replacing internal HD on Dell Pentium 4

November 30, 2011 at 11:16:09
Specs: Windows XP, 4g
my internal harddrive went out, and i want to replace it. if i have a dell pent. 4 does it have to be a dell hard drive specificly? and if i do get one to put on do i have to match up specs of the computer, and if so what specs am i looking for? also if i take out the old and put in the new do i just start computer and go to updates, or have to format it some how? or should i just leave it to someone that knows what they are doing. lol..

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November 30, 2011 at 11:25:55
You do not have to get a Dell Hard disk.

You will probably find that the hard disk is made by Western Digital. You can get a similar hard disk from almost any computer supplier, that is providing it is not so old that it is no longer stocked which may be the case.

You will probably find that it is an ATA drive, not one of the newer SATA drives which is unlikely to work in a computer as old as yours.

If this disk is the one that contains the OS which it will be if it is the only hard disk before you can use it you need to partition, format and install the OS. If you have a Windows instillation disk or a Dell recovery disk the procedure is reasonably straight forward. You boot from the CD and follow the instruction. If you dont have a CD with an installable operating system on it then you have got a problem..

It is not until the Operating System is reinstalled can you begin to think about updates.

If you have never installed an Operating System from scratch before then it might be a good idea to get someone to do it for you and watch what they are doing so you can do it yourself the next time round. It is not difficult but there are a few things that you need to know.


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November 30, 2011 at 11:31:37
Dell doesn't make hard drives, they don't make anything! They're a builder/assembler, not a manufacturer.

You didn't post the model/model number of your system so it's impossible to tell you what to get. There are 2 common types of HDDs - IDE (aka PATA) & SATA. We'd need to know which you have. And depending on the age of your system, it may not support HDDs over 128GB.

When you buy a new drive, it's completely blank. It will have to be partitioned, formatted, & Windows will need to be installed. You will also have to install drivers for all your devices (video, sound, network, etc), you will need to run Windows Update, & you will need to install an anti-virus program & whatever other software programs you use. And if your system has a SATA HDD & you want to install XP, it gets even more complicated.

Start by posting the model/model number so one of us can look up the specs.

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November 30, 2011 at 12:48:18
According to list of hardware manufactures from wikipedia, DELL manufacture monitors, computer chasis and printers.

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November 30, 2011 at 18:35:17
Might be easier to just get a new computer.

You end up with some bios limits, and some OS limits for bigger drives. I assume this is an IDE and they are getting hard to find. You will have to find your dell recovery disks to put data back on and that assumes you do have them. If the recover disk is pre-sp1 then you have to worry more about disk size limits.

If you were to replace it with a similar size and you have the disks, I believe it will return it to as new state.

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November 30, 2011 at 20:04:21
Are you certain the hard drive is physically bad? If it's just some corrupted files that are giving you a blue screen or preventing XP from loading you may be able to fix it or if not, use the drive's restore partition to reinstall the OS.

What kind of symptoms is it showing?

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