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old computer parts --> new computer body?

I have an 8 yr old Dell Dimension that I've just tried to do a repair reinstall of Windows on, w/ no luck. I've had numerous problems w/ it beginning in June which I've detailed in other forums, and they've been attributed by different people to viruses, windows updates, a failing hard drive, or a failing motherboard. Basically, I had a corrupted user profile, my new user profile started to show the same symptoms, I suddenly couldn't use any web browsers even after reinstalling, I couldn't use system restore, etc. etc.

I'm on a very limited budget but I need to access my personal files and my Adobe programs on my PC to finish a job I'm working on. Right now it's completely useless, asking me to insert my installation CDs every time I reboot (and the installation freezes each time). I chose to do an upgrade installation to keep my files & programs intact and try to fix my corrupt Windows files. Bad decision, I guess!

So, now I need to get a new IDE hard drive to install WindowsXP on, put that in the computer, and put my old hard drive in an external case to access the files on it.

My problem is this: if I get a new IDE hard drive, and the problem turns out to be my motherboard, will I be able to use that IDE drive in a new computer? I mean, would it even be advisible to add a new motherboard to an 8 yr old Dell?

And my other problem is: if I need a new computer, where the bleep can I find one that doesn't come w/ Windows installed on it?

I looked at and and they have "barebones systems" but I believe these don't even come w/ a power supply? I also looked at "computer cases" but I'm not sure what else I would need to purchase in addition to the computer case. What's the difference between a barebones system and a computer case, anyways? I can't tell, from the specs.

I have WindowsXP, a ton of PC programs for XP, a CD burner drive (don't need a DVD drive since I have one on my Mac), an ethernet card, a graphics card, a sound card, speakers, 1GB worth of RAM, basically everything that came w/ my old computer and everything I've added to it myself over the years. I may want to upgrade these things some day in the future when I have regular employment but I can't afford to right now. Should I be able to remove all of these things and put them in a new computer case? And what about the new IDE drive? Does anyone know where I can find a computer that will support both IDE and SATA hard drives? And what else would I need to buy? I'm just using the computer for Adobe graphic design programs, Word, and email. I don't play any games on it, don't use it for video (that's why I have the Mac), and really just need the minimum of everything. My 8 yr old Dell worked just fine until it got...whatever the heck happened to it in June.

I'm on an extremely limited budget. Basically, I'll be able to pay my rent AFTER I finish the job I was working on with my PC. I'm in a bit of a bind, to say the least.

Also, is there somewhere to buy a computer case w/ everything BUT the operating system and/or hard drive? Like, something that has a power supply and CPU and motherboard, and all I'd have to do is install a hard drive, maybe a CD burner drive, and WindowsXP? Not quite bare bones, but not a PC "package"? I have no intention of getting Vista any time soon, and I've already paid for XP. I've never built a computer from scratch, just made lots of upgrades to my old Dell, so I'm not sure if I'd have the knowledge to build from scratch....

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"I've already paid for XP."

In reply to: old computer parts --> new computer body?

Sadly your license may not be anything more than the OEM version that is only good for the machine it came on. Why I write sad is that too many think they "paid" for it yet they dismiss the issues and OEM license.

Go ahead and try but don't be surprised if it won't activate.

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oh, wow...

In reply to: "I've already paid for XP."

So it can tell I'll be trying to install it on a new machine? I've installed it on 2 hard drives so far (the one that came w/ my computer crashed and had to be replaced) and that worked fine. What if I replaced the motherboard, but kept the computer case? I'm intrigued by this.

So, in that case, what I'm trying before I go any further is this:

I'm hooking up my old drive in my mother's 5 yr old Compaq as a slave drive (I did this w/ my old hard drive when it crashed), and I'm copying the files I need off of it. Then I want to reformat my old drive w/ the virus/whatever on it, and try again to reinstall Windows on that drive once it's wiped clean.

I haven't reformatted a drive since the days of Windows95, though, when I had to do it in DOS using a floppy. Can I reformat my old drive from the new computer, while it's hooked up as a slave drive? I should just be able to right-click the drive after I've salvaged everything I need from it, and find some sort of reformatting option, I'm assuming? Anything I should be aware of before I do this?

I just want to explore all possibilities, and I'm still not convinced this isn't a virus or some software update that caused the computer to become unstable, not the drive or mobo (the fact that I know so many people who had the same corrupt user problems at the same time is really suspicious!).

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I see only one question.

In reply to: oh, wow...

"How to format a drive with XP."

It's rather simple once you know. You boot the CD, delete the old partitions, create new ones (using XP's installer) and then it formats it for you.

Here's the pictures ->

As with Windows there can be some 10 or more drivers and a BIOS update to get a new machine working. Some new to Windows owners forget all that. Here's an example Windows install with 10 drivers (there are more in some machines) ->


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Thank you!!!! Ummm....

In reply to: I see only one question.

I noticed on the images in the first link that the disk I was using to repair my windows installation didn't look anything like this, and didn't give me any of these options. No option for drive partitions, which I thought was weird. Was I using the wrong disk??

It's a disk that came with my Dell called "OPERATING SYSTEM: Reinstallation CD: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition." I didn't see anything else that looked like it had Windows XP on it, just a bunch of disks with drivers and utilities on them.

I'm just worried that the process looked nothing like this, and it didn't give me the option to repair a previous installation, only the option to install XP or the "recommended" option to "upgrade" to XP. So I chose to upgrade. Is that weird?

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In reply to: Thank you!!!! Ummm....

Dell supplied various versions of the XP CDs over the years so you'll use for your machine and head to the manual on how to use their modified installer. The version I linked to is your Retail XP version and what I see most of the time.

Given the variations by Dell and others...

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