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Your master boot record of the hard disk is damaged. I suppose you have access to CDROM through bios. But it is not clear from your question. Set CDROM as first boot device. Get a bootable CD & make sure that it contains fdisk utility. Boot from it & you will get a:\ prompt. at a:\prompt type fdisk/mbr & press enter. Your master boot record of hard disk will replace. Now you will be able to go to c:\ prompt. Use your your xp cd to recover your windows. -sonsunny
Before you get into all of this ... try to restore your computer to an earlier date ... if that doesnt work, most manufacturers have the original software for the computer on a special section of the hard disk, called a 'restore' ... try those before you get into the fDisk business. Otherwise you will soon be way over your head ... This process is for someone who has experience in the process. Belive me when I tell you fDisk is not your first and best alternative.
the harddrive might be loose. check that the IDE/Ribbon Cable, or SATA wires are secure into the back of the hard disk , and where the other end of the cable meets the motherboard.
next , make sure the bootable device order is correct. that it is indeed trying to boot of the hard drive. that is done in the BIOS. Press DEL, or F12 or whatever option (sometimes F2) is displayed on the screen at the very start of the powering on state. (this is called the POST screen).
If you access the BIOS screen from the POST (the black DOS screen before windows starts) look in the listing for Logical Boot Order, and ensure that the Hard Disk Drive is listed as one of the first in the order.
try that and see what happens.
because beyond that, you might have a dead hard drive, or the master boot record on your disk is corrupt, and either of those are bad results.
I would create a boot CD on another system and insert it into your cd drive then boot the system. With the boot disk you will be able to format the drive without having the computer access the hard drive. You may need to enter you bios and set it to boot from the CD first.
i tell you m idea....first, maybe there is no operating system like windows or etc...second maybe your hard disk is not detecting or its damage,third, check the bios setup for the drives..it can help to solve the problem
You can do a full reformat right from the windows xp install disk. Put the xp disk in the cdrom drive and restart the computer. Upon restarting a message will come up ( Hit any key to boot from CD )
Hit any key, the files will load then you will be able to format the hard drive and also load windows XP.
If for some reason your system doesnt boot from the cd, you might have to go into the Bios and change the boot order from the hard drive or the floppy to the cd so the computer will boot from the CD first. Hope this helps...
Joe > Data Miner <
You have half a dozen reasons why this will not work. The Operating system (XP) does not recognise the different hardware, the Bios doesn't recognise the MBR (the file structure of the harddrive) and you have all the wrong hardware drivers installed.
There is a way to do this if you have the original XP installation disk, install the harddrive, put the XP installation disk in the CD/DVD drive and set the machine to boot from the CD/DVD first. When the machine boots up and goes to install XP follow the instructions as if you are doing a fresh install, when SetUp attempts to format the harddrive it will discover you already have a version of XP installed and will give you the option to repair it, go ahead with the repair and MAYBE SetUp will be able to see and install the correct hardware drivers. If not you are looking at Slaving the harddrive, saving your personal files and then formatting the harddrive and reinstalling XP fresh.
This sounds like an issue with the BIOS rather than your hard drive if you are able to boot into Windows. Or do you mean that the PC boots to the windows install?
What is the exact error and at what point in the boot process are you seeing it?
The BIOS handles the the initial startup of your computer, before Windows is even accessed on the hard drive.
If you can boot into windows, then try downloading the latest BIOS from Dell support and upgrade your bios.
If you cannot boot into windows, and the PC is just going to the Install CD, then there may be a problem with the connection to the hard drive. If you have tried different hard drives in the same PC, then try swapping out the cable that connects the hard drive to the motherboard. If different cables do not solve the problem, then the problem may lie with the connector on the motherboard. If thats the case, then the entire motherboard will need to be replaced.
Also try downloading the following CD to run diagnostics on your hard drive. This should provide further information as to what is wrong with your system: