A big mess...

I recently wanted to do a clean install of XP home edition on  my Dell Dimension 9100 machine.  I did not know that Dell PCs had a PC restore feature on them (still cannot find that feature even though it says it exists on websites) I ended up reinstalling Windown on the e partition.  I now have 2 operating systems on C and E partitions and I am no closr to doing my clean install than I was before.  I need to know how to eliminate the E partition and how to acccess and activate the PC restore on my Dell.  I tried the method suggested online of holding down the cntrol key and pressing F11 as the Dell screen appears at the startup, but that did not work.

I tried doing another clean install of XP to delete the E partition.  Deleted E and then tried to quit the install process, but that did not work either.  I am now faced with three choices at startup.
xp Home Edition1
XP home edition original
XP setup

Please help!
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search for a file called boot.ini. you will ahve to enable hidden files and folders to see it.
open it with notepad and delete the entries you do not want. then format thos partitions, or delete the corrisponding window folders.

or boot to the cd delete all partitions and start over if this is what you wanted was to start with a clean slate.

at teh screen where it shows the parttions press"D" then enter then "L" until they are all gone.
samhfoleyAuthor Commented:
I cannot delete the C partition.  It won't let me.  That's why I think the Dell PC restore comes into play, but I cannot seem to access it.

I was able to get rid of the 2nd operating system by doing a system restore.  I am now back to square 1 of wanting to do a clean install, but not know to do it with this PC because it won't let me delete the C partition.
boot up from a dos disk....

run fdisk

delete everything

reboot from install media

job done :D

if you don't have a boot disk you might be able to find one at


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do you know how to get into bios for your machine? if so go in there and make sure that silent or express boot are not enabled. this should give you more options on bootup. i am sure that the hidden partition is accessible through a function key--mine is f12 but try this and look for the prompts.
Jeff BrownGlobal Helpdesk SupervisorCommented:
okee  you are in the middle of a bunch of problems

first when u reinstalled there is a good chance you blew the recovery partition away  if you want to try and see if it is still there here is what u do

power off the unit
power it back on
when it asks which os you want to load  (choose the old one)
imediately hit the f8 key to get the safe mode options
there should be one  that looks out of place it will say  
active directory repair for (domain controllers only)
even tho you don't  have a domain controller  it will access the eisa partition and start the recovery software
but i'm willing to bet  you already got rid of it

now to do it the other way  you need a windows xp cd and preferably your dell drivers cd  how ever while your laptop is working now you can hit dell's site and download all of your drivers for that system  and burn them to a cd

then reboot the system with the windows xp cd in the drive (oem or dell branded cd is recomended)
start the installation procedure  it will ask twice if you want to repair the installation  choose no both times

the next thing it will ask is what partition you want to  put it on
select each partition one at a time and choose delete
until it says everything is unallocated space
then create a partition use as much of the drive for this partition as you want (max if you do not want to use more than one partition)
then choose that partition to install windows on
and follow the rest of the installation instructions
if you are using a dell branded xp cd   it probably won't ask for your product key
if you are using a oem cd it will ask for your product key but should take the one from your dell sticker (activation will be required and it may even require that annoying call to microsoft's activation center  but they never have a problem activating it for me in this fashion
if you are using some other cd it may not take the number that is on your system and they may not activate it depending on where u got the number to install it and how many times that number has been activated before and recently

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samhfoleyAuthor Commented:
I was able to access the boot menu with F12, from there I could boot with the XP disk whereas before I was unable to.  Booting from the XP disk allowed me to delete all of the partitions and get started with a clean installation of Windows.  Thanks for your help!
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