Question about Dell DIMENSION P3/866MHZ 128MB 20GB DVD L866R PC Desktop

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I am replacing the hard drive in my Dell Dimension L866r

I bought a WD Caviar 350 GB HD. I removed the jumper because it is the only HD on the system. I used Win XP (SP1) setup disks to partition HD. It designated the HD as Drive: C. I inserted the XP (SP1) CD in the CD slot. The setup program loaded the XP operating system on the HD and then did a restart. Upon restart, I get an error message that indicates a file error. It appears that the system is looking for the boot file in the A drive (disk), instead of the HD. When it's not finding anything, it produces the error message. Any suggestions???

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  • joe_phelan Jan 16, 2009

    I am using the original 40 pin ribbon for the new HD, not a newer cable, so cable select is not the solution. System would not boot when using the OEM MS XP (SP1) CD when first trying to format the HD, so that is why I had to download the 6 diskette Setup files from the Internet and use them. After the Setup diskettes allowed me to format the HD and partition it, it seemed to load the XP operating system on the HD (the light kept flashing), but when it rebooted at the completion of the load, I got the error message on startup that there was an error reading the file. I have reloaded the computer 3 times with the same results.On startup, the HD only flickers once and then it immediately goes to the disk drive (A) looking for files.

  • Paul Tilley May 11, 2010

    Have you tried putting the jumper on the hard drive to Cable Select (CS)?

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You say tht you used setup disks and then you used an XP disk. This is a little confusing.
You should have (maybe you did--but I can't tell from how you wrote the question) booted the computer from the XP disk and let the setup run from it--choosing to partition if you so desired (I am not a fan of HD partitioning). Once the setup files were installed and the system rebooted, the setup should have continued. If you did use floppy disks, that may be the problem (but I personally have never seen XP floppy disks--unless they were proprietary computer disks) used for this purpose.) In your case, proprietary disks probably wouldn't work because you are using a larger drive than the manufacturer had originally installed.

Posted on Jan 16, 2009

  • Art Ellison
    Art Ellison Jan 16, 2009

    You have to use a newer high-density IDE cable for this drive. If you ask me why, I can't tell you the technical reason, but it works better than the old 40 pin)
    You say the system will not boot with the CD. This sounds like you have to enter the compute setup (bios setup) and look for the menu option that allows you to set the boot order of your devices. The computer is obviously set to boot from the floppy first and then the HD. You need to set it to boot from FD and then CD and then HD.
    Give that a try.


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Do you have a floppy drive in the drive if so remove it. Also turn off your floppy drive or just remove it completely it could be bad sending false info to the main board saying there is floppy drive in the computer. Also try and turn the drive off in the BIOS

Posted on Jan 16, 2009

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