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Refurbishing an Older Desktop

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by anamandy, May 4, 2010.

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  1. anamandy

    anamandy Thread Starter

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    Hi All, My sister purchased a new desktop and gave me her older Dell desktop which I want to put in a guest room so when my nieces and nephews visit they have something to use (and won't use my laptops.) Anyway, it was full of her files, which I deleted, but all that was left on the computer was 1gb of storage space. Her system had XP Pro which I'd like to replace with either XP Home or Linx (never used in my life). When I went into my computer I saw that there was only 1 partition of Fat32. What I want to do is reformat the whole hard drive (have no idea how to do that) partition some of it for Fat32 (don't know how to do that either) and make the rest NTS (again, need help on how to do this). All I have is two XP Home disk which came with my laptops. I don't even know if these are the whole applications. Anyway, as I am not tech savy at all I really don't know where to start or if this is even the right forum to post this info. I don't want to purchase any new hardware for this computer either (except maybe more memory) since it seems to have all that I would need anyway, Here are the specs for this computer:

    40 GB Hard Drive
    Intel Pentium III Processor
    930 Mhtz
    256 MB Ram
    Generic Floppy Drive
    Generic CD Rom Drive
    Generic DVD/Write Drive

    I don't have many of the drivers for the hardware either so I would need to know what to do in that case too or wouldx the OS do that. As this is the first time I'm attempting to do anything like this I'm a little intimidated by the prospect, so any help you can give would go a long way to boosting my already flagging confidence. Thanks guys, for any help you can give me.
     
  2. arknorth

    arknorth

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    Okay - I'd like to know why you'd want to mix formats like that - NTSF the whole thing in my book - but also, I think you might be going a bit too much on a simple solution.

    XP Pro is fine for them - there's no issues with surfing with that program. Also, since it has some extra safegaurds in it, when the kids show up, there's less of a chance for something they did on that computer doing something nasty to others on the home network - leave XP Pro in there.

    Second - if your sister never replaced the OS in this Dell before (IE: It's in Original Factory setup), and if you look at the My Computer page and see what looks like TWO hard drives, then your simplest thing awaits you - just run the System Restore function at bootup (F10 or F12 while the DELL logo is up I believe) and tell your computer to do a HEAVY or FULL RESTORE. Not only will it make the machine act as if it were just delivered to you from Dell (and not your sister), but it will wipe out ALL of her data properly, and also reset all drivers for your machine without you having to go find them afterwards (which you would have to do if you replace the OS with XP Home). This should set your computer up properly for the kids to surf to their hearts content - until they realize just how slow that PIII processor is. You might want to find out just how much RAM this beastie takes to at least give them a sporting chance on the net.

    BTW - Those XP Home disks that you have for your laptop are FOR YOUR LAPTOP - they probably wont work for the desktop, and will cause you to destroy a perfectly working OS - DON'T USE THEM!

    A-N
     
  3. Compiler

    Compiler

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    Those notebook "XP HOME" or whatever discs will not work on the Dell. You need to use the Dell recovery partition or original Dell restore/OS discs.

    Stick with XP-PRO.

    Also, locate a stick of 512mb DDR or SDR memory (check your requirements) - PC Wizard or the Dell support site can tell you.

    That PIII is already pretty old as it is... and adding another 512mb would make a difference in performance. You should be able to find such used memory for about $5~ 10 or so.
     
  4. anamandy

    anamandy Thread Starter

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    Thanks for your help guys but there are a few problems I have that will prevent me from doing what you said. My sister's computer originally had Win ME. A friend loaded his copy of XP Pro. He no longer has the disk since he's moved on to Win 7. The reason I wanted to reformat the hard drive is because when I put the kids music on (13 gb- teens, ya know) that left only 1 gb left. I know that fat32 waste a lot of disk space- especially for music. The reason I wanted to mix formats was so that I could put the operation system on one partitian, and leave the rest for the kids music and whatever else they wanted to use it for. I know they like sharing videos too. Also, there is only one hard drive on the computer and it also has an ethernet port.
     
  5. anamandy

    anamandy Thread Starter

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    See my reply above.
     
  6. Compiler

    Compiler

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    Well, unless you have a legit OS disc & key handy, there is nobody here who is allowed to help you.

    Perhaps someone has a Retail XP that they are no longer using?

    Otherwise, your looking at buying a copy of Windows for $100+... which of course isn't worth it for a 10 year old computer. You should also make sure you can get XP drivers for the computer. Do a clean install of the OS in NTFS. Being that its a 40GB HD... FAT32 or NTFS won't make much difference.

    The safest thing you can do is simple go into the PC and delete ALL user data not needed (Create a new account, then delete the old one and its files) go through ALL TEMP & temporary folders and empty them out. Then defrag the HD. Don't ever install SP3 on that computer.

    Remember, create a new Account and delete the old one. Be aware that some desktop icons are associated with the old account. Also uninistall any software that is not needed.
     
  7. arknorth

    arknorth

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    Okay - but still - XP Pro is the better way to go (I kind of thought that beastie was a bit old not to have Me on it). I'd still also go with the NTSF settings.

    Mind you, a second HD isn't impossible to stick into this beastie, if you're willing to add memory as well. A cheap IDE/PATA drive would cure all. Since you're in this 'old clunker' mode, I'd try just deleting all files not wanted (saving any good programs that you might want to keep - no reason to nuke something that might turn out best saved in the future), add the memory and add a second HD (transferring all that music to it, and leaving the boot HD as the program runner) and go with that. Otherwise, you're going to have to get a new OS.

    A-N
     
  8. anamandy

    anamandy Thread Starter

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    Can I just change the OS to Linx? Also, does Linx have an application for music, like WMP?
     
  9. arknorth

    arknorth

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    You could, but without knowing if any of the internal devices have drivers that will allow them to work with Lynix, it would probably not be for the best.

    A-N
     
  10. Compiler

    Compiler

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    You can play with Linux without installing it to a HD.... but if you're not computer savvy, you may want to follow what was suggested... clean up the junk, defrag.
     
  11. anamandy

    anamandy Thread Starter

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    For some reason I can't defrag. I keep getting an error message. Can't remember what the message is though I am told that it does need to be degraged.
     
  12. Compiler

    Compiler

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    Most likely, the drive is FULL... Windows DEFRAG requires at least 15% drive space empty.

    So...
    1 - delete account (after creating a new one)
    2 - Turn off SYSTEM restore (right click on MY computer, System Restore tab)
    3 - With Windows explorer, go to C:/windows/temp - delete everything in there.
    4 - Empty recycle bin

    You have a 40GB HD, how much space is free?

    go to www.download.com - and get SpaceMonger - its free. When you run it, click off the "FREE SPACE" - and look for LARGE files (like movies, TV shows) music files... junk files.

    If you don't know what you're looking at and if you know how to do it, screen shot Space Monger and we can tell you what you can possibly delete. but that'll also show us what is on the computer.
     
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