Windows XP boots - but reinstall gets BSOD

Robert used Ask the Experts™
Hi -

Am getting BSOD when trying to reinstall Windows XP Pro from CD.

Got a Dell Vostro 420.  Has been acting up - tried to install LogMeIn but the install program does not run.  With other buggy things, I've decided to reinstall the OS, WinXP Pro.

I've tried two different CDs, each one comes up with a BSOD after Windows Setup runs.

Boot sequence involves the following:
1  Power up
2  BIOS tests run
3  Press F12 to get Boot Menu
4  Choose CD/DVD - "Press any key to boot from the CD..."
5  Windows Setup begins - appears to load all
6  Starting Windows message, then,  

The 1st CD has SP1.  Its BSOD consistently is:
BSOD - no details other than stop.
The 2nd CD has SP3. Its BSOD consistently is:
BSOD points to pci.sys.
I've had motherboards with bulging/leaking capacitors - but all the capacitors look fine.
If I let the Vostro boot normally to Windows, it will do so without any complaint.

Here's one odd thing:  When I turn off the PC after the BSOD, the NumLock light stays lit:
NumLock Stays Lit even though PC powered down

Here's another:  I then booted into the Dell Utility Partition and ran the diagnostics.  The Graphics failed twice:

1. Error Code 5300:061F

VIDEO - User indicated failure of a graphic problem

I got the Out of Range message here during the various display tests:
Out of Range

2. Error Code 5300:0820

VIDEO - Failure of a solid color pattern
Red not solid, other colors were a solid singular rectangleSo, I thought the graphics card might be the problem.  I removed it and tried booting & loading Windows XP but got the same results, so it appears.

Any ideas on this?  Help!

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Regarding this error code: 0xf78d2524

Try this:

1. On start up (Dell logo), press F2 to enter BIOS

2. Expand the "Drives" section

3. Go to "SATA Operation"

4. Change this from "RAID Auto/AHCI" to "RAID Auto/ATA"
I agree that the problem is most likely that hard disk is set the AHCI mode. You can either select AHA mode in BIOS or install the F6 hard disk controller drivers during XP setup. You'll need a floppy disk with drivers or will need to slipstream drivers onto the XP CD.


The SATA options are ATA, RAID, or AHCI.  The default per this BIOS (ver 1.0.3) is AHCI.

I made the change from AHCI to ATA and attempted to load a fresh WinXP, but got the same BSOD.

Does the pci.sys suggest anything?

Note - I haven't had problems loading drivers after the OS was installed, including chipset & network.  Except when I was installing on a netbook with no CD/DVD drive available.  I needed to get the controller driver in order to see the hard drive.  Don't have that problem here.

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Top Expert 2013

i would test ram and disk to be sure about the basics
best download UBCD to run memtest86+ for ram, ands disk diag for your disk brand :
deroodeSystems Administrator

Sounds like a physical disk problem. You can try to run testdisk ( or much better: Grc's spinrite:
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
The first BSOD is lack of SATA controller driver caused.
The second one is also lack of the driver in XP CD or the driver is wrong.
Try slipstreaming the drivers


I ran memtest and no errors were found.

This PC has a 2nd hard drive installed as a backup.  I tried disconnecting each HD one at a time.  The BSODs that resulted were the same.

The only test that showed failure was the graphics test.  I removed the graphics card and let the onboard video take over.  The BSODs were the same.

Will try to find the right driver and load it F6 during Windows Setup loading.  Will post more later.

Thanks - UB - in the meantime, any more ideas?!
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
The driver issues looks as the only culprit at the moment. Stick with this line for now.
Top Expert 2013

disconnect all external devices, and the internal that are not needed for the install :
extra disk, cd, network card, sound card...or disable them in the bios


I'm stuck.  Can't find the driver for the SATA controller.  Is there some way around this?  Is there some way to find one?

Top Expert 2013

you find them on the site of the manufacturer of the PC, or motherboard
if you post it, we can assist
The Dell OEM CDs of WinXP would have the drivers already on them, in your case the Vostro you have would likely have come with no CDs and instead a factory restore image on the hard drive and a utlity to make factory restore discs as well as a utility to make backups (and to restore said backups) you're supposed to have made
Trying to use some other WinXP CD, other than retail, doesn't work and is problematic, as you've learned above.

This following article list is moot if you can't get the hard drive controller drivers on in the first place as part of the install, which you could do with the factory restore image or discs you would make (per prev paragraphs links)'

Dell Vostro 420 drivers are here (I went to, chose support, drivers downloads, choose by model (could've done by serivce tag) )

Don't concern yourself with HDD driver patches just yet, it's the controller you've got to get into the XP install, which won't be easy, as getting it onto a floppy or slipstreaming it into an XP install set, is a bit of an expert trick.  It should be one of these two, (from the category Serial ATA) entering the drivers download area by machine service tag might've narrowed down your choice for you (see the Installation instructions section where it explains this needs to be put on floppy and used during initial OS install, but do you have a floppy drive? what about a small USB stick compatible with usb 1.1?)
You'll need this JMicron driver if you need eSATA access

and you'll need all the other applicable drivers that match your hardware installed in the order as per the paragraph 3 up.


OK - XP is now Installing, thanks to pre-loading the Dell INFO,RAID0 driver file via F6 in Windows Setup.  I was able to load the drivers onto a FAT32 formatted 1 GB USB drive and the Vostro & Windows Setup recognized it as Drive A:  

This Vostro has no floppy installed.

The only snafu was that there were drivers for other controllers and I took an educated guess which one to load.  

Thanks to all - UB

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