Question about Dell Inspiron 3800 Celeron 500MHZ Processor (CPU) - 569KW

1 Answer

No boot sector on hard drive

I bought this laptop on ebay and when I turned it on, it said "No boot sector on hard drive" and then says press F1 for retry or F2 for setup. The problem is i know nothing about computers, so im hoping somone can walk me through the process

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  • kcart000 Feb 23, 2009

    well, it was supposed to be installed with windows XP, but im finding that hard to believe since im having this problem. There was no operating system disk that was sent with the package. So i should re-install windows?

  • Chuck May 11, 2010

    this is a very hard thing to fix for someone that is not computer literate. Just like dickcanfixit said. If you install xp on this system you will be almost at the minimum requirements for xp http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314865

    ioperating system disc of OEM which is all you need is around 100$ so if you were supposed to recieve it with your purchase contact ebay and tell them your problem might get your money back. you are paypal protected as well if you used a credit card. your credit card company will also refund your money if sale was not with good intentions or false advertising.

    here is a link for oem software http://www.viosoftware.com/Windows+XP+Ho...

  • Chuck May 11, 2010

    did you buy this laptop without operating system?

    Did the person you bought this from give you a windows operating system disc?

    what operating system are you using or supposed to have on this laptop

  • Dick
    Dick May 11, 2010

    This is not something someone who knows nothing about computers can solve. You are going to need at minimum a Windows XP install cd or other utility to attempt to repair your boot sector. Such an old computer is going to have a hard time running Windows XP as well. If you can locate an XP install disk, boot to the cd, go to the recovery console and type "FIXMBR". Hopefully that will fix your master boot record and then allow your computer to boot up. If not, you may need to re-install Windows, which means you need another legal copy of Windows to install ($50-$300). Good luck.


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FIXBOOT writes the "boot sector" to the specified partition.
FIXMBR repairs or replaces the master boot record of the disk.

You will also want to ensure that your partition is active, because Ghost will not make a partition active unless you do a sector-by-sector backup and complete restore.

Here's what to do...

Boot from the XP / 2000 CDROM and allow the setup to begin. Once the beginning files are copied, you will be asked to Install Windows or use the Recovery Console. Please choose "r" here, to run the recovery console.

You will now type in the following commands when the prompt appears:

chkdsk /f
* This will repair any obvious file system damage, which could complicate things.

diskpart
* This will run the XP disk partition utility. We will be checking to see if your partition looks OK. If you see your partition, and the information diskpart provides appears correct, then that's a good thing. :)

Press [ESC] to exit Diskpart, when everything looks peachy.

fixboot
* We'll write a new boot sector, so the computer knows how to boot the computer

fixmbr
* We'll write a new boot record, so the computer knows how to boot Windows

You should be taken care of. If it still does not work, you may need to delete your partition(s) using diskpart, then recreate the partition(s) (using diskpart, again).

Posted on Feb 23, 2009

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