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I'm trying to teach my 10 yr old son to upgrade his PC. It will be handed down to his little sister soon but we wanted to make game playing a little faster (she's 4 yrs old so we're not looking for super speed).

I have not done this in over a decade but I'm self-educated so I'm not well versed in the lingo. I'll start with the hard drive and simple question: I'm installing a brand new hard drive. When I did this back in the 90's we would put the boot disk into the floppy and the computer would tell you when to remove it and put the next one in. There is no floppy, it's a Dell Demension. I'm asuming I should put a CD in the CD drive but I have two. One is a DVDRW (I think). Should I put the CD into the drive before I take the old hard drive off? (It has files I need to keep so I can't overwrite the hard drive, I bought him a new one.) How do I know which drive to put it in?

Also, the computer came with a few CD's. Do I use the one that says "Reinstallation CD"? It also says "Operating System" across the top. I have another which says "ResourceCD" which I assume is the drivers? Does one of these need to be in the DVD drive before I take the old hard drive off?

I remember creating a boot-disc a long time ago. Is that something I need to do now days?

Also, is there anyway I can copy my internet settings so I don't have to get the DSL people on the phone after I install the new hard drive? I'm afraid this will take down the internet for the entire house and I need to avoid that if possible. Our house has concrete interior walls so when it goes down, it's a nightmare. Wireless does not work well in the house, so the DSL is plugged into the wall.

Thanks for getting us started, if this is easy then I'll try a new graphics card next. I've printed the entire manual that came with this PC and that was nothing more than a waste of my time. If you can help, thanks so much!!!

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Last Post by bugtussellmom
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For your Dell you need to use the "Reinstallation CD". That would partition your hard drive the way it came first from Dell, and it will install the Operating System it came with the Computer.

Floppy is a thing from the past. Installation are done today from DVD. CD's are still use as well.

The sequence for a generic installation is essentially this:
Attach the new hard drive to the computer.
Hit the key that the black screen tells you that is the set up.
That gets you into the Basic Input Output System, BIOS, for short.
There, you need to make sure what the boot up preference is, and change it to boot from CD/DVD drive, if necessary.
Save configuration and exit.
Insert Bootable media into any of the drives.
New hard drive will need to be partition before operating system is installed. Some times, the prepared installation will do it for you automatically, like the Resinstallation CD, other times as with a generic XP installation, the set up will ask you to choose and what to do.
After that, is a click and click process.
Kind of simplified but these are the steps.

The safer way is to remove any other hard drives. Windows will recognize the removed HDD once you placed back.

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Don't muck around with a computer that is important for you. A ten year old may not have the understanding of what you say. I've been using computers since 1989 and I'm still a novice.

Get a computer from the tip or roadside or buy an old one from the local classifieds. Use that one for teaching. It is so easy to blow a circuit or frack a hdd or mainboard, even if you know what you are doing. Google "fix old computer video" and it shows a few links to videos where you can upgrade. When you are finished watching the videos, come back here for clarification on the concepts used.

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Thanks both of you! This will get us started...and likely finished too :). I will do a google search also, as suggested. I found some other posts here that will help, this is a great website!

It's an old computer. I gave so many details because we've spent $170.00 on parts (we're in the US) and yes, I realize that a new PC would only cost around $300.00. He was supposed to take a computer hardware class recently, but the instructor got cancer so I figured he would learn by trial and error. He has an NXT robot that we've learned how to program. After that experience I feel like I can teach myself anything, and him too. He's 10 but he is homeschooled and learning all sorts of stuff that the typical 10 yr old won't learn until high school or later.

The hard drive that is in the PC now has old client files. I've been saving hard drives for over 15 years because I'm not real sure what to do with them. I have heard that even after the drives have been reformatted, the files can be pulled up by someone who knows what they're doing? I'm a self employed accountant so these are my clients financial records. I'm guessing there is some way to destroy them so the data can't be read?

Thanks!

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I have about 15 old HDD, most of them are only 4gb. I'm not sure what I going to do with them either. They are barely big enough to put a DVD movie on. A couple I've used to store Audio files and data files.

A format does not erase the files. You need to FDISK them. You remember FDISK? Otherwise, get your hammer out, the one you used to "fix" that other computer, and hammer the drive flat.

Client files have no real meaning to someone if they don't know who your client is or what purpose the files may refer to (how do I end a sentence without a preposition?).

Just remember that if you or he wreck the hard drive in the computer you are teaching him with, will it really matter? If so then use one of those od hard drives. Teach him how to connect the drive (As Master) and maybe use another drive as a Slave, and how to set the pins in the drives. Using the old drives means you won't fry the good drive.
Teach him how to FDISK, Format, load windows etc..

Good luck .

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I have about 15 old HDD, most of them are only 4gb. I'm not sure what I going to do with them either. They are barely big enough to put a DVD movie on. A couple I've used to store Audio files and data files.

A format does not erase the files. You need to FDISK them. You remember FDISK? Otherwise, get your hammer out, the one you used to "fix" that other computer, and hammer the drive flat.

Client files have no real meaning to someone if they don't know who your client is or what purpose the files may refer to (how do I end a sentence without a preposition?).

Just remember that if you or he wreck the hard drive in the computer you are teaching him with, will it really matter? If so then use one of those od hard drives. Teach him how to connect the drive (As Master) and maybe use another drive as a Slave, and how to set the pins in the drives. Using the old drives means you won't fry the good drive.
Teach him how to FDISK, Format, load windows etc..

Good luck .

That was so helpful! Thanks so much. Yes, I do remember FDISK now that you mention it. Of course the hammer will help in stress relief :) . The old hard drives that I have are not even 1 gig, that is how old they are. I'll install a new hard drive on my computer soon so he will get a chance to learn about master/slave. I have had professionals doing the work over the last few years, but money is tight right now so its as good a time as any for him to learn.

Thanks again!

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Just a hint about FDISK that you may not be aware.

Through each procedure you do, where it says to restart your computer, turn it off. Wait 10 seconds before you turn it on again.
A restart doesn't actually make your actions take effect, effectively.

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bugtussellmom> I'm guessing there is some way to destroy them so the data can't be read?
A cheap and easy way of producing satisfactory results, destroying hard drives, is to drill a couple holes with a twisted bit, through the body.
No need to go any other extends to prevent data mining.

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Wow! How easy that was!!! The hardest part was getting the hard drive bracket off the case. It took the longest to get the front panel off, lol! It didn't take the internet down, as I was afraid it would, so all is good!

Thanks a bunch to everyone! I'll be back in a few days, I'm adding a graphics card next.

I like the idea of drilling holes in the hard drives, that's a good idea, just not as stress relieving as the hammer idea :)

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