|"And if your HDD is an SATA drive & you're trying to install XP, you're going to have to load the SATA drivers at the very beginning of the installation, otherwise the HDD won't be recognized."|
OR - go into the bios and find the SATA controllers mode setting - it will be set to SATA or AHCI - change that to an IDE compatible setting - IDE, or EIDE or ATA, or Compatible, or similar - Save bios settings.
Then the XP CD will detect SATA drives, as IDE compatible drives - you won't need to install SATA drivers in order to install Windows .
After Setup has finished, and after you have installed the drivers for the onboard SATA controllers, you can go into the bios and set the SATA controller mode back to SATA or AHCI if you wish.
When you use a USB connected optical drive, you may have a problem that can't be fixed - the XP (and 2000) CD only recognizes a small number of models of USB optical (and USB floppy) drives, primarily models that were available when the original XP was first released circa 2001 and haven't been available new for years. If your USB optical drive doesn't have a hardware PnP ID string the XP CD recognizes, you can't boot from the XP CD, or if you can you won't be able to load anything from it, and you can't run Setup from the XP CD even if you were able to connect a USB floppy drive and load the 6 floppy set that's used for computer's that can't boot from an optical drive.
In that case, you either need to replace your non-working internal optical drive - economical replacements are available on the web, sometimes locally,
Or - you must
- connect the hard drive to another computer
- delete the existing partitions
- make a small partition, e.g. 3gb (3,072mb) , FAT32
- install some bootable operating system on it such as Dos 7.1, 98SE, or ME
- copy the \i386 folder from your XP CD to the partition
- install the drive on your computer - it will boot from the operating system on the small partition, IF your computer can be used with that operating system - some recent mboards have no support for using them in older operating systems (there are no drivers in the older operating system that work with the main chipset, etc.).
- run a program in the \i386 folder to run Setup and install XP
See Response 1, 3, 7, especially 12, etc. in this Topic for more info:
NOTE that that guy could not boot from a USB connected drive of any sort because his old bios was not capable of that.
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.
Load the main chipset drivers first.
In your case, the proper driver downloads for your system are on the Dell website in the Software and Driver downloads for your specific model , or, if you got Recovery disk with the computer that has the drivers on it, you can use that.
If your XP CD does not have SP3 updates included.....
See Response 6
"If your XP CD does not have SP3 updates included, the best time to load them is right after you have installed Windows from scratch...."