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Dell dimension 4550

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February 10, 2010 12:50:51 AM

Hello,
I bought a 4550 with xp home brand new from dell a few years ago and I some how had xp pro for about 2 years or so. I DID NOT install XP PRO from a disc. I am not certain how it ended up with PRO. I can only guess it came through some kind of download. It ran fine for 2 or 3 years. Then I started getting an error message that said it could not verify my license. Dell sent me my original installed disc's yet it has done nothing for me. My question is, what do I need to replace in my pc that would allow me to have a "blank" pc that I can reload with original software and simply start over. I hope this question is understandable. Please help!

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a c 435 V Motherboard
February 10, 2010 9:18:45 AM

You can try the recovery feature; backup to an earlier installation of xp or do a repair. If you can't use the feature, then a format and fresh install would work. If using a sata hardrive, make a floppy bootdisk to install the sata driver if needed.
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February 10, 2010 7:36:25 PM

o1die said:
You can try the recovery feature; backup to an earlier installation of xp or do a repair. If you can't use the feature, then a format and fresh install would work. If using a sata hardrive, make a floppy bootdisk to install the sata driver if needed.


Hi sir, when I turn the pc on windows begins to load then of course it asks me to put my password in. After I put the password in, it pops up an error message and signs me back out. It does this even in safe mode. It will not allow me to do anything at all. When Dell sent me the recovery discs, it made me partition the system so now I have xp and xp pro installed. It will not let me even remove xp pro. I have been messing with this for 2 months+.
At this point, what I would like to do is, remove the hard drive, install a new hard drive and then reload my xp home that my system originally came with. The files that are on my system are not important enough for me to worry with. I would just like to "clean" my system up possibly as if it were brand new. I just do not know if replacing the hard drive will allow me to do this or if there is an additional component(s) that I need to replace. It will not do anything in safe mode and it also will not allow safe mode with internet connection. I have seen online where this has happened to tons of folks and noone from online forums to Microsoft knows what to do. When I talked to dell they said the only thing that I could do is re-install my original software. I did this but, as I mentioned, now I have xp home AND xp Pro on my pc. It has been really frustrating. It will not allow me to remove the xp pro.
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a c 435 V Motherboard
February 11, 2010 11:44:48 AM

You can delete both hardrive partitions before installing your backup software. Then create one new larger partition. I use the hardrive software which is a free download if you don't have a cd. Every brand has their own; I use maxblast 5.0 for maxtor and seagate drives. If you want to give your system a real boost, newegg has an ocz 60 gb ssd drive for $169 before a $40 rebate. Then do a drive to drive copy using only the windows installation from the partition you want to save. You can mount these small drives on top of another drive using mounting tape (sticky on both sides). SSD's are little dynamo's that are virtually silent and boot up very fast.
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February 11, 2010 3:59:40 PM

o1die said:
You can delete both hardrive partitions before installing your backup software. Then create one new larger partition. I use the hardrive software which is a free download if you don't have a cd. Every brand has their own; I use maxblast 5.0 for maxtor and seagate drives. If you want to give your system a real boost, newegg has an ocz 60 gb ssd drive for $169 before a $40 rebate. Then do a drive to drive copy using only the windows installation from the partition you want to save. You can mount these small drives on top of another drive using mounting tape (sticky on both sides). SSD's are little dynamo's that are virtually silent and boot up very fast.


Sounds like you have given me a much better option. I will try to do as you say. Thank you so much for your advice and your knowledge. I see that you have been a contributor to this site for a very long time. I cant thank you enough for your help. Have a GREAT day. Howie
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February 11, 2010 11:57:00 PM

o1die said:
You can delete both hardrive partitions before installing your backup software. Then create one new larger partition. I use the hardrive software which is a free download if you don't have a cd. Every brand has their own; I use maxblast 5.0 for maxtor and seagate drives. If you want to give your system a real boost, newegg has an ocz 60 gb ssd drive for $169 before a $40 rebate. Then do a drive to drive copy using only the windows installation from the partition you want to save. You can mount these small drives on top of another drive using mounting tape (sticky on both sides). SSD's are little dynamo's that are virtually silent and boot up very fast.


Hi once again, I am sure that you have better things to do than try to help some person whom you have never met, try to fix thier pc problems. IF I can bother you one last time, I will be forever grateful for your time and your wealth of knowledge. Given my situation as I explained it to you, you have made a suggestion to remove both partitions, create one larger partition and reinstall my software. As I explained, my system is not allowing me to do much of anything, I would greatly appreciate it and would be willing to pay you back in some way if you could provide the links or the information I need to do the processes that you suggested. I have been on the Dell Support site AND the Microsoft Support site and have basically confused myself further. I am not sure if you have a need for the following but, I have BRAND NEW in box, Karmon/Harden speaker systems with the powered sub-woofer and 2 sattelite speakers. I have over 20 of them. I buy military surplus and got these just sitting on shelves waiting for someone to use them. If you could help me, I would provide you my e-mail address, where I could provide my name, address, phone number and whatever else you may need. In other words, I would compensate you for your time the best way that I can. If it is worth mentioning, I live in Chesapeake, VA. I do want to thank you for the time that you have already spent trying to help me out. I realize that your time is valuable and I certainly DO NOT want to take advantage of your good nature nor your seemingly HUGE amount of experience and knowledge. Thanks so much for being here online. howie
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a c 435 V Motherboard
February 12, 2010 4:58:51 PM

You need to determine your hardrive manufacturer. Dell usually uses western digital. Despite my knowledge, I can't post links. So go to western digital's website and try support or download links. You'll need to burn a cd with the software, so hopefully you have a burner on your spare pc. Or check any old hardrive retail packaging for a cd which comes with many of them. If you have a floppy, you can create a floppy bootdisk at bootdisk.com for free. Then after booting up to the floppy, type the command format:c and see if you can proceed. After formating, you'll need a windows cd that will boot without using the hardrive. Test your backup windows cd first to see if it boots directly to windows. It will say: "press any key to boot from cd" if it works. You can test it on any spare pc without hurting anything. Also, use the "del" key to enter the bios while it posts and set your boot order to cd or floppy first if needed.
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a c 435 V Motherboard
February 12, 2010 5:03:23 PM

I would just test your windows cd first. If it boots up using the cd, then windows should give you the option of deleting both partitions using the "custom" command for installation. Just select "advanced" and both partitions should appear on the screen. You can delete them both then proceed. You may then be asked to create a new partition; then windows should format it before proceeding with the installation. If you still have problems, a few software venders on pricewatch may have dell cd's for xp or vista for around $20 shipped. Two I check are "royal" or 9software.
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March 7, 2010 6:15:52 PM

o1die said:
You can try the recovery feature; backup to an earlier installation of xp or do a repair. If you can't use the feature, then a format and fresh install would work. If using a sata hardrive, make a floppy bootdisk to install the sata driver if needed.


Hi, I doubt you remember me but if you can still read through this thread it may remind you.
I ended up buying a new HDD and upgraded from 512mb ram to 1024mb. I installed the new components, when I booted my system it gave me the following "error auto sensing hard disk drive".
I did a utility test and it said "Primary IDE Drive0 error attempting diagnostics" and an error code 0x0000007f. I am perplexed. It will not allow me to use the F8 function at all. Can you help?
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March 14, 2010 6:05:16 PM

Best answer selected by howie707.
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