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Solved

Windows XP installation won't start

Posted on 2011-02-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi,

I have a Dell Vostro 200 that is just giving me fits!  It started out looking like a bad HD since chkdsk failed and it still fails in read only mode after doing a chkdsk /r /f.  The box is running XP pro.

I bought a new drive, imaged the old and put the image on the new drive. Well, you guessed it, same problem. So I decided that the file structure is just beyond repair I need a clean install of windows.

Popped in the XP CD and I get stuck at “Setup is inspecting your computer’s hardware configuration…

I have done the following:

1: Tried another CD
2: Flashed the BIOS to the latest rev
3: Removed both disks (old and new) and tried booting from the Windows CD
4: Swapped the CD drive
5: Ran the Dell hardware diags – Clean.

Nothing seems to help. I can’t boot from BartPE (not a surprise) and I can’t boot Ubuntu (surprise) from a CD either. Arrgh!

Any suggestions?

Oh btw, I can boot from either HD just fine. Things are just very slow.
I saw the same thing with the chkdsk on a Dell Dimension a month ago but was able to re-install windows on that box. It was a different network.
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Question by:ccampbell15
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11 Comments
 
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 34993736
>>> I can’t boot from BartPE (not a surprise) and I can’t boot Ubuntu (surprise)

You should be able to boot from either one. And you say you swapped the CD drive. So do you perhaps have a system board problem?  Which may have been responsible for the initial errors.

... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:sjklein42
ID: 34993739
Memory?

Maybe it is a memory problem that only shows up when the memory load is sufficient, like during the install.  If there are more two or more memory chips in the PC, I would take out all but one and see if it fails the same way.  If so, I'd try the other memory chip instead.  If it still fails, then it is not the memory.
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Expert Comment

by:edbedb
ID: 34993794
Try removing all the partitions from the hard drive first.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 34993814
>>> Try removing all the partitions from the hard drive first.  

That is a good idea for installing XP (I do that myself), but partitions or the lack of them should not cause booting from a bootable CD to fail. ... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:edbedb
ID: 34993846
"partitions or the lack of them should not cause booting from a bootable CD to fail."

The lack of them wouldn't but a badly corrupted partition might.
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Author Comment

by:ccampbell15
ID: 34993929
Tried with the partitions yesterday, no luck.

It gets a little stranger. I just popped in a Vista DVD and it came right up. I was going to run the memory diag but I get an error " A problem is preventing Windows from checking for memory problems during startup Try to check for problems again by running the tool manually"

So now I'm installing Vista on the new HD to see what happens. I need to get XP on there (customers machine) but am curious if it will complete the installation and then if I can run the memory diag from the control panel.

I'll post back when its done.
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 34993942
It is strange that Vista will install (presumably from CD) and yet bootable CD's won't run.

Since this machine will load Vista, is the drive a SATA drive? If so, you cannot install XP natively. You can try, in the BIOS, setting AHCI to compatability mode, but my recall is that Dell may not supply that option. Try it and see. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:ccampbell15
ID: 34994060
I can't find anything called AHCI in the BIOS.  Seems rather strange that Dell would ship a system with a Sata DVD and XP pre-loaded and also provide an XP cd that won't work.

Where does one find AHCI?

The Vista install completed and I'm running the memory diag now. wth?
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John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 34994095
Vendors would have the ability to slipstream SATA drivers into XP and load from an image. You might be able to get the DELL recovery CD for XP, but that will take some time and usually costs $50 or thereabouts. If you are not using the DELL recovery CD (and I suspect not), then that is the reason (SATA hard drive) that XP won't load.

If the option for AHCI is not in the BIOS (and my recall is that DELL does not have this option), then the option is not there.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:ccampbell15
ID: 34994155
Oddly enough I am using the Dell recovery CD but perhaps not the right one. This is actually for my church and there are liek a dozen Dell recovery CD's - lol

Looks like prro Connie is getting an insta dose of win 7. We have a few extra volume keys for that one.

TY
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 34994204
Thank you and thanks for the update. Good luck going forward. ... Thinkpads_User
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