Hi and thanks in advance for any advice.
I am giving my old lap top to my kid and wanted to reformat before the transfer.
Yesterday I reformatted drive C but did not touch the partitions as there is nothing on them. Then today I tried to install XP but was unable. I spent a long time online with Dell Tech support and was told the Hard drive must be bad.
I insert the Dell OS disk, Turn on computer. Screen says "hit any key to boot from disk", I press key. Screen flashes some writing about checking settings or something, then goes black. Nothing else happens.
The Dell Tech Support ran diagnostics and no issues were noted. Hard drive tested fine. The computer was working prior to the reformat. I only reformatted to insure no confidential information was going to be handed to the kids who surf and download everything.
Any ideas....
I can get to a C: prompt if needed.

Recommended Answers

All 9 Replies

Hi and thanks in advance for any advice.
I am giving my old lap top to my kid and wanted to reformat before the transfer.

what did you use to format the drive

I can't give you a step by step but I did use the operating disk and reformatted from within that program. But as I said earlier I only reformatted the C drive and didn't touch the other partitions. I think from the research I have done that I was supposed to delete the partitions and then reformat but I am not really sure that would affect the ability to reload XP.

I have done that I was supposed to delete the partitions and then reformat.

only if you waanted to ,how many partitions were there ,you should have been able to just format the partition and then just continue with the install if you used your winxo cd to format the drive

I think there were two partitions. So any idea why I get a black screen every time I try to reinstall XP or better yet any way I can get it to load. I have a hard time believing that that hard drive was fine before the reformat would suddenly go bad after the reformat. Thanks

Read your users manual for your Dell model (online if you don't have a copy) and see how to access the manufacturers setup to return the machine to default settings. Some Dell machines it is Ctrl + F11 on boot up.


Bob_180_Bob seems to be leaning toward what I'm thinking. You deleted the "Active Partition." The partition you thought was empty, was probably your restore partition and the files hidden. If Bob's suggestion doesn't work, use fdisk or diskpart to set the restore partition as the active partition and reboot. It should start the restore process.

Probably an easier solution would be to delete all partitions, then the XP disk would "see" the Hard Drive as a new drive and start the install process. The down-side would be if there is something wrong with the XP Disk, you will be in a worse situation.

Since you are unable to boot with the disk, you may want to go to support.microsoft.com and search for instructions on Windows PE disk which has Diskpart. If you have a floppy drive, it would be easier to search the web for a win98 boot disk image; this has fdisk.

Confused? Try starting here: http://vlaurie.com/computers2/Articles/boot.htm (Again, if Bob's post doesn't work for you).

Well Bob's advice didn't work. I am now downloading the program to create the PE disk. Hopefully that will work. I was able to load Noppix but not quite sure what to do with it.

Hi All, Thanks for all the helpful ideas.
I ended up using a linux program to delete all the partitions on the hard drive and then Window XP loaded with no problems.

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, networking, learning, and sharing knowledge.