Installing Windows ME

I just finished building my first computer, and to my surprise, it seems I've hooked everything up right. But I've run into an impass with Windows ME installation.

After waiting an hour each time (I've tried three times) for ME to format my hard drive (It's a 250 GB Western Digital), I get the following error message:

Setup cannot install Windows Me on your computer,

An error was detected while formatting your primary hard disk partition.

Press ENTER to quit Setup.

Every single component of the computer is brand new with the exception of one used fan. The Windows disk, however, came with a Dell computer and the instruction book, working under the assumption that someone at Dell has already installed Windows for you, is more informative about connecting to the internet and using email than it is about installing.

I've tried searching the internet for a solution, but most of those are filled with so much technical jargon and abbreviation that I have no clue what they're saying. In plain english, is my brand new hard drive faulty? Unfortunately, the drive was purchased OEM, so I got no disks, books, or anything else with it. At the very least, there is the lesson I learned: next time go retail all the way. The extra money is well worth it for little things like instructions.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me. If I didn't supply enough info, please let me know.
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  1. I believe your problem is the disk is too large for ME to format completely. You could try downloading a boot disk from, running fdisk from it, and creating smaller partitions. The largest drive I've used for 9x (which includes ME) is 80GB, I think the partition size limit is just over 120GB.

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  2. Thanks. I'll try that.
  3. <b>"The Windows disk, however, came with a Dell computer"</b>

    That is more than likely your problem. These "Supplied Operating Systems" you get from Dell seem to need some kind of virtual handshake with the Dell supplied hardware before it will install. I've moved an installed version of ME from a Dell to a home built but it crashed big time after a couple hours.

    Buy XP.

    ....WW (5.0)
  4. I mentioned the Dell thing on purpose because I had a suspicion that may be a problem.

    I did get Windows installed successfully though, after cutting my hard drive into two partitions of 50% each (thanks Crashman).

    But now I have a new problem that may or may not have something to do with the Dell factor. Early in my installation attempts, before I partitioned the HD, I kept getting hung up at "Verifying DMI Pool Data" and I got around that by pressing F11 at startup to access the :Boot From" screen. After that, no problem at all.

    Now I have installed the drivers and software for my sound card (Creative SB Audigy ZS) and got the same message about DMI Pool Data. I tried reverting the system to a time before that install and it would not go back, but after that it started fine and I have sound.

    So I moved on to the DVD drive's software and drivers. Same problem again except now it won't start in anything but safe mode. Every start hangs at DMI Pool Data and the only way I can start is by reseting and going into safe mode. I'm on my way to google the problem but I figured I'd post it here too in case anyone can help me out. The only option I can think is to wipe the hard drive and re-partition it and format it to start over, and I don't want that nightmare again if it can be helped.
  5. When my little attempt to use the Dell version on my home build crashed it too would only boot into safe mode. I farted around with it for days with no success and then decided to get XP...

    Good luck!

    ....WW (5.0)
  6. I would say that the Dell ME disk is most likely your problem or at best, it doesn't help.

    I've done multiple instals with a standard ME OS disk and have had no problems. Formated and partitioned with ME bootdisk from

    But I've had strange registry errors occur after installing drivers. Solution to this is - immediately after OS instal, run regedit and export reg to a folder on hard drive, then compress and instal on a floppy as a primary backup.
    Then instal your custom drivers and setup PC to your requirements. Finaly, export another backup reg file.

    You now have backups, and believe me, with ME you'll need them.

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