disc read error...press ctrl-alt-delete to reboot" came about.

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Windows install

I went to set-up, changed the boot sequence to CD drive(it's actually a dualCD-DVD burner) , then HD...it still told me the same thing.."read disk error"...I took the install cd out of the drive, rebooted and the same thing again...the clicking noise was there the whole time...first there's a cursor, then "read disk failure or error..ctrl-alt-delete to reboot"...I get as far as the Dell splash screen and that's it..

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It sounds like...

It sounds like you have a bad cd drive. I would replace that drive with a new or known good used drive.

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Windows install

So you think the cd drive is bad,...if the cd drive is bad wouldn't it still boot from the hd as it is 2nd in the boot sequence?

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My question

Why isn't it FIRST?

And are you repeating that old story about the owner that resisted replacing the old drive?

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Re-install

You're probably wonderring why I'm trying to get these 6-8 yr. old systems running...I have 2 dell and 1 compaq desktops I;m trying to cobble together to use just as a video transfer system-taking my old vhs tapes and transferring them to a DVD disc...my DVD Express hardware is not compatible w/Win 7 so I'm trying to use what I have I have a secondary HD in my Compaq..is it possible to use that as the primary to install Windows thru the re-installation disc?...again THANKS for all your replies!! I'm trying not to buy another video transfer hardware if I don't have to..

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I'm not wondering that at all.

I know that many will dig in their heels and try to avoid replacing optical drives when the signs are clear. Best to nod and let them catch on that eventually they need to fix that.

" I'm trying to use what I have I have a secondary HD in my Compaq..is it possible to use that as the primary to install Windows thru the re-installation disc?"

No. There are long reasons why you should fail to install XP on the second drive when the first drive is Windows 7.

But that won't stop folk from trying.
Bob

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More re-install info

I apologize for not giving all the info...all these extra desktops that I have are all Win XP, one is XP Pro...my DVD Express hardware/software is compatible with XP..between all three I'm hoping to get something running just to do video transfers..

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It's a shame we didn't know that up front.

As it stands I consider this discussion a lost cause. I'd start a new post.

Bob

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Ooops. I didn't tell why.

Because your top post does not match what you really wanted to do. As such you have a discussion that has failed. Folk are trying to give you ideas about what you asked but what you asked is not what you wanted (as evidenced in your recent post.)
Bob

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Missing info

Sorry to all that replied and tried to help me...totally my fault in not getting across to you what I was trying to do...

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OK, then what does work?

If I was unable to have a setup I can install XP to, that is I must keep my Windows 7 intact, I would go install VMLite or VirtualBox and XP in those. How to do that is beyond this discussion but there are plenty of sites about that.

Too bad we were not clear that you were trying to add XP after Windows 7.
Bob

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Yes it should,

but a troubleshooting technique is to give it no choice, allow only one option to make sure nothing else is interfering. Usually this is far more constructive with disabling the USB boot option but occasionally the optical drive can interfere. Constant clicking is a bad sign in conjunction with the message though; if you verify its coming from the hard drive the only thing you can do is pull it and try it as a secondary drive; same clicking or that system freezes (repeatedly trying to read the bad drive), its toast. Also if its a SATA connected optical drive be sure none of the SATA interfaces are disabled in the settings (BIOS).

And try the CD you're trying to boot from in another system to verify that it will boot. Same boot priority applies.

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I think it is bad...yes

If the hard drive was bad, the cd would boot and shortly thereafter the setup program would inform you that the drive is no good. If the cd drive is no good, it will click trying to read the cd. The reason the hd doesn't boot is because it need to be restored with the cd. I may be wrong but in my experience it is usually the cd drive causing this problem.

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Answer
Re-install XP on a Dell machine

First I hope you saved everything. I re-install XP about every year on my Dell Inspiron laptop. While the computer is up and running with all programs closed I insert the XP disc. The option asks for which drive to format comes up and the default is "C" The other drives shown have the factory installed original settings. Go to dell.com -> at the bottom click "Support" -> select Home unless this is a business machine, enter the Tag# click and look for re-install system or click the tab "Manuals and Documentation" Everything you need is there.

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Answer
Are you comfortable "under the hood?"

Is the DVD drive a IDE (flat wide data cable attached to back) or SATA type interface?
If its SATA and the HD is SATA try swapping the data connections at the board or at the devices and try booting.
If its IDE, inspect it carefully; make sure it didn't come into contact with any hot spots inside the case and partially melt or get damaged in any other way. Pull it off both ends and reseat again.

You'll get a better idea of where the clicking is coming from with the cover open as well (needless to say, don't touch anything while its plugged in or running, and touch the computer frame to equalize any electrical charges before touching the more sensitive internals). If its the hard drive it probably needs to be replaced. That will give you the disk read error but a mis-set BIOS (setup) will also give that error. If the optical drive is clicking replace that.

None of the feedback you've provided so far would indicate you are getting any boot response from the DVD drive. If you can try another known good boot disc, for anything else, doesn't matter what because you just want to know if it will boot from the optical drive (a LINUX Live CD or a virus cleanup CD perhaps). If nothing boots, then it has to be a bad drive or misconfiguration in the setup (or bad cable mentioned earlier).

Once you get it up and running again (easier said...) and set up as you like it, a better methodology than what Man from Mars does, is to image the entire drive with something like EaseUS TODO backup and save that for easy recovery to a pristine state in a fraction of the time. I install about 125 gigs of games so its mandatory I image my system because recovery would take up to 2 weeks for me (fairly slow Internet connection for downloading Gamespot and Steam platform games).

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