Problems Installing WinXP

Here’s the problem. If you can help me solve it, I will probably kiss you the next time I see you (but please don’t let that stop you from helping me!).

I have a PIII 1Ghz, 512 Mb RAM, Dell-made and installed a second hard drive that I would like to use to install XP Pro. The hard drive is new and there is nothing on it. I also wanted to install the XP on the new HD and use it as a dual-boot, so I could make sure everything worked on the XP side before switching over completely.

The new HD came with an IDE cable and the instruction to not use any other cable. I took out the old cable and tried this new one. When I booted up the machine, I got an error that said something to the effect of “no boot diskette found, insert boot diskette into a:.” I was unable to enter BIOS via F12, F2 or ctrl+alt+Escape. Ctrl+alt+del would restart the computer. I then tried to boot up the old hard drive with the new cable and got the same result.

I switched the cables back and the old cable booted the old drive just fine. When I tried the old cable and the new drive, I got the same result.

The XP disk can be read by my computer, so I don’t think it’s a bad disk.

Anyone have any ideas? Thanks in advance.

Assuming it’'s a regular IDE drive the new drive cable should fit and work fine on both. Have you double checked the jumpering of the first and second hard drive? Remember hard drives often jumper differently, you may need to set the jumper on your new drive and change the jumper on your old drive as well.

You may also want to try making the new drive a master and your CD drive a slave and put it on the second IDE channel with the CD drive.

Do the old and new cable look the same or does the new cable look as if it has more wires (twice as many) in it. If the old cable and the new cable look as if they have the same number of wires, go ahead and use the old cable.

Pretty much everything that astro said :slight_smile:

So, check the jumper settings (set HD to master) and plug it into the IDE 1 slot on your motherboard (you have 2 slots I imagine) and when the machine is booting, press DEL (or whatever it takes to get into the bios).

You said that you were unable to get into the bios? Has it always been like this or was it just after installing the 2nd drive? This page here…

will tell you the key-press needed to get at it.

Once in you can check if the machine is actually ‘seeing’ your new HD or not. If it isn’t you have a cable problem (or drive is dead?) and if it is then it’s most likely just a config problem.
Actually, after rereading your post I don’t understand what you did. I presume that you left the original HD in the PC and installed the new one with the new cable and you got “no boot diskette found”. This just suggests that the bios treating the new HD as master and isn’t even trying to bot from the second HD. If it’s the case then the bios (or correct jumper settings) will fix it.

If you are trying to dual boot, then i’d also suggest booting from the XP cd first and having the Install program write a new boot.ini file to the first hard drive. When you are able to get into your BIOS you may have to change the boot order for everything to work right.

Here’s the sequence of events:

  1. installed new HD (blank). Set new HD to master and old to Slave

  2. switched out IDE cables, connected primary (the one on the end) to the new drive and secondary to the old drive.

  3. Had boot problems.

  4. tried switching the IDE cable on the motherboard. The old cable has a “filled-in hole” (for lack of a better term) that corresponds to a missing pin in the HD/Motherboard to help orient the cable. The new cable does not, so I tried it both ways (trying to find which was was “right side up”). Didn’t work either way.

  5. Used old IDE cable. Nothing.

  6. Unplugged new HD and went back back to old one (at some point, I set both jumpers back to Cable select, but I can’t remember exactly when). Computer boots fine.

  7. Replaced old cable with new and tried again. Nothing.

I’ll try Astro’s suggestion about plugging it into the IDE for the CD drive.

Since I can’t get into BIOS when trying the new drive, should I set the BIOS on the old drive to boot from the CD and then restart with the CD in and the new drive installed?

So I’m guessing that it’s trying to install from the new HD and isn’t finding an OP system and then dies on you as the other HD (with windows) isn’t in the boot up sequence.

If you could get into the bios then you could tell it to boot up from whichever HD you wanted…

So how about you install both and set the old HD to ‘master’ and the new one to ‘slave’. It should boot up and then you could reinstall windows from the CD onto the other drive.

Either way, not being able to get into your BIOS is a major problem that’ll just continue to haunt you even if you get XP installed and I’d prefer to see you getting that fixed first.

Don’t Dells usually require you to hit “del” to get into BIOS? Sounds like a pun, but I believe it’s accurate. Ponster mentioned it, but it didn’t sound from the OP like you were trying that button.

Oh man, this was a fiasco. I finally figured it out, but I’m not sure what I did. Apparently, you are only allowed to enter the BIOS for the first half-second after hitting the power button. I barely had enough time to get back to the keyboard and it took me several tries.

Now that I have the XP thing set up and installing about a half dozen programs, I’m too lazy to continue switching everything over. For the next few days it looks like it’s Me for me. Heh.

Thanks for the help everyone.