Dell Inspiron 8000 problems

Someone I know just recently gave me an Inspiron 8000 but he says the hard drive is messed up. I try to turn it on and it has the Dell loading screen, then the screen goes black, but then it just going back to the loading screen. It does that process over and over. The hard drive does make a suspicious clicking sound every time the screen goes black. The original OS was Windows ME but I'm not sure what it is now. Should I risk $60 (on newegg) and buy a new hard drive? What should I do?
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  1. Could have been hit with a boot virus.

    You can "Debug" the two boot partition sectors, and then try to install XP. Nothing to lose.

    Put debug.exe on a 98 boot floppy and type the following, hitting Enter after each line. All zeroes; no letter O's

    f 200 L200 0
    a 100
    mov ax,301
    mov bx,200
    mov cx,1
    mov dx,0080
    int 13
    int 3
    (hit Enter again here)
    g=100
    q

    Reboot, quickly putting in the XP cd.

    Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. Well, i'm guessing that you dont need any of the info on those drives.. so maybe try reformatting the thing and installing the OS? You'll have to hit f2 or whatever to get into the setup.
    Make it so the cd is the first thing it boots to with the windows OS cd in there. then install with the cd (usually dell gives the CD for just such a case)
    and you should be good? serial number is on the side of your tower. :/
    Nothing to lose if it doesn't work i suppose.
    =)
    And you could also try a program like ERD commander, which lets you boot up and use some cool tools and do some basic things.
    Hope it helps a little =)
    Good luck!
    -Tony
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