Can't format a BRAND NEW DRIVE WinXP

Dell Dimension e520 desktop
January 13, 2011 at 15:33:36
Specs: Windows XP, Pentium 2.8 GZ, 504 ram
My old hard drive moves at a snails pace! Virus detects nothing, no errors are reported. I've backed up all info and am attempting to reformat the drive w/ the XP CD startup (this is not new to me...I've done it many times in years past on other computers). Initially, the boot works but then hits a brick wall with an error message on an almost neon blue screen: A problem has been detected and window has been shut town to prevent damage to your computer...yada yada. Why does this show up if I'm doing an entire wipe/format? additionally, I thought that the hard drive was entirely unrecoverable and hence, bought a brand new drive. I installed the device and when I attempt to format in the same manner as above, I GET THE EXACT SAME MESSAGE! Anyone's help would be greatly appreciated!

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#1
January 13, 2011 at 16:34:53
Are the hard drives SATA type?

Provide system specs. Or if pre-built, the brand and full model number.


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#2
January 13, 2011 at 17:31:22
Wow...extremely grateful for speedy reply! Yes, they are SATA (serial ATA?) as per the setup data upon pressing f2 at startup. May I ask what you mean by system specs? Thanks!!

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#3
January 13, 2011 at 17:38:35
System specs = make/model of motherboard, CPU, RAM, video card, HDD, power supply, etc. I already know at 2 weak points in your system - you don't have enough RAM (504MB) & you're using the onboard video (8MB).

XP doesn't support SATA HDDs unless you install the SATA drivers during setup. Watch for the prompt, press F6, then load the drivers from a floppy disc. There are other ways around it, but they've been discussed so many times that it's not worth typing out again.


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Related Solutions

#4
January 13, 2011 at 18:59:00
got it. I assumed that was known as it was asked of me upon posting question.
I have reformatted this old hard drive before (twice in fact) with no such issues.
This computer does not have a floppy...do any newer computers have any anymore?
Specs:
Dell Dimension E520
XP Home Edition, Version 2002, SP3
Intel Pentium(R) D CPU 2.80 GHz
504 MB Ram
Western Digital 80 GB HD, RAID bios
110v power (USA)
no upgraded video

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#5
January 14, 2011 at 04:01:00
It is best when installing an OS to keep hardware to a minimum. Remove any external hardware not essential to the installation.

According to specs from Dell that computer originally came with some version of Vista included.

Did you ever enter the BIOS (setup0 screens and make any changes? Options in those screens are not available to us but the SATA issue is real. Some BIOSes have an option to run a SATA hard drive in an IDE mode. That option may be the reason you were able to format and install without providing SATA controller drivers.

Some versions of that Dell model came with TWO hard drives that could be run in RAID 1 mirroring or used as twice the storage capacity. Not sure how Dell was setting that up.

I mention this for two reasons. First, are there two hard drives installed? If not, then are you connecting to the same exact SATA port? Tightly bending the SATA data cable can cause data failure. If you have tucked the cable neatly into itself that could be a problem.

Also, if any BIOS settings have been changed that could be the problem.

Below is a Dell link where I culled the specs.

http://www.dell.com/us/en/dfh/deskt...


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#6
January 14, 2011 at 13:36:02
Wow...thanks for the detail! Some may be over my head. Your questions:
I have NOT adjusted the BIOS...I don't even know how...no changes there.
Very puzzling...never had vista on this computer; I am using the original disks that came w/ the computer...XP home edition.
-Only a single drive w/ this computer. I've attempted to swap out the old w/ a brand new 500GB drive that is a SATA drive as well. Exact same problem. No kinks in the cabling to hard drive.
The link that you referenced leads to a 'page not found' dell page.
Really appreciate your time & research. I'm not sure what else to do. It seems that there has to be a way to to this? Back dooring it in some way. No concern about lost data.

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#7
January 14, 2011 at 15:03:35
starting with the link. The length of the link was too long. The one below works.

Normally the SATA controller drivers need to be supplied or the BIOS must be set to an IDE compatibility mode.

Did you purchase that computer new? Look at the link to see what I posted.

http://www.dell.com/us/en/dfh/deskt...
fid=dimen_e520&cs=22&s=dfh


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#8
January 14, 2011 at 16:50:48
Yes, I bought it directly from Dell in April 2007. I have not upgraded in any way and again, have reformatted successfully (kids burden the system w/ endless games/internet activities) in the past.
I know these are not the answers you are looking for.
Still no luck w/ the link.
You mention setting to to an IDE compatibility mode. Is that do-able and what are the potential repercussions? Does increasing RAM have any impact? I thought that I was technically savvy but, I've been humbled!
Again, your patience and responses are VERY much appreciated!!

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#9
January 14, 2011 at 18:46:40
That first link works for me. Here it is as a shortened link, click-able or "cut 'n paste-able":
http://dell.to/hgAZom

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#10
January 15, 2011 at 05:05:13
The second link was shortened using tiny URL. Did work yesterday but not working for me today.

The IDE compatibility mode, if available, allows a SATA hard drive to act as an IDE. This can impact the transfer speed of the hard drive slightly. That is usually not something the normal user would even notice.

Other than that there is no other downside. Hard drives are storage hardware. The capacity is measured using the same formula as is used to describe memory capacity. That is where the similarity ends.

When you first start your computer you should have instructions on the screen. One should indicate what keystroke/s you can use to enter the setup (BIOS). Enter the BIOS screens and look at the first screen you see. Date and time should be listed there. If they are correct then you need not go further. Sometimes the battery that holds that information can go dead and the information go to the defaults. If that has happened then the compatibility setting may have changed too.

I suggest that if you find the date is wrong you correct the date and time and then save the changes and exit. Reading the screens will instruct you on how to do that.

Then you will need to consult the manual to find out if there are options to run your SATA drive in an IDE compatibility mode.

One thing I forgot to ask. Are you using the same exact disks to re-install as you used successfully before?


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#11
January 15, 2011 at 07:45:08
Again, thanks for your advice. I went to verify the disk for re-installation thanks to your suggestion/question above. I embarrassed to say that I was using another disk from another Dell computer (we have 5 in this house including 3 laptops). I swapped disks and IT WORKS!!! I am grateful for your commitment to my issue. Your patience and research are much appreciated. MANY THANKS!!!

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#12
January 15, 2011 at 07:48:05
Glad you ironed it out. Thanks for getting back with the solution.

FYI, you can and should make duplicates of those disks. Label them with the computer model they match.


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#13
January 15, 2011 at 08:01:27
Well, YOU ironed it out. A HUGE lesson learned. I thought one disk would work on another computer...no such luck. BEST of luck to you and again, HUGELY grateful to you!

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#14
January 15, 2011 at 09:38:32
Go figure. I have been following this thread and researching everything in the world trying to come up with a good answer and it turns out to be the simple solution again. Not the first time that has happened. I have got to learn to rule out the simple stuff instead of just blowing it off.

Likely


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#15
January 15, 2011 at 12:35:22
Yep, always go for the simplest fix first and work your way up.

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#16
January 15, 2011 at 12:55:01
I'm so thoroughly impressed the effectiveness of this forum. I've never seen such quick responses and genuine interest in resolving issues. Thanks to all!

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