Reformatting a Dell Dimension 4550


G

Guest

I am having a problem reformatting a Dell Dimension 4550. My friend got this
PC about 2 years ago, and unfortunately, he is not computer literate at all.
He had the entire McAfee Security suite on it, but did not have it activated
and working. He thought that it was on there, so it was OK. Well, his PC
completely froze up a few weeks ago, and he called me. I did a quick virus
scan and ran Ewido on it. I got over 600 spyware, malware, key loggers, and
hijackers and 59 viruses. WOW, no wonder it wouldn't work. I got all but 1
pest out, and it had changed a bunch of registry values, and a quick INET
search revealed that the 1 pest that was left was an active desktop hijacker
that is used the steal credit card numbers. Needless to say, I need to
ensure that there are no registry changes that will point right back to this
pest.

Another unfortunate event is that it is a Dell, and their restore disks are
terrible. There is no boot disk at all or a system restore disk of any kind.
I have all the driver disks, the OS disk, and an application disk. I really
hate the way Dell treats their customers when it comes to their equipment,
and this is no exception. My friend told me that Dell didn't even send the
disks until about a year after they got the PC. They had called numerous
times, and they kept wanting them to buy them. Personally, I don't think
that Dell provided a restore disk.

So, that is where I am stuck. I cannot reload the OS without a bootable
restore disk because the OS disk won't boot. I really need to reformat this
disk to ensure that I get everything out. Just re-installing Windows is not
going to solve the problem.

Can I use the boot disk creator exe file on Microsoft's site for XP home
wSP1, or do I have to have one specific for the Dell?

I am stuck, and I have been working on this thing for 2 days. If Dell would
just use restore disk images like all the other vendors, these people could
have fixed this themselves.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
 
C

Carey Frisch [MVP]

The Dell Reinstallation CD is bootable and contains all the tools necessary
to partition and format your drive. Follow this procedure and allow
Windows XP to partition and format your drive:

NOTE: It would be best to physically disconnect all your peripheral hardware
devices, except the monitor, mouse and keyboard, before installing XP.

NOTE: If you have an internal Zip Drive installed, physically disconnect the
EIDE and power cable to it before proceeding, otherwise your main
hard drive may not be assigned the customary C: drive letter.
After installing Windows XP, you may then reconnect it.

1. Open your BIOS and set your "CD Drive as the first bootable device".

===> Accessing Motherboard BIOS
===> http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/bios_manufacturer.htm

2. Insert your Windows XP CD in the CD Drive and reboot your computer.

3. You'll see a message to boot to the CD....follow the instructions.

4. The setup menu will appear and you should elect to delete all the existing
Windows partitions, then create a new partition, then format the primary
partition (preferably NTFS) and proceed to install Windows XP.

5. Clean Install Windows XP
http://michaelstevenstech.com/cleanxpinstall.html

[Courtesy of Michael Stevens, MS-MVP]

6. ==> Immediately after installing Windows XP, turn on XP's Firewall.
==> http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/protect/default.aspx

7. After Windows XP is installed, visit the Windows Update website
and download the available "Critical Updates".

8. After installing the critical updates, be sure and visit the support website
of the manufacturer of the computer to download and install any
available Windows XP compatible drivers, such as video adapter
and audio drivers.

9. If you happen to run into any installation difficulties, use the following resources:

How to Troubleshoot Windows XP Problems During Installation
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;310064

Troubleshooting Windows XP Setup
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_setup.htm

[Courtesy of MS-MVP Kelly Theriot]

--
Carey Frisch
Microsoft MVP
Windows XP - Shell/User
Microsoft Newsgroups

Be Smart! Protect Your PC!
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/protect/default.mspx

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

:

| I am having a problem reformatting a Dell Dimension 4550. My friend got this
| PC about 2 years ago, and unfortunately, he is not computer literate at all.
| He had the entire McAfee Security suite on it, but did not have it activated
| and working. He thought that it was on there, so it was OK. Well, his PC
| completely froze up a few weeks ago, and he called me. I did a quick virus
| scan and ran Ewido on it. I got over 600 spyware, malware, key loggers, and
| hijackers and 59 viruses. WOW, no wonder it wouldn't work. I got all but 1
| pest out, and it had changed a bunch of registry values, and a quick INET
| search revealed that the 1 pest that was left was an active desktop hijacker
| that is used the steal credit card numbers. Needless to say, I need to
| ensure that there are no registry changes that will point right back to this
| pest.
|
| Another unfortunate event is that it is a Dell, and their restore disks are
| terrible. There is no boot disk at all or a system restore disk of any kind.
| I have all the driver disks, the OS disk, and an application disk. I really
| hate the way Dell treats their customers when it comes to their equipment,
| and this is no exception. My friend told me that Dell didn't even send the
| disks until about a year after they got the PC. They had called numerous
| times, and they kept wanting them to buy them. Personally, I don't think
| that Dell provided a restore disk.
|
| So, that is where I am stuck. I cannot reload the OS without a bootable
| restore disk because the OS disk won't boot. I really need to reformat this
| disk to ensure that I get everything out. Just re-installing Windows is not
| going to solve the problem.
|
| Can I use the boot disk creator exe file on Microsoft's site for XP home
| wSP1, or do I have to have one specific for the Dell?
|
| I am stuck, and I have been working on this thing for 2 days. If Dell would
| just use restore disk images like all the other vendors, these people could
| have fixed this themselves.
|
| Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
| --
| Cbarton
 
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G

Guest

Carey thank you for replying, but what you suggested did not work. Even with
the CD set to boot first, the PC just boots up. I even tried making the 6
set boot disk for XP sp 1, and booting with that, but no go.

All I want is to get a screen that say "This will erase all of the data on
C:\. Do you want to proceed?" YES I DO.

I think that it is real crappy of Dell to put their stuff together like
this. I was on the phone with them for 2 hours today, and they could not
answer my question or provide me with any documentation on how to reformat
one of their PC's.

What is the big deal with creating a system restore image rather than making
the user figure out which driver the need for which device. They are stupid
for doing that. The person who owns this PC already said that they would
NEVER buy another Dell, because of the terrible support and lack of caring by
the company. All they want is the $$$$.

I just want to run fdisk, delete my partition, create a new one, and
reinstall Windows. Is that too much to ask? If you have any other
suggestions, or if anyone else does, please HELP!!!!!

Carey Frisch said:
The Dell Reinstallation CD is bootable and contains all the tools necessary
to partition and format your drive. Follow this procedure and allow
Windows XP to partition and format your drive:

NOTE: It would be best to physically disconnect all your peripheral hardware
devices, except the monitor, mouse and keyboard, before installing XP.

NOTE: If you have an internal Zip Drive installed, physically disconnect the
EIDE and power cable to it before proceeding, otherwise your main
hard drive may not be assigned the customary C: drive letter.
After installing Windows XP, you may then reconnect it.

1. Open your BIOS and set your "CD Drive as the first bootable device".

===> Accessing Motherboard BIOS
===> http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/bios_manufacturer.htm

2. Insert your Windows XP CD in the CD Drive and reboot your computer.

3. You'll see a message to boot to the CD....follow the instructions.

4. The setup menu will appear and you should elect to delete all the existing
Windows partitions, then create a new partition, then format the primary
partition (preferably NTFS) and proceed to install Windows XP.

5. Clean Install Windows XP
http://michaelstevenstech.com/cleanxpinstall.html

[Courtesy of Michael Stevens, MS-MVP]

6. ==> Immediately after installing Windows XP, turn on XP's Firewall.
==> http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/protect/default.aspx

7. After Windows XP is installed, visit the Windows Update website
and download the available "Critical Updates".

8. After installing the critical updates, be sure and visit the support website
of the manufacturer of the computer to download and install any
available Windows XP compatible drivers, such as video adapter
and audio drivers.

9. If you happen to run into any installation difficulties, use the following resources:

How to Troubleshoot Windows XP Problems During Installation
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;310064

Troubleshooting Windows XP Setup
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_setup.htm

[Courtesy of MS-MVP Kelly Theriot]

--
Carey Frisch
Microsoft MVP
Windows XP - Shell/User
Microsoft Newsgroups

Be Smart! Protect Your PC!
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/protect/default.mspx

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

:

| I am having a problem reformatting a Dell Dimension 4550. My friend got this
| PC about 2 years ago, and unfortunately, he is not computer literate at all.
| He had the entire McAfee Security suite on it, but did not have it activated
| and working. He thought that it was on there, so it was OK. Well, his PC
| completely froze up a few weeks ago, and he called me. I did a quick virus
| scan and ran Ewido on it. I got over 600 spyware, malware, key loggers, and
| hijackers and 59 viruses. WOW, no wonder it wouldn't work. I got all but 1
| pest out, and it had changed a bunch of registry values, and a quick INET
| search revealed that the 1 pest that was left was an active desktop hijacker
| that is used the steal credit card numbers. Needless to say, I need to
| ensure that there are no registry changes that will point right back to this
| pest.
|
| Another unfortunate event is that it is a Dell, and their restore disks are
| terrible. There is no boot disk at all or a system restore disk of any kind.
| I have all the driver disks, the OS disk, and an application disk. I really
| hate the way Dell treats their customers when it comes to their equipment,
| and this is no exception. My friend told me that Dell didn't even send the
| disks until about a year after they got the PC. They had called numerous
| times, and they kept wanting them to buy them. Personally, I don't think
| that Dell provided a restore disk.
|
| So, that is where I am stuck. I cannot reload the OS without a bootable
| restore disk because the OS disk won't boot. I really need to reformat this
| disk to ensure that I get everything out. Just re-installing Windows is not
| going to solve the problem.
|
| Can I use the boot disk creator exe file on Microsoft's site for XP home
| wSP1, or do I have to have one specific for the Dell?
|
| I am stuck, and I have been working on this thing for 2 days. If Dell would
| just use restore disk images like all the other vendors, these people could
| have fixed this themselves.
|
| Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
| --
| Cbarton
 
B

Billy

Clipped for brevity
So, that is where I am stuck. I cannot reload the OS without a bootable
restore disk because the OS disk won't boot. I really need to reformat this
disk to ensure that I get everything out. Just re-installing Windows is not
going to solve the problem.

Can I use the boot disk creator exe file on Microsoft's site for XP home
wSP1, or do I have to have one specific for the Dell?

I am stuck, and I have been working on this thing for 2 days. If Dell would
just use restore disk images like all the other vendors, these people could
have fixed this themselves.
Try holding the control key and F11 during boot. On some models this
loads the option to access the hidden recovery (ghosted) partition and
reinstall to the factory specs.
 
G

Guest

Thank you Billy, but that did not work either. This PC has me thouroughly
disgusted. I hate DELL. I have never worked on a DELL for anyone that
didn't give me a world of fits, but this one tops them all. Dells tech
support is really crappy also. I was on the phone with them for hours, and
they couldn't answer my question either. If you get any other ideas, let me
know. Thank you.
 
M

Mike

I have a Dell 4550 and have formatted my hard drive just last year, with no
incident.I know this info does not help you and your friend. The way I did
it was the same way Carey explained. There must be more to this problem than
getting to the format section. If you went to the Bios and selected the
CD-Rom to boot first and it isn't, maybe it could be this:

Note: Be sure to make a backup copy of your registry prior to making any
changes.
If after you remove CD Burning software, you can no longer access your CD
ROM's, the following registry keys need to be deleted:

Locate and delete the UpperFilters and LowerFilters values under the
following key in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet\
Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

Maybe here. Try searching Google also

http://www.5starsupport.com/faq/xp.htm#1-3

Just one of many things thing to try

Mike
 
G

Guest

Mike, thank you for the advice, but the CD ROM is working. It works fine. I
can copy and burn, and I can read. It just will not boot with this disk, and
reformat. That is the only problem that I had. Someone in Dell's news group
suggested that I unplug one of the devices (DVD/CD) and only 1 of the devices
to boot first. I did this, and now, the plug and play will not even
recognize what kind of device it is. It says unknown. It recognizes that
something is there, and allows it to work, but it doesn't find the name of
the device. I hate the computer. I'm going to put it in the garbage can,
that is what I think I'll do with it. =)
 
B

Billy

Cbarton said:
Mike, thank you for the advice, but the CD ROM is working. It works fine. I
can copy and burn, and I can read. It just will not boot with this disk, and
reformat. That is the only problem that I had. Someone in Dell's news group
suggested that I unplug one of the devices (DVD/CD) and only 1 of the devices
to boot first. I did this, and now, the plug and play will not even
recognize what kind of device it is. It says unknown. It recognizes that
something is there, and allows it to work, but it doesn't find the name of
the device. I hate the computer. I'm going to put it in the garbage can,
that is what I think I'll do with it. =)
That trick works to get around the OS loosing the path during install.
You need to insure the remaining DVD/CD player is the master (jumpers)
and is on the end of the cable. (Or just insure both devices are
jumpered right and insure you use the master to install from.

You have tried using floppy disks and the CD, but the computer only
boots to the hard drive?
You have changed the boot order within the BIOS options?
The last option would be to pull the drive, jumper it for where it will
end (on the IDE chain) of another computer and format it there.
 
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M

Mike

I see. Would Dell consider sending a new installation disk for that PC?
Maybe your friend should visit a trusted technician, if he is really
interested in getting this fixed.On the hand the garbage can is a bit
cheaper.lol...

Mike
 
G

Guest

Dell will not send another disk, unless I pay them $230.00, I am considered
their "trusted" technician, and I think the garbage can is going to be out
best bet. Another newsgroup that I go to for advice when I'm having a
problem gave me 2 responses, both were people who had these exact PCs, and 1
told me that he had this problem when his system board went out and the other
said that his power supply was bad. They both had the exact same problem. I
have ran the diagnostic tests, and it says that the devices are OK, but we
all know that it could be an intermittent problem. I'm leaning more toward
the system board, and had actually thought that that might be part of the
problem, but wanted a "second opinion". Occassionally, when I reboot this
PC, it will give me dumb errors like the drive is missing or the no keyboard
detected. I can boot again, and it works fine.

Anyway, by the time that I replace the system board and/or the power supply
and/or both, a couple of hundred dollars are going to be gone. With a PC
that is almost 3 years old, I'm not sure it is worth the $$$ to repair it.
Today, he could get a PC 2X as fast as this one for a couple more hundred
$$$.

Thanks for the help. As always, I find more answers on-line that I ever do
from tech support. These companies should save some dough, and pay the
newsgroups to answer their questions instead of India. lol
 
D

D.Currie

Cbarton said:
I am having a problem reformatting a Dell Dimension 4550. My friend got
this
PC about 2 years ago, and unfortunately, he is not computer literate at
all.
He had the entire McAfee Security suite on it, but did not have it
activated
and working. He thought that it was on there, so it was OK. Well, his PC
completely froze up a few weeks ago, and he called me. I did a quick
virus
scan and ran Ewido on it. I got over 600 spyware, malware, key loggers,
and
hijackers and 59 viruses. WOW, no wonder it wouldn't work. I got all but
1
pest out, and it had changed a bunch of registry values, and a quick INET
search revealed that the 1 pest that was left was an active desktop
hijacker
that is used the steal credit card numbers. Needless to say, I need to
ensure that there are no registry changes that will point right back to
this
pest.

Another unfortunate event is that it is a Dell, and their restore disks
are
terrible. There is no boot disk at all or a system restore disk of any
kind.
I have all the driver disks, the OS disk, and an application disk. I
really
hate the way Dell treats their customers when it comes to their equipment,
and this is no exception. My friend told me that Dell didn't even send
the
disks until about a year after they got the PC. They had called numerous
times, and they kept wanting them to buy them. Personally, I don't think
that Dell provided a restore disk.

So, that is where I am stuck. I cannot reload the OS without a bootable
restore disk because the OS disk won't boot. I really need to reformat
this
disk to ensure that I get everything out. Just re-installing Windows is
not
going to solve the problem.

Can I use the boot disk creator exe file on Microsoft's site for XP home
wSP1, or do I have to have one specific for the Dell?

I am stuck, and I have been working on this thing for 2 days. If Dell
would
just use restore disk images like all the other vendors, these people
could
have fixed this themselves.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

It's interesting, but most experienced computers users feel exactly the
opposite about the use of a "real" os cd like Dell provides compared to a
restore CD that only gives the option to reimage the system. With the os cd,
you can customize the install or do a repair, which isn't possible with the
image. And for people who have data on the computer that hasn't been backed
up, reimaging the system can be a tragedy. But if you prefer the images,
that's certainly your option. I'd suggest that you simply make your own for
your computers, and then you have what you like, and no need to worry about
what comes with the computer.

But even if you had an image, you'd be in the same situation. If you can't
figure out how to get the computer to boot from the cd, the image disk
wouldn't run, either, because it also has to be able to boot.

Rather than beating your brains out, it might be best to get some hands-on
help so someone can actually see what's going on. I've had plenty of people
swear to me that their computer wouldn't boot from the cd, but when I got
the computer into the shop there was no problem. It might be worth your
friend's while to pay to get this done, because once you've got Windows
reloaded, you're going to need to install drivers, etc., and if it's already
been 2 days trying to get the computer to boot from CD, it's going to be a
long, hard journey getting the job finished.
 
R

Rick S.

Power up the computer and when the BLUE DELL SCREEN 1st comes on, press CTL
& F11 , tthat should get you to a recovery screen where you can reformat
and install Windows XP (with the programs that came with it)
 
M

Mike

I agree with Billy on this statement:

"The last option would be to pull the drive, jumper it for where it will
end (on the IDE chain) of another computer and format it there."

I had problems with a hard drive on windows 98 with format and took the HD
out and put it in the Dell and had no problems formatting it from there.If
you have access to another PC. Since you say that the cd rom is reading and
writing, then I think we can rule a cd rom problem out. I guess when you put
the HD back in the Dell you will know what other problems you have with that
system, and go from there.

Keep us posted.
Mike
 
G

Guest

Thanks Mike and Billy. Yes, I have done all of this. I have flashed the
bios, I have reset the CMOS. I even removed the DVD drive so that all the PC
could see is the CD drive and then flip flopped removing the CD drive and
leaving only the DVD drive. I have the sequence set to boot to the CD
device, then A:\, then HD. My last option is to start swapping parts, as
you've stated, but I don't have a bunch of available parts, so I'm outta luck
here. I'm not messing my PC up to try to fix someone elses.

I live in a very rural area, and there are no PC shops around for over 150
miles, so that is why everyone calls me. I am an experienced user, and have
fixed hundreds of PCs. I have a 4 year degree in CIS, and have been working
with computers for 20 years. I am a network admin. and take care of over 200
PC's, 100 printers, 30 connectivity devices, 2 servers, and 400 users.
Unfortunately, we all meet our limits, and this PC has touched on mine. When
I get stuck on something, I come here.

Thanks for all you help guys. I appreciate it. =)
 
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B

Billy

Cbarton said:
Thanks Mike and Billy. Yes, I have done all of this. I have flashed the
bios, I have reset the CMOS. I even removed the DVD drive so that all the PC
could see is the CD drive and then flip flopped removing the CD drive and
leaving only the DVD drive. I have the sequence set to boot to the CD
device, then A:\, then HD. My last option is to start swapping parts, as
you've stated, but I don't have a bunch of available parts, so I'm outta luck
here. I'm not messing my PC up to try to fix someone elses.
Sometimes when I have needed to quickly scan or clean a client's drive,
I'll pull my CD's IDE and power cables, attach the wayward drive, power
up into my utilities and be done with it. Two minutes total for setup
and reattachment, no risk to my system.
 

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