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Dell Dimension 8400 system restore / hard drive questions

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by 46and2, Apr 8, 2010.

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  1. 46and2

    46and2 Thread Starter

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    I have a friend who has a Dell Dimension 8400 that is having major problems with his hard drive. He is unable to open any programs (all the exe files are missing).

    I attempted last night to boot his computer from the CD ROM with the Windows XP system restore disk to re-install Windows XP on his computer.

    During the boot process I hit F12 and it allowed me to choose the boot from CD ROM option. It then goes to a blue screen and at the bottom it shows some drivers and other programs it's loading. Then it comes to a screen that states, hit enter to re-install Windows XP, hit R to fix a problem with Windows XP and hit F3 to exit.

    I tried both enter to re-install Windows and R ro fix a problem with Windows. When I do either it stated something to the effect that there was no hard drive installed on the computer? I then exit out, and it starts to boot from the hard drive and loads into Windows XP fine, but once again, he can't start any programs because it cannot find the file to use to load any given program.

    Sounds like some sort of virus? The questions I have are, is there anything I can do to salvage his existing hard drive and re-install Windows XP? (he has already backed up everything from the hard drive). and question 2, can he just buy a new hard drive and use the Dell Windows XP restore/re-install CD?

    Thanks in advance.

    - Ray
     
  2. Mumbodog

    Mumbodog

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    No virus, the 8400 needs a sata driver to be loaded before XP setup can see the drive due to a bios setting

    If you are going to reinstall clean (no repair), then enter the bios and change the "Drive Controller" setting to "RAID Autodetect/ATA"

    Save changes on exit of the bios.

    XP setup will see the drive now and install.

    This setting should not be changed once XP is installed, if you change it, it will not boot.

    8400 bios
    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim8400/SM/syssetup.htm#wp1052336

    .
     
  3. CindyB

    CindyB

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    I have a Dimension 8400, and I had a similar issue. When I booted from the XP reinstall CD, and tried to reinstall, it gave me a message within a few screens, and it would not get past that error. I posted the message in my thread here onthis board, and was told that that error meant the hard drive was bad. So, I bought a new one, installed it, and reinstalled Windows (with a lot of help from this forum!) and I am back in business. It took quite a bit of time, but it was well worth the effort.
     
  4. 46and2

    46and2 Thread Starter

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    Thank you very much Mumbo, I will give that a shot and see if it works.

    Just out of curiosity, was there a virus going around about 3-4 weeks ago that would wipe out all the .exe files on your hard drive? His computer is acting VERY strange, and i'm just curious as to how it got that way.

    Thanks again. I'll post back with progress soon.
     
  5. Mumbodog

    Mumbodog

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  6. 46and2

    46and2 Thread Starter

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    Thanks again, new install worked like a charm after that one setting was changed.

    Case, closed.
     
  7. 46and2

    46and2 Thread Starter

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    :(

    I spoke too soon. I was in Windows XP last night after the install, everything was working GREAT.

    This morning I booted the computer again and went into setup (bios) changed it to Raid Autodetect/AHCI, saved changes, and booted again. Now I'm getting an error that it cannot load the diskette, says to hit F1 to continue or F2 to enter setup, if I hit F1 I get a blue screen of death that states, if this is the first time this has happened, reboot your computer, if not check for viruses, or check that your hard drive is connected (which it is), or check your hard drive for errors?

    I know it must be something silly i'm missing? I was in Windows last night and it worked great.

    Please help ;)

    Thanks,

    - Ray
     
  8. Mumbodog

    Mumbodog

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    You are welcome, please mark this thread "Solved" by using the solved button just above your first post.

    .
     
  9. Mumbodog

    Mumbodog

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    As I said earlier, you cannot change that setting after the OS is installed, change it back.

    .
     
  10. 46and2

    46and2 Thread Starter

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    So i just need to enter the bios setup and change it back to RAID Autodetect/ATA, save everything, reboot and it will work fine?

    Another question, why is it making me hit F1 to continue (even when I still had it set to RAID Autodetect/ATA)?
     
  11. Mumbodog

    Mumbodog

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    Yes.

    Is there any other message with that F1 to continue?

    .
     
  12. 46and2

    46and2 Thread Starter

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    It says something to the effect that it cannot load off diskette, press F1 to continue or F2 to enter setup. (this was when it was set to RAID Auto/ATA but I hit F2 instead of F1 to change it to Autodetect/AHCI, so i'm not sure what would have happened if I were to hit F1 instead). I'll try changing it back to Raid Autodetect/ATA when I get home and rebooting to see what happens. Just wondering why it keeps telling me it can't boot from the diskette? (I have the boot sequence in the bios set to SATA first, then the cd rom and all the others state not available or seomthing like that.)

    Thanks again!
     
  13. Mumbodog

    Mumbodog

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    If your 8400 does not have a floppy drive, then disable the floppy drive in the bios.

    .
     
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