Question about Dell Inspiron XPS M140 Notebook

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"no boot sector on internal hard drive"

Hi, I have a Dell Vostro 1700. Unfortunately the HDD was damaged and I have replaced with a new HDD. The new HDD is being recognised by the laptop but it keeps displaying "no boot sector on internal hard drive".

Can you help.


Niall I tried to load XP on my new hard drive and it continues to give me the same error as mentioned above. I would like to load my OS but it won't let me. What now?

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  • 4 more comments 
  • sjc592003 Mar 09, 2009

    To clarify, no OS is installed yet. I am trying to do a brand new install of Windows XP on a brand new hard drive. One solution was to format the hard drive. How do I do that when it does not give me the chance to do anything? Just hoping to be able to load XP. Thanks.

  • sjc592003 Mar 09, 2009

    Thanks for your reply. I have tried that already and the result is still the same. The optical drive spins the disk for a little while then goes back to the same error. It's like it won't boot from the disk at all. I thought maybe the drive was toast so I swapped in a known working drive and the result was the same. I've installed XP to clean hard drives before and everything you've said has always worked. I have never had this problem. I am at a bit of a loss. Any other ideas? :)

  • sjc592003 Mar 09, 2009

    Thanks. I'll try the burning idea. I'm pretty sure the XP disk is bootable but not 100%. I kinda thought all XP disks were bootable. It is an authentic Microsoft product.

  • has the hard drive been formatted?

  • M N
    M N May 11, 2010

    Can you clarify "... I tried to load XP on my new hard..."
    You can't install windows XP to it?
    You can't load the installed XP from it?

  • Ben Wabnick
    Ben Wabnick May 11, 2010

    Two things, is the new hard drive being recognized in the BIOS and also have you tried formatting the new hard drive?



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Fixboot c:\
fdisk /mbr

Posted on Mar 08, 2009

  • 1 more comment 
  • Rob
    Rob Mar 09, 2009

    In the BIOS of your computer, set the Boot Order such that the machine tries to boot off your CD/DVD-ROM drive first.

    Insert XP install disk into CD/DVD-ROM drive.


    When machine prompts for "Press Any Key To Boot From CD", press the space bar a couple of times such that the machine attempts to boot from CD.

    The XP install process will begin. At some point in the process, you will be asked where to install Windows? Choose "C:\WINDOWS". If it asks you how to format the Disc Drive, choose "NTFS - Quick". Follow the rest of the prompts and you're done.

  • Rob
    Rob Mar 09, 2009

    So you are saying in effect that the machine will NOT boot to the optical disk drive? correct? If that is the case, RE-Burn a copy of the CD you are trying to boot from, but burn it at 4X.

  • Rob
    Rob Mar 09, 2009

    And one other thing... This CD from which you are trying to insall WinXP.... is it, indeed, bootable?



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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: "no boot sector on internal hard drive"

i think you need to re-install your Operating System again since you got a new HDD wich is tottaly empty i assume so try to install your OS on the new HDD

let me know if it helped

Posted on Jan 02, 2009

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i think you need to re-install your Operating System again since you got a new HDD wich is tottaly empty i assume so try to install your OS on the new HDD

let me know if it helped

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