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The laptop hard drive crashed. Installed new hard drive and reinstalled the XP Home OS. On startup I press F2 which opens the BIOS Setup screen. The screen is inactive, I can't change anything. It shows the correct time, processor, cpu speed, system memory, etc., but NOT primary hard drive. The computer works fine, but I would like to go in, navigate from page to page, and look at the settings. In a previous thread the member was advised to remove the battery for a while and retry. My battery is dead, because I don't use it, but I tried it anyway. I still have the same problem. Thanks in advance for any help on this.

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Last Post by theweave
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What utility did you use to create the MBR on the new drive?

And in case I'm chasing nothing with the above question, have you shorted the CMOS and set the real BIOS into default state ("real BIOS" as distinct from code that is bootsrapped in)?

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Thanks for your response.
I didn't use a utility, just plugged it in. No, I didn't short the CMOS into default state. Obviously I didn't know what I was doing. What do I need to do now?

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Just noticed it's a laptop. So forget the CMOS short suggestion it's not sensibly feasible.

But you've said that you simply plugged in the hard drive and it worked. Now that's probably not in a state of grace and should be set up using the utilities on your Windows CD/DVD (booting into console mode and setting up the partitions, formatting the disk, establishing the MBR (Master Boot Record) and then typing SETUP to re-establish Windows.

Even so I would have expected you to be able to interrupt the BIOS at the initial boot stage which is why I suggested the good old PC method of shorting the CMOS and reverting it to initial state. Some brainio might know how to do it on a laptop.

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My laptop came originally with Win ME installed. Dell sent me a Win XP UPGRADE disc soon after the purchase. When this hard drive crashed I had to install Win ME before I could install the Win XP upgrade. As I Remember, the new hard drive was formatted while installing Win ME. Will this new information alter any of the instructions you gave me above. If I leave it like it is, what are the problems I might encounter. Thanks for your help.

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In a previous thread the member was advised to remove the battery for a while and retry. My battery is dead, because I don't use it, but I tried it anyway.

Hi, they were referring to the cmos/bios battery [and its inside the case plugged into the motherboard ]and not the laptop battery!

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Hi, I'm really showing my ignorance here. Based on the information above, should I still try this? Will it mess anything up? Thanks.

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Nah - the problem is most likely related to the old FDISK/Format tools used from the ME toolset. I think you need to use the tool set on the XP CD to build your HDD as I mentioned earlier.

I'd like to see if others back my recommendation.

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Nah - the problem is most likely related to the old FDISK/Format tools used from the ME toolset. I think you need to use the tool set on the XP CD to build your HDD as I mentioned earlier.

I'd like to see if others back my recommendation.

I agree, and i do think you can install the upgrade with out have ME installed first ,give it a try ,boot to the winxp upgrade and go from there ,some where along the line it will ask for you to put the ME disk in the drive for clarification ,I have never done it with xp ,but did it just last night with a Vista Ultimate upgrade disk

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Hey guys,
When I installed XP, I went through the setup, formatted the drive, and went through all the steps. Did I miss something, or do I just need to do it again?
Thanks

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Hey guys,
When I installed XP, I went through the setup, formatted the drive, and went through all the steps. Did I miss something, or do I just need to do it again?
Thanks

went through all what steps,Did I miss something, !!?

do you mean it copied files asked for the windows key and stuff and then didn't work

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That's correct.

so ,please explain what happens when you turn on the computer ,now after the install ,what shows on the screen if anything,do you hear any error beeps,anything you can add will help us help you

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so ,please explain what happens when you turn on the computer ,now after the install ,what shows on the screen if anything,do you hear any error beeps,anything you can add will help us help you

... and please confirm that you are zapping and reformatting your HDD using the Windows XP tools?

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so ,please explain what happens when you turn on the computer ,now after the install ,what shows on the screen if anything,do you hear any error beeps,anything you can add will help us help you

The computer boots up smoothly with no beeps or anything. It works perfectly. My concern is that the BIOS can't be edited, so I know something is wrong. One thing I noticed: If I remove the hard drive and boot into settings, then the BIOS can be changed.

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The computer boots up smoothly with no beeps or anything. It works perfectly. My concern is that the BIOS can't be edited, so I know something is wrong. One thing I noticed: If I remove the hard drive and boot into settings, then the BIOS can be changed.

Weird ,i have nothing to offer as i have never seen this problem before ,sorry

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... and please confirm that you are zapping and reformatting your HDD using the Windows XP tools?

I did all that, in SETUP, when I installed XP.

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If you can get to the BIOS when the HDD is out, if you need to change settings do so then and give up on doing it with the HDD in!

Sorry - it's beaten these two brains on the iinformation we have.

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If you can get to the BIOS when the HDD is out, if you need to change settings do so then and give up on doing it with the HDD in!

Sorry - it's beaten these two brains on the iinformation we have.

Thanks. If I find a solution, I will post back.

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If you can get to the BIOS when the HDD is out, if you need to change settings do so then and give up on doing it with the HDD in!

Sorry - it's beaten these two brains on the iinformation we have.

very good suggestion

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Thanks for the effort both of you!

Thanks for your kind words.

You know the problem - you're sitting in front of the thing and we're hundreds/thousands of miles away relying on what you're able to tell us.

This is what I think is happening. Your BIOS, the one on the Inspiron 4000 Boot ROM, is something of a legacy piece of software. But that may not be the main issue - just thought I'd mention it.

The CMOS stores your computer configuration data. In a laptop, it'll usually be in what's known as EEPROM and can't be conveniently purged.

Now, you've gone and put a new HDD in that's IEEE compatible (at the HW interface) but not the same type of data interleaving, perhaps, as the old ME HDD.

So there is a mismatch between your EEPROM (CMOS) configuration and the actual configuration that results in a failure of the F2 interrupt to branch to the correct BIOS handling address when the HDD is in.

That explains why it works when there is no HDD - the configuration (albeit minus HDD) is as detected by the initial BIOS before it hands over to the BIOS in the MBR (which is now not there). When you press F2, the setup routine is in the right place.

Something like that. You're gonna have to live with this aberration, I reckon. The Inspiron 4000 is a nice museum piece!

Now, if you could get a HDD of the same type as the old HDD ......

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Thanks for your kind words.

You know the problem - you're sitting in front of the thing and we're hundreds/thousands of miles away relying on what you're able to tell us.

This is what I think is happening. Your BIOS, the one on the Inspiron 4000 Boot ROM, is something of a legacy piece of software. But that may not be the main issue - just thought I'd mention it.

The CMOS stores your computer configuration data. In a laptop, it'll usually be in what's known as EEPROM and can't be conveniently purged.

Now, you've gone and put a new HDD in that's IEEE compatible (at the HW interface) but not the same type of data interleaving, perhaps, as the old ME HDD.

So there is a mismatch between your EEPROM (CMOS) configuration and the actual configuration that results in a failure of the F2 interrupt to branch to the correct BIOS handling address when the HDD is in.

That explains why it works when there is no HDD - the configuration (albeit minus HDD) is as detected by the initial BIOS before it hands over to the BIOS in the MBR (which is now not there). When you press F2, the setup routine is in the right place.

Something like that. You're gonna have to live with this aberration, I reckon. The Inspiron 4000 is a nice museum piece!

Now, if you could get a HDD of the same type as the old HDD ......

You are right. I will probably have to live with it and it is a museum piece. Thanks for your time and insight.

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