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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.
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
Put the HD in an other computer , start the instal process and let the installation program copy all files to HD. Just when computer is to restart you turn off the computer and put the HD in the C400 and continue the installation from there . When you got one computer going , clone the HD.
Try also to repartion and reformat (hard) the HD.
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.
You need to repair your windows system files. For that you need windows disk recovery disk. If you don't have windows disk then buy it from nmearest computer shop. It is very useful for your computer life. Insert that disk into cd/dvd rom then when you power up the computer press F1 or F2 or del or ALT + F2 key to enter in bios . then go to boot menu and st first boot device as cd.dvd rom then save settings and exit. Then it boot from disk then follow the procedure and press any key to boot from cd.. Then
wait for 5 minutes then you can see scren to choose option choose R for
enter in recovery console then type in prompt "chkdsk /r" then press
enter. Then it fix and recover error on harddrive. Then restart
computer and again boot with disk then this time choose R for repair
previous windoiws then it repair old windows then you can get back your
windows. Let me know if you need further assistance. Thanks for using FixYa.
The system is in a reboot loop. Possible causes are:
Corrupt installation of Windows
Bad Hard Drive
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
http://www.user-guides.co.uk/cddownload/Dell/DellLatitude/Dell-Latitude-C400-XP-Driver-Recovery-CD-Restore-Disk-1420.html at this location you will find and be able to download an cd in image format ..probably ISO ..you have to burn it on a cd ..and use it al the time you reinstall ..I understood that there are all the drivers you need for your model Good luck!
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.