Question about Dell Latitude C640 Notebook

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Re-install windows my computer has been crashed to the point of no return, so i planned to do a fresh install of XP. However, my cd drive is not funtioning. I had hoped to use an external cd drive instead, but it there is apparently no option to do so without booting windows (which doesn't work). Any help? I have no desire to replace the cd drive, so a workaround would be preferred.

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  • advent01 Aug 27, 2007

    i must note again that i cannot boot into any part of my hard drive.

  • advent01 Aug 28, 2007

    to clarify again, the dell bios does not support booting from usb. it does seem the best bet would be to format the drive through another computer, though i would prefer to refrain from purchasing anything (note that i do understand it would be easier, the request is also partly because i would like to meet the challenge.

  • advent01 Aug 29, 2007

    To benimur:
    this is exactly what i was looking for. i figured this out yesterday, and did essentially what you suggested, but to amend future problems, i went one step past you. I installed a GRUB partition on the hard drive, including open source drivers to boot from usb, and from there i had no problems using the external cd drive. slightly simpler, i think, but you get the prize for you perfect solutions. i have these sorts of issues all the time, and i will be sure to come back to this site next time.

    Thanks to all!



3 Answers

I have a dell laptop model vostro 1500 which is in a laptop is running vth windows vista home basic the os windows vista was corrupted and i am unable to get the windows normally so i had decided to format my laptop can any one suggests me the process of formatting or reinstallation

Posted on Apr 18, 2008

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Hi, Based on your post/description: 1. can't boot nor install from HD; 2. can't boot nor install from CD; and 3. you prefer not to boot nor install from USB as suggested by ALewis. A possible way is to physically remove your HD from the laptop, connect it to a 2.5 hdd enclosure with USB, hook it up to a 2nd PC and do the partition, format and make it bootable. Thereafter you have to copy the Windows installation files to it. Reinstall to your Dell and if no other issues should boot straight out. Please note that you might have to format it FAT32. Though I must point out that using a bootable flashdrive (with the installation files) in the USB (as per ALewis post) is less effort and time. Hope this be of some help/idea. Post back how things are or should you need additional information. Good luck and kind regards.

Posted on Aug 28, 2007

  • Louie  Role
    Louie Role Aug 29, 2007

    Hi again,

    And no contest to the challenge....

    A variation of hooking up your Dell HD to a 2nd PC is to borrow a known good laptop (any model/version) with a working CD. This way no need to purchase/borrow or make use of the "2.5 hdd enclosure with USB", just temporarily swap HDs. What you need is a bootable CD (not XP) maybe DOS 6.2 or variation and the installer files of the OS you want to install as well as other utilities such as partition, format etc. Boot the 2nd laptop via CD, continue to partition, format and make the Dell HD bootable also (don't forget to make the Dell HD Active). Create a temp folder to house the OS installer files (If it's not an identical laptop, don't bother installing the OS via the 2nd laptop, my experience is always BSODs.)



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If you hit "delete" at start up (immediately before or after the beep)the computer will take you into BIOS. It could be a different key for your computer but it will tell you at start up. In BIOS, on the "boot" settings page there will be a "device order" list. Most computers from the last few years will have an option for "removable" device or "USB" device etc. YOU MUST PUT THAT DEVICE FIRST ON THE BOOT ORDER! I originally assumed that you already tried this, but the function is so standard that I have to point it out. OTHER OPTIONS -try an upgrade installation -copy the install cd to a booting hard drive partition (advanced) -pull out the hard drive and install windows on it in a separate computer. If you truly can't boot from an external device, than putting a new CD drive in seems like the most painless option... though I know thats not what you want! If it just a cd drive you need they come for about $10 nowadays. Food for thought anyway!

Posted on Aug 27, 2007

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