Question about Dell Latitude C400 Notebook

4 Answers

Cant install xp to dell c400 with external cd-rom

With external usb cd-rom could do nothig cos bios doesnt show it,took out hdd and with external usb connected to another pc,tried to install showing in bios its drive bcant boot from it.
I appreciate your advice.

Posted by on

  • 3 more comments 
  • huskings Oct 23, 2008

    thank you for your reply!.No,it doesnt show.

    In BIOS there is BOOT FROM CD option but i am sure it isnt external one.

    What can I do ?

  • huskings Oct 24, 2008

    1. true

    2. true

    3. true

    4. true

    5. true!

    No,it had windows 2000.I suspect it doesn't support usb2.0.I tried two options:

    1)I took out the HDD,put into external usb box and connected via usb to a desktop PC.

    Booted XP CD,formatted it to NTFS and started installing.

    But whens XP installation reboots the desktop PC boots its own OS.

    2)Connected another working laptops HDD via usb to the Desktop PC and copied its OS folder.Now NTLDR is missing.


  • huskings Oct 25, 2008

    Hi i have a friends laptop that he needs windows xp installing onto.
    It has no Floppy Drive or CD Drive built into the laptop itself. He
    bought himself an external USB CD
    Drive but the laptop would not boot from it. I have found info on the
    net that this model does not support booting from USB Floppy Drives or
    USB CD Rom drives. You have to use the Dell C Series CD Rom.

    The laptop is a Dell C400. I have tried booting it from a USB Floppy Drive, CD ROM and a USB CD Rom and none of them work. I have tried to PXE
    boot it and deploy Windows XP using remote install services but that
    would not work either. I later found out that the BIOS version A03
    does not work correctly when PXE booting. I cannot update the BIOS as
    I cant boot from Floppy or CD Rom. I have tried putting the laptops
    hard drive into my PC, installed windows xp and put it back into the
    laptop but it would not boot up. I am
    pulling my hair out with this laptop. I have thought about copying the
    I386 folder onto the hard drive and installing it from there. How can
    I get the Hard Drive to boot into DOS and then I can run NTSETUP.exe
    from the I386 folder. Any help will be much appreciated! I am running
    out of Ideas!

  • VA_DC_MD Dec 01, 2008

    I got the same problem.

    The only way to do this is to pull the hard drive, and install windows on a computer that has a cd rom drive. Install windows on the other (laptop) and do not install any additional drivers.

    install the ethernet driver if needed and run all the windows update.

    Download all the drivers from dells website for the dell c400

    Once the drivers are all unzipped, note down all the paths it unzipped from to a text file.

    example: "c:\dell\drivers\audio"

    example: "c:\dell\drivers\audio\XP"

    example: "c:\dell\drivers\chipset"

    example: "c:\dell\drivers\chipset\something..."

    make sure to get them all and do not include the ""

    once you have all that information in a text file, sepeate each path of driver with a ";" and arrange it so there all on one line.

    example: c:\dell\drivers\audio;c:\dell\drivers\audio\XP;c:\dell\drivers\chipset;c:\dell\drivers\chipset\something

    again make sure to not include the ""'s....

    now copy the entire line

    go to start | run | regedit

    browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

    modify the DevicePath by double clicking

    do not delete anything that is in there, instead add a ; to the end and paste the rest

    this will point out all the folders and sub folders for all the dell C400 drivers

    go to microsofts website and download the latest version of sysprep

    run sysprep and leave all the default settings just to make it simple

    make sure to choose mini setup and shut down check boxes

    once complete the computer will strip any unique sids and create an image for deployment.

    you can then pop in the drive to the dell c400 and let it self install xp with all the drivers you have preloaded and all the windows updates installed without the cdrom or floppy drive, this is the best free solution to do this.

    below are some links to help you out.

    Good luck.

  • Anonymous Feb 11, 2009

    i have a dell computer but it will not boot with dell xp disc. but the dell disc will boot in my compact help



4 Answers

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

This is how I did it, you may or may not have the ability. A basic knowledge of Dos is necessary 1) I used another laptop but you could use an adapter to use the hard drive in a regular computer. 2)boot with a windows 98 boot disk, fdisk it to a fat32 partition, make the hard drive a system boot disk (format /s c:) 3) copy the i386 folder and all its contents from a full or full oem (not branded) disk to the laptop drive, also copy smartdrv and highmem.sys from the floppy (speeds thing up dramatically) and create a config.sys file with device=highmem.sys 4)physically install the hard drive back into the C400, boot to dos run smartdrv.exe, then go to the i386 folder and type winnt.exe (enter) wooo should work. MusslaChooda Pakichooda Nathuram Godse

Posted on Jun 14, 2009

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

I have exactly the same problem. The only way to do this without a docking station, diskette drive is to install a hd with an os already lozaded on it.
There is no bios which supports usb boot devices

Posted on May 10, 2011

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

Ok this is my prob my c400 is in working condition but when i first got it and boot it up some wack job had a windows 98 on it not it wont read my flash drive,mp3,ethernet or any thing i don know if buying a external cd-rom drive i dont want buy one if its not going to work. can any body i mean anyBODY helllp me. please. thanks in advance

Posted on Feb 08, 2011

  • Level 3:

    An expert who has achieved level 3 by getting 1000 points


    An expert that got 10 achievements.


    An expert that got 5 achievements.

    Vice President:

    An expert whose answer got voted for 100 times.

  • Dell Master
  • 998 Answers

See if the external CD drive shows up in the “One time boot menu”. Power on the laptop and tap the <F12> key to get to the boot menu.

Your responses are intended to improve the level of service provided. Please rate your experience.
Thank You.

Posted on Oct 23, 2008

  • Walter H Boehm Oct 23, 2008

    I’m not sure that I understand what you mean. Let me do a short recap:

    1) You want to reinstall Windows XP on your Dell Latitude C400

    2) The laptop does not have an internal CD drive.

    3) In the BIOS, (Setup menu ) you have the option to boot from CD.

    4) With an external CD drive plugged into a USB port, you selected the “One time boot menu” by tapping the key.

    5) The “One time boot menu” does not have an option to boot from external CD/DVD drive.

    Did this laptop have Windows XP loaded on it before?

    Is the “Windows XP disk” that you are trying to load a CD or DVD?

    Your responses are intended to improve the level of service provided. Please rate your experience.
    Thank You.

  • Walter H Boehm Oct 24, 2008

    You’re probably correct about the laptop not supporting 2.0 USB interface. Since your laptop BIOS has the option to boot from CD, can you remove the floppy drive, (if you have one) and install a CD drive in place of floppy? If so, I’m sure you could find a CD drive for this model on the internet.

    Your responses are intended to improve the level of service provided. Please rate your experience.

    Thank You.


1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

a 6ya Technician can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
Best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repair professionals here in the US.
click here to Talk to a Technician (only for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.

Posted on Jan 02, 2017

Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

I cant format my C400 with a pen drive

If you're tryng to format the HDD on a Dell latitude C400 (or install an OS), this thing will not boot to any USB devices (flash drives, pen drives, external USB cd-rom drives, etc.) - just ain't gonna happen since the BIOS doesn't support such boot devices. The only thing it'll boot to is (1) docking station, and (2) a Media Bay optical drive.

Sep 01, 2011 | Dell Latitude C400 Notebook

1 Answer

My dell latitude c400 will not boot from external cd rom or the brand new hard drive i need to put windows xp on it but it will not boot from anything can you helpnow i have found i have no drivers...

try other known good windows installer. if it boot, then the problem is in xp installer, if it not. try other external cd-rom drive. also be sure the disc rom drive are dvd rom drive because a cd rom drive cannot read dvd disc but a dvd rom drive can read cd rom disc installer

Feb 15, 2011 | Dell Latitude C400 Notebook

3 Answers

I have dell laptop latitude c400. Ican't reinstall the windows xp from external dvd writer. How can install the windows xp pls tell me?

This laptop will not give you an option to boot from a usb device or even from an external cd rom/dvd. You need to do a network install only for this particular model DEll c400. It is a long process and requires some skill of setting up a RIS server. You will also need a switch or hub to connect your laptop to it. Once your server is setup with dns, dhcp and ris you need to do a network boot and install the os. Get in touch with a professional to do it if your not familiar with this. I tried calling dell as i had a similar issue and they couldnt help me over the phone so they sent over a technician. Technician tried in vbain including removing my hdd and installing the os on his laptop and then putting the hard drive back into mine. It still didnt work. I then researched the net and figured out the only way to do it was via a remote installation.

Jun 13, 2010 | Dell Latitude C400 Notebook

1 Answer

Dell latitude c400 model PP03L, how to install xp no cd/dvd and don`t see usb from bios

If you already have an USB flas bootable with XP on it, plug in into the laptop, and when the laptop starts, press F12. Then you should select that the computer should boot from USB. If this won't work, try to attach an external DVD\cd unit.

Nov 04, 2009 | Dell Latitude C400 Notebook

1 Answer

Windows XP corrupted - Why can't I reload windows

You have to change the bios settings for making it boot from usb device. look at boot menu on the bios/usb cd-rom

Oct 10, 2009 | Dell Latitude C400 Notebook

2 Answers

Booting XP

I would purchase an external cd rom drive and use it to boot the system.

Sep 18, 2009 | Dell OptiPlex SX260 (SX2607QV0521) PC...

1 Answer

Dell latiyude C400

The system is in a reboot loop. Possible causes are:

Corrupt installation of Windows
Bad Hard Drive
Bad Motherboard.

Try booting to the Windows XP CD, see if you can access recovery console and run CHKDSK /R If that doesn't resolve, boot to the resource CD, and run diagnostics on the HDD

If you can't, boot to the XP CD or Resource CD, try removing the HDD and booting to the CD. If the system boots then, the HDD is most likely bad.

If you can't boot to any device, try RAM modules individually, see if system boots with only 1 module installed. If no change, then motherboard is bad. On a system this age, I do not recommend replacing a motherboard as it is not cost effective

Jun 22, 2009 | Dell Latitude C400 Notebook

2 Answers

Not booting from extrenal cd rom

Hi there.
Go into the bios of the computer, this is usually F2 on start up, go to boot options/priority and set the first boot device to USB, (make sure the external drive is connected). Save the changes and exit the bios, the computer will restart and boot from the external.

Good luck and thanks for using FixYa!!!

Mar 05, 2009 | Dell Latitude C400 Notebook

1 Answer

Satellite A20---is it possible to boot from external burner

you can try to install throu USB Drive. Search google there are many tricks how to bootup with your Pen Drive.

Feb 27, 2009 | Computers & Internet

2 Answers


you may need a separate hard drive, you could try to boot off of that

Oct 24, 2008 | Dell Latitude C400 Notebook

Not finding what you are looking for?
Dell Latitude C400 Notebook Logo

13,015 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Dell Computers & Internet Experts

Les Dickinson
Les Dickinson

Level 3 Expert

18413 Answers

Alun Cox

Level 3 Expert

2678 Answers

Doctor PC
Doctor PC

Level 3 Expert

7733 Answers

Are you a Dell Computer and Internet Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides