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Wiping a Dell Dimension 4550 Clean


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#1 dcanoli

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:20 AM

Hi again,

In a nutshell - have an old Dell Dimension 4550. Trying to wipe it clean and restore it for one of my kids to play games on.

I have the reinstallation CD, and have tried every webpage solution I can find. Still no bueno...

CD in drive
Reboot

Computer will not boot from CD

Changed boot sequence in BIOs
Still no luck

CD will load/open find if chosen from MY COMPUTER option, but it will not boot or be recognized upon a reboot

Any ideas or tips?

This PC appears to have some issues too, so just wanna do a clean wipe and restore....any tips or walk-throughs would be appreciated. Tried for a whole day and still not NOTHING.

(Here's the last website solution I tried: http://www.justanswer.com/computer/541hk-restore-dell-dimension-4550-need-erase-restore.html)


Thanks!

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#2 rotor123

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:23 PM

Hi

Does the drive read the OS disc in the current windows.

Do not forget to either have the Dell Drivers disc handy or download the drivers from dell to a flash drive.

If you are using the Original Dell OS disc it is bootable.

If the drive is working the pressing F12 when the Dell logo appears should get you to the Boot Device Menu. At that point it couldn't hurt to run the drive diagnostics Since you mention issues with windows. (Boot Diagnostic Partition) or you can boot the Dell drivers disc for the Dell Diagnostics.

if the disc is bootable and the drive is operating properly then you should be able to boot from it in the boot device menu.

You could test the disc in another computer too.

I am familiar with the Dell Dimension 2350 through the Dimension 4600 and if the disc and the drive are good it works.

Edited by rotor123, 20 February 2012 - 12:32 PM.

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#3 dcanoli

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:35 PM

Does the drive read the OS disc in the current windows?

YES - But only if opened and read from the My Computer option/window.

*****

Do not forget to either have the Dell Drivers disc handy or download the drivers from dell to a flash drive.

Have the CD.

*****

If you are using the Original Dell OS disc it is bootable.

NO, not bootable from a restart, but can be opened from the My Computer menu option/window.

*****

If the drive is working the pressing F12 when the Dell logo appears should get you to the Boot Device Menu. At that point it couldn't hurt to run the drive diagnostics Since you mention issues with windows. (Boot Diagnostic Partition) or you can boot the Dell drivers disc for the Dell Diagnostics.

Have done this repeatedly, over and over again. Even changing the boot sequence in there. Not sure I know how to boot diagnostic partition...maybe I can run it from the CD...

*****

if the disc is bootable and the drive is operating properly then you should be able to boot from it in the boot device menu.

Tried so many times, my head hurts....the drive is not being booted upon restarts...it overrides what I put in the Boot Sequence Menu and goes right to booting normally.

*****

You could test the disc in another computer too.

Have not tried this....hate tying up another computer, as it is the one I work on.

*****

#4 dcanoli

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:42 PM

Hmmm...not sure about these results from the Drive Diagnostics....

Primary IDE:
Drive 0: WDC WD300BB-75DEA0 - Pass
Drive 1: No IDE device

Secondary IDE:
Drive 0: Sony DVD RW DRV-810A - Diagnostics not supported
Drive 1: Liteon DVD-ROM LTD163 - Diagnostics not supported

Test complete.

*****

Doesn't look so good...

#5 rotor123

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:06 PM

As long as you have one hard drive and two opticals that is totally normal since only the hard drives have built-in diagnostics..

From that same menu you should be able to boot either the Dell Drivers disc or the Dell OS re-installation disc.

do not remove the small Diagnostic partition. Although as long as you have the drivers disc you can boot it instead.

There is no way to change anything in the Boot Device Menu. You just select the optical drive and if the first one doesn't work try the other one. Or open it up and disconnect one of them then try F12 for the Boot Device Menu.

Edited by rotor123, 20 February 2012 - 01:16 PM.

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#6 dcanoli

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:51 PM

This is the same problem I keep having...

I hit F12, upon a reboot after Diagnostics

Pick Option #4: IDE CD-ROM Device, and all I get is this message:

Strike F1 to retry boot, f2 for setup utility

Every F1 press just gives you this same message over and over again.

*****

1. Normal
2. Diskette Drive
3. hard-Disk Drive C:
4. IDE CD-ROM Device
5. USB Flash Device
6. System Setup
7. IDE Drive Diagnostics
8. Boot to Utility Partition

Enter a choice:

*****

Got any other suggestions? This is the loop I have been continuously fighting.

#7 rotor123

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:55 PM

Sometimes you have to disconnect one of the Opticals. When you do that and then turn on the computer at some point it will give the option to F1 to continue error message. That is because temporary one drive is disconnected. Just make sure the one left hooked up is working. These Dells can be quirky that way.

Cheers

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#8 Artrooks

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:37 PM

1. Normal
2. Diskette Drive
3. hard-Disk Drive C:
4. IDE CD-ROM Device
5. USB Flash Device
6. System Setup
7. IDE Drive Diagnostics
8. Boot to Utility Partition


You could attempt the install with a USB Flash drive:

Install Windows with a USB Flash Drive using: WinToFlash

  • You will need another computer with a CD\DVDROM drive to copy the files.
  • Download the latest beta (0.7.0026 beta) from either the second of third download link.
  • WinToFlash starts a wizard that will help pull over the contents of a windows installation CD or DVD and prep the USB drive to become a bootable replacement for the optical drive.
  • Boot the old computer from the Flash drive using the boot menu #5 at top.

Might be worth a try if the other options don't work.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#9 dcanoli

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:08 PM

Sometimes you have to disconnect one of the Opticals. When you do that and then turn on the computer at some point it will give the option to F1 to continue error message. That is because temporary one drive is disconnected. Just make sure the one left hooked up is working. These Dells can be quirky that way.

Cheers



So, you want me to disconnect the other CD drive and then try it? I want to make sure I am understanding you right.

1. Normal
2. Diskette Drive
3. hard-Disk Drive C:
4. IDE CD-ROM Device
5. USB Flash Device
6. System Setup
7. IDE Drive Diagnostics
8. Boot to Utility Partition


You could attempt the install with a USB Flash drive:

Install Windows with a USB Flash Drive using: WinToFlash

  • You will need another computer with a CD\DVDROM drive to copy the files.
  • Download the latest beta (0.7.0026 beta) from either the second of third download link.
  • WinToFlash starts a wizard that will help pull over the contents of a windows installation CD or DVD and prep the USB drive to become a bootable replacement for the optical drive.
  • Boot the old computer from the Flash drive using the boot menu #5 at top.

Might be worth a try if the other options don't work.



Good grief...wow, okay...if the above option doesn't work; I will try this next. So much work to make a PC usable again for a kid....

#10 rotor123

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:13 PM

That is what I am suggesting.

I have seen on some of these Dells with two opticals it won't boot from either. SO I unhook one and try it. If no joy then I reverse which one is hooked up and try again.

Normally you want to leave the one on the end of the cable hooked up.

Sometimes I just pull the cables from the drives, hang the data and power cables out the case and hook up a known good spare and be done with it.

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#11 dcanoli

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:33 PM

Okay, just wanted to make sure.

It's been running a partition test for a while now. Looks like several of the drives fails, but I will have to wait until it's over to see what it says for sure.

Will try the unhooking in a bit. Thanks.

#12 dcanoli

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:54 PM

Just got home; haven't tried it yet, but...

I think this may be my problem. What's your take? Here are the results of the test:

Diskette Drive A - Diskette drive Seek Test: FAIL
Result Code: 1100-022A
Msg: The drive did not respond in a fixed time to an access attempt.

Diskette Drive A - Diskette Drive Read Test: Fail
Result Code: 1100-032A
Msg: The drive did not respond in a fixed time to an access attempt.

Diskette Drive A - Diskette Drive Write Test: Fail
Result Code: 1100-042A
Msg: The drive did not respond in a fixed time to an access attempt.

IDE CDROM - Confidence Test
Result Code: 0F00-133D
Msg: IDE device failed: Incompatible CD for testing.

IDE CDROM - Read Test: Fail
Result Code: 0F00-023D
Msg: IDE device failed: Incompatible CD for testing.

IDE CDROM - Seek Test
Result Code: 0F00-043D
Msg: IDE device failed: Incompatible CD for testing.

*****

Wonder if this is why the machine won't recognize the CD as a boot CD...

#13 James Litten

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:28 PM

You probably tried this but just in case you haven't, have you tried putting the boot disk in both of the DVD drives? By that I mean you put it in the top drive and try to boot from CD and it doesn't work so then you put it in the bottom drive and try to boot from CD.

James

#14 dcanoli

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:33 PM

Hey James,

I think I did try that, but hey - you never know...I may just try it again for the heck of it....

:)

#15 rotor123

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:24 AM

The A Drive is a floppy, either you don't have a floppy or there wasn't a good disk in it or the drive is bad.
the cdrom test failed due to one of the following
it needs either a blank CD, or a regular CD not sure of which to be honest.

Edited by rotor123, 21 February 2012 - 10:25 AM.

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