|Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.|
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
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 compatibility, on another computer if you need to.
Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools can be used even if Windows is not working properly.
If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.
If the hard drive itself tests okay, you can
- boot the computer with something such as a Linux CD you have made on another computer and copy all the personal data you do not want to lose to elsewhere - CDs, DVDs, flash drives, external hard drives .
- or - connect the hard drive to another computer that is working and already has a operating system, don't attempt to boot from it on the other computer because it's not likely that will work, and copy all the personal data you do not want to lose to elsewhere.
You are probably going to need an XP CD to fix your problem(s).
Most Dell computers I've come across that originally had XP on them came with two Recovery disks.
The first one is an Dell XP Re-installation CD that can be used the same way as a Windows CD, the second one is a Dell CD or DVD with Drivers and Applications on it - black and white labels probably. If you. or someone you got it from, got the computer new, those should be around somewhere.
Or if you have or can borrow one, you can use a Microsoft OEM XP CD for the same version of XP you have on the computer, Home or Pro, along with the Home or Pro Product Key that's on the official Microsoft label on the outside of your computer case.
A Microsoft OEM XP CD has "For distribution with a new PC only."printed on it and has the Microsoft holograms.