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Solved: Dell Dimension "INF Install Failure"

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by nildefects, Jan 26, 2010.

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  1. nildefects

    nildefects Thread Starter

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    Hi Guys,

    I am trying to reinstall XP Home on my friends Dell Dimension 2400 desktop.
    He complained of the PC running extremely slowly. So I used the original dell operating system disc and re-installed XP Home.
    I'm not joking when I say that it took 10 hours to load!!!!!!!!!
    Also near the end I got the message "INF Install Failure" reason "The Handle is Invalid".
    I have done a search on the problem and their are various answers but none of them conclusive.
    People have mentioned clearing the VRAM and increasing the speed in task manager etc, but nothing conclusive.
    I thought it might be the hard drive so I tried another one I had lying about and the same happen. 10 hours to load and the same fail message.
    This problem seems to be very common with Dells??
    I would appreciate any help. Thanks.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Have you tried installing without the disks (only with the original drive, of course--a different one not from Dell may not work)? Possibly the disks are defective or scratched.

    Ctrl+F11 on boot.
     
  3. nildefects

    nildefects Thread Starter

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    Hi,
    No there isn't a recovery partition still on the original hard drive. Somebody else managed to delete it previously.
    Thanks.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    That sounds familiar. I wish people would make a complete disk image when they got machines with those things. Going back to 0 may not be palatable, but it is better than nothing.

    So, are you unable to complete the installation due to that problem? How far from the end do you think you are?

    Any chance there was something else wrong with that machine? The HDD occurred to me, as it did to you. Memory is a possibility, though I'd expect more problems than you have. But...10 hours? It should be less than an hour for a "normal" installation. The recovery disks should be creating the recovery partition, too, so it may take longer, but not that long.

    Are you starting with a blank drive, or partitioning during setup? I'm wondering how that works if the recovery partition needs to be recreated. Do you use the partitioning options during setup, are there any, or are you just following all the defaults?

    Is this all the original Dell hardware? Is this an Intel board and the "Inf Installer" the chipset drivers, or do you know?
     
  5. nildefects

    nildefects Thread Starter

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    Hi,
    Thanks for your reply.
    I left the machine running last night and it was still in process in the morning. It was telling me that there was only 13minutes remaining, but that was after about 20 hours running.
    I am selecting the format option each time. "C" is the only partition on the drive. I made sure of that before installing it into the PC. The Dell XP disc takes me to the options of where to install it and to format "C".
    Today I have removed the memory and installed a 1GB stick from another desktop. (A stick that is compatible with the Dell). I tried installing XP again. Still the same delayed process.
    I have now swapped out both the IDE ribbons (CD Drive and HDD) and have replaced them with some spares I had. I now currently trying to load XP again.
    In short I have now replaced the memory, the HDD and the IDE ribbons. The installation never finishes. It gets passed the options to select language and keyboard set up. Then seems to freeze at 13 minutes to go.
    In answer to the last question. It is an original Dell Dimension hardware set up, with an intel board and original dell recovery discs.
    Many thanks.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    It certainly sounds like a hardware problem. The hard drive is now the main suspect. It can't seem to write properly to the drive.

    Free Hard Drive Testing Applications:

    Manufacturer's Tests
    Victoria for DOS
    Victoria for Windows (Both versions of Victoria are among the best and most thorough tests available.)
    HD Tune
    CheckDisk 1.03 (Marks bad sectors as unusable.)
    HDAT2 (Diagnostics and bad sector recovery)
    MHDD Low-level Diagnostics
    Bootable Hitachi Drive Fitness Test Floppy or CD Image (works on most drives)

    Hard Drive Manufacturers' Diagnostic Utilities Links:

    TachTech
    BleepingComputer
     
  7. nildefects

    nildefects Thread Starter

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    Thanks for getting back to me.
    I am already on the second hard drive though. I suspected the dell 40gb hard drive at first and installed one of my 160gb drives that I had handy. It came out of a working PC so I assumed it was ok. It has been formatted several times now.
    I am now trying to load an XP Pro disc of mine at the minute. Just to see if it's the dell recovery disc at fault. I'll let you know how it goes.
     
  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Besides formtting, you also need to partition. Remove the current partitions (if there is no data you want), create new one(s), and then format.

    Are the jumpers set correctly?

    If this is a SATA drive, try setting the speed-limiting jumper on it.

    If you are absolutely positive that the other memory is good, you might still test it. Static could have harmed in even while moving it.

    MemScope (Floppy and CD images.)
    Roadkil's RAM Test
    Microsoft Memory Test (floppy or CD ISO image)
    Memtest86

    If you have enough memory sticks, you can test them by removing one at a time and see if the problem disappears.

    If you are running Vista, tap F8 on boot and choose the memory diagnostic, or if you can boot up, go to Start > Search and type:

    mdsched.exe

    Choose to run a memory diagnostic on next boot. Or, you can boot from the DVD and run it from there.
     
  9. nildefects

    nildefects Thread Starter

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    Hi,
    The drives I've been using are PATA with IDE connections. This Dell PC is 6 years old.
    I have been setting the jumpers to master as there is only one drive in at a time.
    I have just installed the 3rd hard drive of mine. Deleted all partitions and am waiting for XP Pro to load once again.
    I have tried 2 more RAM sticks also this time. The only things that are original now in the PC are the Motherboard, power supply and CPU. Is there any chance they could be faulty?
    If it doesn't work this time I'm going to suggest to my friend that we put the thing to sleep with a hammer or shovel.
     
  10. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    That master setting may be a problem. Check the diagram. Many need no jumper when masters, and many Dells use cable-select and not master/slave.

    The cable needs to correspond, too, as either "straight-through" for master/slave, or CS with different colored connectors for master/slave and the drives set to CS.

    I think we are getting at the root of the problem. Jumpers are supposed to be the easy part, but I've spent hours in the past with similar problems. The drive does not co-operate, either, by just failing to work at all. It works partially, giving you a false sense that the settings are right. :D
     
  11. nildefects

    nildefects Thread Starter

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    Thanks. I'm going to stop the process and have a look at the jumpers again.
     
  12. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    It's those small things that we often tend to overlook. It can even look perfectly all right in BIOS with the wrong jumper settings.
     
  13. nildefects

    nildefects Thread Starter

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    Running XP recovery disc again with cable select jumpers.
     
  14. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    OK. Is it a CS cable? Is the jumper set for no slave and by itself (probably no jumper, but the diagram will tell you)? Is it connected to the connector that is marked "Drive0", the one on the far end?
     
  15. nildefects

    nildefects Thread Starter

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    Hi.
    I don't think it is a cs cable as it only has a
    connector at each end, not one in the middle.
    It is connected to the primary IDE connection on the motherboard and the DVD drive is connected to the secondary IDE connection.
     
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