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Help removing win 98se, reformatting, installing win XP

by Scott21 / July 22, 2004 10:12 AM PDT

Hey guys I have a tower, p3 450, 13gig HD, 128 ram, 32MB Nvida graphics card with a dvd rom drive and a cd-burner. The bios is Rom PCI/ISA BIOS - CMOS SETUP UTILITY - AWARD SOFTWARE, INC. The PC was bought from a local computer store quite a few years ago.

The computer has been extremly unreliable since it was purchased. The biggest problem being freezing. It would freeze randomly in any program that you would use on it. Be it games, Microsoft Office, IE and any other program. Over the past couple of years I believe it has gotten multiple viruses on it.

I now have a laptop with winXP and want to borrow the tower pc to a friend who's going to college and can't afford a computer. I'm hoping that if I get winXP on the machine it will help to stop the freezing and make the pc a reliable one.

Here's the problem: Since the computer is an older one I got the winXP boot disks and inserted all of those and had the computer boot to the winXP cd. From there it lets you format the current partion (it only has one right now), since it came with win98SE on it the partion was in the FAT format. I then reformated it in the NTSF format. Everytime it will reformat to 100% and then bring up an error message saying the following.

The following value in the .SIF file used by setup is corrupted or missing:

Valu 0 on the line in section [SourceDisksFiles] with "keySP1cab."

Setup cannot continue. to quit setup press F3.

A while back I set the BIOS and SETUP setting to default. This caused the computer to say that it's a p3 300mhz machine which in reality it's a 450. Could this be part of the problem?

Is the Bios corrupted or do I need to upgrade the Bios before installing winXP?

I've gone to multiple websites like to get step by step instructions. But you guys are my last hope.

Any help would be greatly appreciated - Thanks!

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Take no offense as I note this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 22, 2004 10:30 AM PDT

There is no intent to call you any name or label you as such, but the last time I ran into that error the XP CD was some copy of XP and a bad one.

Do try the original CD and boot from said CD and then follow the procedure at ....

In closing, there were OVERCLOCKED P3s and P2s out there so try the install at the default speed.

The machine will also pass the memory TEST from


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Re: Take no offense as I note this.
by Scott21 / July 22, 2004 10:53 AM PDT

I do not take any offense. My copy of XP is the original legit one. I had windows ME on my laptop when I bought it and had a bunch of problems with that OS. A while after XP came out I bought the XP Home edition (not the upgrade) and that's what I'm currently trying to put on my tower PC.

Thank you for the links. I'm going to check them out right now.

As to the overclocked P3's and P2's, The PC was a p 450 when I bought it. I changed all of the BIOS settings to default whcih was 300mhz before trying to install XP and that's when I was getting the error messages. I set the clock speed back to 450 and am trying once again to install XP.

Thanks for the help so far!

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Re: Still getting the error message and got some more ?'s
by Scott21 / July 22, 2004 1:46 PM PDT

I'm still not getting it to work. Any other suggestions. I've been working on this for the past 7 hours and have gotten nowhere. Sad

quick recap: I've removed windows 98SE and have reformated the HD. Everytime I try to install winXP I get the same error message. If you are using the following page - - I can get through step 13. Before it gets to 1% on step 14 the error message will pop up and I'll have to restart the whole process over. Once again the error message is:

The following value in the .SIF file used by setup is corrupted or missing:

value 0 on the line in section [SourceDisksFiles] with key""

Setup cannot continue. to quit setup press F3

I'm using the original copy of winXP Home edition that I've put on my laptop with out a problem.

I've tried installing XP after setting the BIOS to the default settings which makes the CPU Operation Speed: 233(66) and also tried installing it when I've set the CPU Operating Speed to 450(100) and it still doesn't work.

Rihgt now BIOS looks like:

CPU Operating Speed : 450(100)
- Turbo Frequency : Disabled

I've tried installing with Turbo Frequency enabled and disabled.

Do you guys think it's the BIOS that's corrupted, is it the hard drive that's bad? Do you think it will be repairable?

Please give me any ideas I'm willing to try anything!

Thanks guys

P.S. I'm not familiar with the following link in the previous thread - - can someone explaine how to use this program and how it could help me.


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Re: Still getting the error message and got some more ?'s
by Willy / July 22, 2004 2:29 PM PDT

The memtest will help test the ram on your system, to check it out to see if that's an area to look into. Your system being old and trying to install XP on it should work but the borderline is 300Mhz system or better. Before you load the XP OS, try the "compatibilty" portion of that page, I beleive option 3 in order to test componets of your system to see if any componet is too old and not supported by XP. While you mention you have a legit XP OS, the SP1 error is suppose to check for bad keys and *maybe* that's what's at fault. I don't where you brought your XP from, but its not unheard of to get burned. If your key falls into this area:;en-us;Q295322
The above link is for Me but check for XP OS, navigate to that site.

good luck -----Willy

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Re: quick update on my progres (or lack of :)
by Scott21 / July 23, 2004 4:48 AM PDT

First off thanks for the help so far. It's amazing how fast you guys respond.

I ran the memtest for a few hours and it found no errors.

From what you guys have been saying this error is usually with illegal copies of XP. The copy of XP that I have was purchased from a computer store chain that's located across our state. They've been in business for over ten years and we've been regular customers for around 7 or 8 years. They sold me a copy of XP that was supposed to come with a NEW PC for the price of the windows XP UPGRADE since they knew that we have a legit copy of both Win98SE and WinME. I was able to put it on my laptop with out any problems but it's still not going on the tower pc. I went to the Microsoft page and ran my copy of XP off of my laptop and it came back saying it was legit. Now I'm back at square one.

I'm going to try and put on my copy of WinME (shudder! I don't like ME) on the tower just to see if I'm able get it on without problems. If that works I'll once again try to reformat and put on XP.

Once again thanks for the help, and if you have any more suggestions please let me know.


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The other .SIF issue.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 23, 2004 5:20 AM PDT

The only other .SIF issue happens when XP's installer (in simplest terms) gets confused and fails. It will do this over and over again and again until we remove the offending data on the hard disk.

Let's see if I can find that article.;EN-US;310994

Let be abbriviate it. If you use boot diskettes or run the XP setup from Windows, then you can trigger this failure. The boot diskettes trigger it since there are now TWO sets of boot diskettes. One for the SP1 XP and one for the XP without. The .SIF file IS DIFFERENT.

A clean install with a blank hard disk is usually the road out.

I had to bring up the issue of the so-so XP copy since I ran into too much last month. Seems a new wave of people are trying some downloaded copy.

DO you have the OEM version or the UPGRADE?

Both have "nuances" based on whether its OEM XP, OEM XP SP!, Upgrade XP or Upgrade XP SP1.

The one thing to remember is that if it's OEM, then don't waste your time or money calling Microsoft for support...


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Re: Help removing win 98se, reformatting, installing win XP
by clone / July 23, 2004 6:03 AM PDT
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Update, got it working! :)
by Scott21 / July 26, 2004 1:12 PM PDT

Hey guys,

My bad, the reason it wasn't going on was because i was using the XP home edititon boot disks and I needed to use the XP service pack ones. All that work for such a simple mistake.

Thanks for all the help you guys gave me!!! Happy

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This is why booting the CD is easier.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 26, 2004 1:27 PM PDT

I think there are now 4 versions of the boot diskettes.


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