Installing Windows XP on a New Drive

Western digital / Wd500gb
August 18, 2009 at 08:12:49
Specs: Windows XP
I'm trying to swap out an old drive that crashed on a Dell Dimension 2100 for the new western digital drive. I started to install Windows XP as a clean install. It formatted the drive but didn't give me an option for sizing the partition. After format, it copied the windows XP installation files and then crashed. The error message was "disk read error." I tried booting from the included lifeguard utility disk, but the system wouldn't boot. My guess is that I have to partition the drive into blocks smaller than 137GB, but I don't know how to do it with the lifeguard disk that won't boot and the Windows XP disk that won't let me specify the size of the partition.

See More: Installing Windows XP on a New Drive

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August 18, 2009 at 08:31:04
First off you can flash the BIOS that may take care of the LBA48 limitation of hard drives, but being a P3 unlikely:

If not buy a smaller hard drive. The BIOS not the partition size determines LBA48 compliance:

Secondly DELL like the Hard Drvie set to Cable Select.

Third, my DELL XP CD's all give me an option to partition the hard drive if correctly recognised in BIOS

Last but not least the max memory is 512MB which is barely respectable to run XP, this PC is better suited to Windows 2000

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August 18, 2009 at 10:39:30
I agree with MWCC. I would just like to add a simple solution. Buy an add in controller card that will allow you to use the 500GB hard drive. You still need to have at least SP1 on the WinXP CD in order to work with a drive/partition larger than 127GB.

Check to see if you have an open PCI slot. I assume the new 500GB drive is IDE type.

Included are cards that only accept IDE and some that accept IDE & SATA. Read the customer reviews before ordering.

Check your BIOS boot choices to verify you can boot to the controller card. Usual setting is to boot to SCSI.

Look at the link below for choices on an IDE controller card.

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August 18, 2009 at 10:43:19
"I started to install Windows XP as a clean install. It formatted the drive but didn't give me an option for sizing the partition"

Have you done this before? You're supposed to partition the drive BEFORE you format it. You must have skipped right over that step & just accepted the full 137GB. As MWCC pointed out, it's unlikely your older system will recognize a HDD larger than 137GB due to the BIOS limitation. Your choices are to live with a 500GB HDD being recognized as 137GB, buying a smaller HDD or buying an IDE/PCI controller card.

And I agree with the comment about the RAM. WinXP will run with 512MB, but not all that well. Win2K would be a better choice.

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Related Solutions

August 18, 2009 at 11:31:51
(There was only one response when I started typing this. )

NOTE that many Western Digital IDE drive models have TWO ways the jumper settings on the drive can be set to Master - one for when the drive is by itself on a data cable - e.g. Master (single) - and one for when the drive is on a data cable with another IDE drive e.g. Master (with Slave). A second drive on the same data cable is often not detected correctly by your mboard bios (and Windows) if that setting is wrong.

You can use CS (cable select) jumpering if you like, but I never do. I've never encountered a system where master/slave jumpering does not work, and when you use CS jumpering sometimes you have to juggle positions of drives. With CS jumpering, the drive connected to the middle connector of a 3 connector data cable is seen by the bios as slave, the one on the end connector is seen as master. With master/slave jumpering, it doesn't matter which drive connector they connect to. All drives connected to the same data cable must use either Master /Slave, or CS jumpering - don't mix that - if you do mix them, some combos work, some DO NOT.
For 80 wire data cables, one end connector MUST be connected to the mboard - usually that's colored blue, but in any case, it's the one farther from the middle connector on a 3 connector data cable.

"I started to install Windows XP as a clean install."

Did you boot the computer using the Windows CD?

"It formatted the drive but didn't give me an option for sizing the partition."
"....Windows XP disk that won't let me specify the size of the partition...."

When you start out with a blank hard drive, XP's Setup doesn't format as a separate step - it (software) partitions the partition using FAT, FAT32, or NTFS partitioning (NTFS is the only choice for drive partitions larger than 32gb) , then it formats the partition, in one step. Formatting takes a lot longer than (software) partitioning it, so people tend to think they're just formatting.
When you start out with a blank hard drive, when you make a new partition Setup defaults to using the entire available space, on the hard drive you choose, that's detected by Setup. If you want more than one partition, change the size of the partition to a smaller number. You make the other partition(s) from the remaining unallocated space, later on, after Setup has finished, in Disk Management in Windows.

Windows and the computer's bios uses the binary way of describing the size. There are 1,024 bytes per (binary) kb, 1,024 kb per (binary) mb, 1,024 mb per (binary) gb. It should be apparent from the number of mbs or gbs whether XP's Setup and the mboard's bios detects the size of a drive larger than 137gb manufacturer's size (128gb binary size) properly.
There are 1,000,000,000 bytes per manufacturer's (decimal) gb, but your computer's bios and Windows don't see the size as that (a decimal size, based on a power of 10) ; there are 1,073,741,824 bytes in a binary gb (based on a power of 2).
Dividing the manufacturer's size in gb by 1.073,741,824 yields you the raw binary size the mboard's bios and Setup sees in binary gb. Multiply that by 1.024 for the size in binary mb. (Software) Partioning and formatting the drive uses up some of that raw space, so the size of the partition in Windows is always smaller than the raw size seen by Setup and the mboard's bios.

If the XP CD is an older one that has has no SP updates at all, XP's Setup cannot detect the actual size of drives larger than 137gb manufacturer's size (128gb binary size), even if the mboard's bios does.
If the CD you're using does not have any SP updates, Setup cannot make a partition larger than 128gb, or detect the total size of a hard drive larger than 128gb (binary). You're best off in that case to make yourself a slipstreamed CD that has the contents of your orginal CD with SP2 or SP3 updates integrated into it, and use that to install Windows.

The Windows CD must have SP1or later updates included in order to properly detect the size of drives and partitions larger than 137gb decimal / 128gb binary.

The original XP and later CDs with SP1 updates included have nothing about SP updates printed on the original CD. The volume label (the CD label you see in Windows) for CDs with SP1 updates is different from those for the original XP CDs, so you can determine whether the CD has SP1 updates by searching using the volume label (the CD label you see in Windows). XP CDs with SP2 or SP3 updates included have SP2 or SP3 printed on the original CD.
If the CD is a copy of a whole Windows CD, you can search using the volume label (the CD label you see in Windows) the CD has to determine which SP updates it has, if it has any.

Does the mboard's bios detect the full size of the drive, binary size?

"After format, it copied the windows XP installation files and then crashed. The error message was "disk read error." "

You should get NO ERRORS during Setup, especially errors reading from the CD.
If you DO get errors, almost always, the problem is caused by one or more of these:

- a problem reading from the CD
- the CD is dirty - if it is, clean it
- the CD has major scratches
- the CD is a copy, on other than a CD-R disk. Sometimes CDs other than CD-R's will not read properly in a drive they were not made in.
- the laser lens on the CD or DVD drive you have the CD in is is dirty - use a laser lens cleaning CD in the drive

- the CD or DVD drive is defective or has a poor data cable connection. In your case your drive is probably IDE -
- if you have more than one CD or DVD drive, try the Windows CD in another drive. NOTE that some bioses will only boot a bootable CD fron the first optical drive the bios detects - you may need to go into the bios and make the drive you want the CD to boot from the first one in a list of optical drives.
- It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittant, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

- Setup is very sensitive to even small amounts of ram errors you may have not noticed previously.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

If you changed which ram you have installed since the computer last worked (with the ram that was in it) correctly, not all ram you think should work will work in your mboard - it must be compatible with the main chipset's requirements.
If you still have the ram that was in it when the computer worked fine previously, try installing ONLY that ram if you know which modules they are.

If you do a ram test, do that AFTER having tried cleaning the contacts and making sure the ram is seated properly - otherwise any errors found may be FALSE.
If the ram is incompatible with the chipset, or on more recent computers, incompatible with the memory controller built into the cpu, it will likely FAIL a ram test - that is NOT a true indication of the ram being faulty - there is probably nothing wrong with it, and it will pass the test if installed in a mboard it is compatible with.
If a ram test DOES find errors, if you have more than one module installed, try the test with one module at a time - sometimes they won't work properly when more than one is installed, but it will pass when by itself.

If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).

- extremely unlikely - your new hard drive is defective

There must be nothing wrong with it's data cable connection, and you must not be having any ram errors, when you do the following:

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibilty, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.

Your model is apparently a desktop, has either an Intel 810 or 810e chipset, and has support for only IDE hard and optical drives.

Your mboard and chipset is of an age it's bios may or may not detect the size of a drive larger than 137gb/128gb binary properly.

Does the mboard's bios detect the full size of the drive, binary size?

Intel® Application Accelerator
Information on using hard drives larger than 137GB (48-bit LBA)

Intel® Application Accelerator
Notice for customers using Western Digital* hard drives larger than 137GB

If you are using large Western Digital* hard drives that are larger than 137GB, it is recommended that you install the Intel® Application Accelerator.

Using a version of the Intel Application Accelerator prior to 2.3 with Western Digital hard drives larger than 137GB may result in a blue screen error and the inability to boot your system. These issues were resolved in version 2.3 of the Intel Application Accelerator.

(My note - that will not affect anything while running Setup. It only applies if you have installed an older version of IAA after Setup has finished, such as from a download available on the Dell site for your model, or from a CD included with your model. After Setup is finished, you need to download the INF Update Utility and the IAA, and install them - see below.)

Intel® Application Accelerator
48-bit LBA BIOS support

Intel® 810 Chipset Family

After Setup has finished, you must install the INF Update Utility (the main chipset drivers).

Then you must also install the IAA - Intel Application Accelerator - even if the drive is smaller than 137gb decimal / 128gb binary, in order for the chipset to run the hard and optical drives as fast as it can on your system.

You can also install the drivers for the integrated video available there if that applies.

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August 18, 2009 at 11:52:30
Just to add that the cost of a hard drive is more than the PC's value...........................

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August 18, 2009 at 13:00:38
Geez tubes, who is going to read all that?

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August 18, 2009 at 13:11:49

MartyK, hopefully.


If the mboard bios does not recognize the full size of the drive, neither will XP's Setup, even if the CD has SP1 or later updates included.
See OtheHill's suggestion in response 2 regarding installing a PCI hard drive controller card (EIDE a.k.a. PATA) .

Note that.....
- you must be able to select SCSI, or hard drive controller card, or similar, in the bios boot order settings and have that listed before any other hard drive, in order to be able to boot Windows from a hard drive connected to the card. (In some older bioses that's not there - sometimes it has autodetect or similar for that, but on two brand name computers, both were Dell, I tried a drive controller card with, that had that, that will not allow you to boot from a hard drive connected to the card).
- don't install it in the last PCI slot of the PCI slots on the end closest to the center of the mboard - that slot shares it's IRQ with the onboard video, or with a video card in an AGP (or PCI-E X16) slot, and cards other than PCI video cards usually don't work properly in that slot.
- some drive controller chipsets do NOT support connecting a CD or DVD drive to them (e.g. Promise) - if you want it to support optical drives, make sure the description says it supports connecting CD and DVD (optical) drives to it, and/or it supports the ATAPI standard that optical drives require it to support. (e.g. Silicon Image chipsets).
- I have found when you install a drive controller card on a mboard with an older chipset (they were slightly older than yours or older) , the mboard will not allow the max speed of a hard drive to be any faster than the main chipset supports, despite the fact the card supports UDMA 133. E.g. if the mboard main chipset supports max UDMA 66, the card can run a hard drive no faster than that.
- they usually come with at least one 80 wire 3 connector data cable

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