Netbook format problems, ideas?

April 11, 2012 at 14:51:02
Specs: Windows 7
A friend of mine bought a net book at an auction from a company that went out of business. It had a log on user name and password, so we knew the only way around that was a format. We tried all of the bootable USB drive software, none of that worked. I had a WIN XP Pro cd and key, so I took the HD out of the net book, put it in a laptop and formatted it that way. The formatted drive works great on the laptop I used. When I put the formatted drive into the net book and boot up, it goes to the advanced start menu and that's it, back to the menu no matter what option I pick, even safe mode.

Any ideas...going insane. Thanks!

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April 11, 2012 at 15:40:43
You can't install XP in one system, then swap the HDD into another system with completely different hardware & expect it will boot without any problems. You need to install XP with the HDD in the netbook. And you need to know how to install it onto a SATA HDD.

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April 11, 2012 at 15:44:18
"It had a log on user name and password, so we knew the only way around that was a format."

That's not necessarily necessary, but too late now,

When you install a hard drive that already has had Windows 2000 or XP installed when it was connected to another computer, if the present mboard's hardware is more than a little different from that of the the original mboard, 2000 or XP often cannot deal with the change and will not boot all the way into Windows - typically you see the first bit of Windows graphics, then a black screen with a blinking cursor top left and nothing further happens.
Or - sometimes you get other symptoms, such as the operating system reboots the computer before Windows has fully loaded.

In that case you need to run a Repair installation of Windows procedure, often called (incorrectly in my opinion) a Repair install.

You boot the computer from the XP CD to do that.

However, if your netbook has no built in optical drive (most don't), usually you CANNOT do the Repair installation of Windows procedure, because in most if not all cases, the initial files loaded from the XP CD CANNOT recognize the model of the USB optical drive you're using. In that case, the XP CD is recognized as bootable, you can boot the computer from it , but all you see is a blue screen and nothing further happens.

If you want to use Windows 7 on it....

You could buy the Recovery disk set from the maker of the netbook's web site. That usually costs you a lot less than buying any new Windows 7 DVD of any version.

Or if they no longer have it, there are a few web sites that specialize in selling Recovery disk sets that may have it for a similar price.

Try here:

HP and Compaq only

If your netbook has no built in optical drive , you can install XP by either

- following a procedure to prepare a USB flash drive to make it bootable and copy the \i386 folder from your XP CD to that flash drive, then run the network installation version of XP from the flash drive on your own computer, or similar (I haven't done that myself).

Instructions available on the web in many places.

- or by removing the hard drive, connecting it to another working computer one way or another, delete all partitions on the drive, make a small, say, 2 gb, partition on it for an older operating system such as Win 98, 98SE, ME , or freeware Windows 7.x, install the older operating system, copy the \i386 folder from your XP CD to that partition, remove the hard drive and connect it to your computer, it will boot the older operating system, then run the network installation version of XP from the flash drive on your own computer to install XP on the remainder of the free sapace on the hard drive, or on a portion of that.

I DID help several people do that on this web site and have detailed info about that on this web site I could refer you to.

However, that requires that your mboard is compatible with using it with an operating system previous to 2000 - it may NOT be when the computer or the mboard is more recent.

- In either case, you copy the \i386 folder from the flash drive or the small partition to the partition Windows itself was installed on so that you don't need to provide the XP CD when something is needed from it.

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April 11, 2012 at 16:00:09
Thanks, I figured it was a hardware issue. I'm trying to make a bootable USB with pebuilder right copies the i386 folder, etc.. thanks for your help!

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April 12, 2012 at 06:23:52
Made a bootable USB with XP on it, things were going great, got the install menu on the net book on boot up, got the windows set up screen, then bam... BSOD. Checked out the stop error and found I needed to change the sata operation from AHCI to AHA in Bios. Restarted, and all is good!

Thanks for all of your help!!

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April 12, 2012 at 11:15:53
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"Checked out the stop error and found I needed to change the sata operation from AHCI to AHA in Bios."

The original XP (and 2000) CDs have no built in SATA drive controller drivers.

You have to either do similar to what you did, or provide the SATA drive controller drivers while files load from the CD, one way or another.

Installing XP and SATA drive controllers, SATA drives; the SATA drive controller bios settings.
See response 2:

XP doesn't have the drivers built in for most things that first came out after XP was first released, circa 2001, and it doesn't have some of the drivers built in for things made before that.

Whenever you load Windows from a regular Windows CD (or DVD) from scratch, after Setup is finished you must load the drivers for the mboard, particularly the main chipset drivers, in order for Windows to have the proper drivers for and information about your mboard hardware, including it's AGP or PCI-E, ACPI, USB 2.0 if it has it, and hard drive controller support. If you have a generic system and have the CD that came with the mboard, all the necessary drivers are on it. If you load drivers from the web, brand name system builders and mboard makers often DO NOT have the main chipset drivers listed in the downloads for your model - in that case you must go to the maker of the main chipset's web site, get the drivers, and load them.

If you get main chipset drivers from the maker of the main chipset's web site, you must choose the drivers for the mobile version of the chipset for laptops or netbooks, which have more support for recognizing and installing built in support XP has for devices that only mboards for laptops and netbooks have.

XP must have SP1 or later (Windows) updates installed in it in order for it to have the built in support for using SATA drive controllers, and USB 2.0 controllers and USB 2.0 devices.

The built in support Windows has for USB 2.0 controllers and USB 2.0 devices is NOT installed in Windows until AFTER the main chipset drivers have been installed for the mboard. .

All versions of XP come with IE 6 (Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6), but many web sites no longer support using IE 6.

Install IE 8.
Even if you don't use IE for your internet browser, some files that are installed for it are not specifically for the IE browser that other internet browers benefit from

Download Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft is only supplying NEW Windows updates for XP if it has SP3 (Windows) updates installed in it.

RIGHT click on My Computer, choose Properties.

On the right side of the window that pops up, on the default page....

-- if no Service Pack is mentioned, you must install SP1a (Windows) updates, then SP3 (Windows) updates.

- if it shows Service Pack 1, or Service Pack 2, you must install SP3 (Windows) updates.

Windows XP Service Pack 1a Express Install (32-Bit) for End Users

(All versions of XP except Pro 64 bit are 32 bit.)

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Network Installation Package for IT Professionals and Developers

Ignore this.....
...unless you have a dial-up internet connection, in which case, go here
and let Microsoft Update find the smaller SP3 updates download for you

Note that Microsoft Update won't find the SP3 updates until you have installed some other updates.

If you have not gone to the Microsoft Update (or Windows Update) web page before, you will be required to install an ActiveX program and some other files, and you may need to Restart the computer and go back to the page. in order for it to be able to find updates.
Do an Express search.
You may need to do an Express Search several times and download and install other updates before the SP3 updates will show up.

The Express Search finds the same updates Automatic Update finds, but it also finds the Service Packs that Automatic Update cannot install automatically (e.g. SP1, SP1a, SP2, or SP3 (Windows) updates).
Automatic Update downloads updates automatically but it does not install them (other than the SP1, SP1a, SP2, or SP3 (Windows) updates) until you Shut Down Windows and select Turn Off.
Updates found by Microsoft Update (or Windows Update) are both downloaded and installed after you have selected them.

The Custom search finds what the Express search finds plus optional updates you can select to install.

However DO NOT install, in those optional updates.....

- Windows Search, or Windows Desktop Search - it causes slowdown problems in XP.

- video adapter driver updates, network adapter driver updates, sound adapter driver updates, or dial-up modem driver updates .
If you want newer drivers for those, there are better sources, and there are things you need to be informed of before installing drivers for those

- it's okay to install monitor drivers.

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April 12, 2012 at 22:33:43
Some netbooks have an OS Install mode switch in the BIOS.

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April 13, 2012 at 08:51:43
"Some netbooks have an OS Install mode switch in the BIOS."

If it has that, it's more likely to be a Recovery or Restore feature that can install the original software installation including Windows, not just Windows.
That's usually the situation for the original brand name software installation for netbooks that have no built in optical drive (most don't; a few do) that originally had XP installed on them, but that isn't necessarily the situation when the netbook had Vista or Windows 7 installed on it originally. Vista or Windows 7 can be installed from the Windows DVD, or the original software installation can be installed from the Recovery disk set for the model if it has Windows 2000 or higher included, from a USB optical drive.

If the netbook has that feature, it requires data on the original hard drive to still be intact. Whether that can be used depends on what was done when jrobnz installed XP. If jrobnz deleted all partitions on the hard drive before installing XP, then that necessary data cannot be there. If there is a second partition that jrobnz did not delete still on the hard drive, then that ability MAY be there, if that second partition does have the data needed to install the original software installation.

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April 13, 2012 at 12:02:30
Please look up what "OS Install Mode" does

It is for installing windows, not recovery or restore

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April 13, 2012 at 15:12:39
Search for: "OS install mode"



System Setup Program
Dell™ Dimension™ 4600C Service Manual


OS Install Mode
Turns the OS Install Mode on and off. The default is Off. When set to On, memory is limited to 256 MB to allow the installation of older operating systems that have 2 GB memory limits.

It appears to be a Dell bios ONLY feature.
It has nothing to do with whether you can restore Windows from software already on the hard drive, and it's not necessary to turn it ON unless you're using an operating system previous to 2000. .

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April 14, 2012 at 17:10:40
Here is the Asus Manual

See the section where it says Windows XP Installation

And it directs you to go into the BIOS and change the option "OS Installations" to Start.

Install windows and then go back and change the option back to Finish.

This setting changes some of the apci features of the board to and it disables all the quick boot and turbo features.

There are similar settings on most older netbooks.

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April 14, 2012 at 18:07:32
What you referred to is under the heading "Installing Windows XP" - there is no "Windows XP Installation" text string in that document.

Okay, so it isn't just old Dell bioses that have something similar to "OS install mode" , but the purpose of that in the old Dell bioses I looked at when I searched isn't the same as in the Asus Eee PC manual you pointed to.

I've never had to use any such setting in any mboard's bios before installing XP, although I have not fiddled with many laptops and no netbooks.

I very much doubt that this netbook which originally had Windows 7 on it would have any similar setting.

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April 15, 2012 at 06:20:18
Umad bro?

Just because you haven't heard of something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I on the other hand do work with netbooks, quite a lot of them and I have had my bouts with installing XP and OSX for that matter. And the manufactures put this options in the BIOS just for this type of situation, Linux, XP, OSX installs.

Sorry for not being exact with the terminology, but I do most of this by memory. Guess I should have goggled it first.

So here

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April 15, 2012 at 14:24:47

"Umad bro?"


Even if I was, which rarely happens, if I fuilly vented by "buried" Irish temper on this site, I would probably be banned from posting here a short time after that - others have been for posting abusive language - so I'd never do that.

I'm not a technician, I'm just a very experienced amatuer who has fiddled with many mostly desktop PC computers, the original PCs and XTs and up, no servers.

Whether what you've brought to jrobnz's / my attention is of concern, if it's all about bios settings, depends on whether the bios version of his specific model has a similar feature or not, and we're not going to be able to determine that until jrobnz provides the specific model number.

"I've never had to use any such setting in any mboard's bios before installing XP, although I have not fiddled with many laptops and no netbooks."

jrobnz has mentioned nothing about problems installing XP, after he discovered he could get around his problem by changing a bios settings for the SATA controller mode.

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