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Reformatting a master HDD with a disk from another computer

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by captainphoenix, Sep 9, 2010.

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  1. captainphoenix

    captainphoenix Thread Starter

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    So my desktop croaked, and my best guess was to just reformat. However, due to boot issues, I cannot do this from the desktop. So I pulled the master HDD (since I also have a slave) and hooked it up to my laptop with a HD casing via USB. I have the proper Dell XP Pro SP3 disk, and I was advised to type the following into "run" to get the laptop to reformat the desktop's HDD:

    "

    D:\I386\winnt32.exe /syspart:G: /tempdrive:G: /makelocalsource /noreboot

    "

    D:\ being the path assigned to the disk drive and G:\ to the HDD.

    Unfortunately this has not worked. For whatever reason I keep getting the message "Cannot install CGIPLUS.CA_", along with about a dozen other files. The problem seems to be that "All values are zero", and, although I cannot find any of these files on the disk, they seem to at least exist. I thought I could just skip the step and add the necessary files via the laptop, but at the end it tells me the reformat failed because it could not install these files. In the end I spend about 30 minutes getting no where.

    I also get these exact same messages when trying to install using the Dell XP Pro SP2 disk, so I sincerely doubt it has anything to do with the OSCD's.

    I realize I can completely reformat the drive from the laptop by just right clicking on the "G:" icon under My Computer and clicking "format", wipe it completelyl clean, put it back into the desktop, and try installing windows from scratch on the desktop. However, I am concerned this may have the effect of deleting certain basic OS files that may be necessary to even access the CD-ROM, which would leave the harddrive and, effectively, the whole of the desktop computer dead, since there would be no way to install any OS. Maybe I'm just paranoid.

    Anyways, all I want is the desktop to get to Windows, no matter how it gets there. Any ideas?
     
  2. DVOM

    DVOM

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    You don't need any OS files installed to be able to run the CD/DVD. I would reinstall the HDD into your desktop, disconnect your slave drive, put your XP SP3 CD into the tray and reboot from the CD. From there you'll be able to format the drive and install Windows.

    You may need to access your BIOS to enable booting from CD as first boot device.

    Of course I'm assuming that your desktop failure isn't hardware related as that would be a different issue.
     
  3. captainphoenix

    captainphoenix Thread Starter

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    Cannot access BIOS. All I get when I turn on the desktop is a blank black screen.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    "Reformatting" is not the issue at all. It is just one small part of the process. It is installing Windows that you need to concentrate. Formatting just leaves you with an empty drive and is done during installation, anyway.

    XP needs to be installed on the machine that will use it. Even if you succeeded in installing to the USB drive, it would not boot nor run from a different machine once moved.

    Only the original Dell CD that came with the machine can be used, and it can only be used on the machine it came with. If you have no recovery partition (in place of CD's), you need to buy XP from Dell (if your desktoip is a Dell). The disks are usually modestly priced.
     
  5. captainphoenix

    captainphoenix Thread Starter

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    I have XP from Dell. It is the same CD I have been using for years now, usually reformatting twice a year since January of 2008. Nothing has ever gone wrong with this process until now. I cannot get to BIOS on the desktop, so it is impossible to install anything using the desktop's components. What I need to be able to do is install Windows onto the HDD via another computer, because the desktop is fried. I do not understand how buying the exact same disk I already have will help.
     
  6. huggie54

    huggie54

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    hiya,the CMOS battery may want renewing,this could prevent you accessing BIOS,
     
  7. captainphoenix

    captainphoenix Thread Starter

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    how on earth do i get it off to test/replace it? the thing feels like its soldered to the motherboard.
     
  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    That is the point. You can't install Windows on a different machine and have it work. It has to be installed on the machine that will use it, and that machine has to be the one that goes with the Dell CD.,
     
  9. captainphoenix

    captainphoenix Thread Starter

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    So, in short, installing XP via another computer is simply impossible, correct?
     
  10. DVOM

    DVOM

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    If you can't get to the BIOS and it won't boot to a CD, you've probably got a serious hardware problem.

    You haven't told us what this machine does when you try to boot it. Does it start to boot and hang, does it go straight to a black screen, does it give any error messages?
     
  11. Anon B

    Anon B

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  12. captainphoenix

    captainphoenix Thread Starter

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    @DVOM:
    The LED on the front behind the power button turns blue. The fans kick on and the computer gives a single beep. Outside of that nothing else happens. The monitor was black to begin with, and is black now, and ever will be. The LED on the bottom of the monitor is amber, indicating that it does not recognize any sort of connection. However, when attached to my laptop, the monitor works just fine, so the monitor is not at fault. The thing is a boat anchor with a removeable drive and a pair of fans. NOTHING happens when I try to boot it.

    N
    O
    T
    H
    I
    N
    G
     
  13. captainphoenix

    captainphoenix Thread Starter

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    @elvandil:
    Followed steps to a "t". Had no (zero) effect. Officially still unresolved.
     
  14. captainphoenix

    captainphoenix Thread Starter

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    Update: Contacted Dell. They are going to send a technician with a new motherboard and a new set of RAM chips. Will update on results after technician finishes.
     
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