Cannot boot computer after formatting hard drive

Posted on 2006-04-08
Last Modified: 2010-04-13

I have a Dell Dimension v400c that came with Win98. I formatted the hard drive thinking I was able to reboot the computer and install Win2000 without much difficulty. Yet, upon starting up I am asked for a system disk which I do not have.

How can I obtain this system disk?

Thank you.

Question by:idiazmd
    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    Can you boot from CD? If not, download an images of the boot floppies from
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    Your Windows 200 CD is a bootalbe one?
    And Please go to BIOS and try whether your harddisk is detected by BIOS or not. If it not try to tide your hard disk.

    BR Dushan
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    If your computer was shipped with W98 it is probably able to boot from CD. So you have to figure out why it is still trying to boot from your harddisk.

    First of all, the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive has to be recognized by the systembios. When it is an original Dell drive you shouldn't have any problems here. It the drive is recognised, make sure that CD-ROM or DVD-ROM has a higher priority in the bootsequence than your harddrive. Depending on the systembios (I don't know Dell that well) there can be three different ways the option may look like.
    1 - You've got a couple of items called First/Second/Third/Fourth/... bootdevice, with values behind it. Make sure that both the harddrive and the CD-ROM are in this list and the CD-rom is above the harddrive.
    2 - You've got an title saying "Boot device priority" with several devices listed below. Highlight the CD-ROM and increase it's prio by pressing the (+) key. Depending on the bios, it can be either the + on the alphanummeric part or the numpad on your keyboard, or both.
    3 - You've got one single line saying "Boot device priority" with a comma-seperated list. This is the least flexible bios, but hey, still works. Select "CD-ROM, C, A" or something else where CD-ROM is in front of the C-drive.

    Second, the CD-ROM should be bootable. The original CD's are bootable. But if you made an backup-copy, it might not be bootable. In that case you'll have to create bootdisks or download them at When booting from CD, you'll might get the question to press a key to boot from CD. Keep an eye out for this question, as you have only a couple of seconds to respond. If you are in the unfortunate situation that you have an slow-adjusting TFT-screen that adjusts itself just before the bootstrap, you might press the spacebar 'blindly'.

    If everything works out, you'll be booting your OS in no-time.

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