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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I was wondering if anyone could help me with a computer issue. Our school was given a used desktop computer running an illegal copy of Windows XP Pro. I have a legal copy of XP Home, and I'd like to wipe the computer clean (already backed up the files we need, which aren't much) and start fresh with a clean install of XP Home.

I've set the computer to boot to the CD drive, put the XP Home CD in and tried to run the set-up, but part way through it always quits working. Is there any other way to simply erase everything on the hard drive, delete the partitions and everything, and start fresh?

The computer is running XP Pro, version 2002, SP 2 installed. It's an AMD Athlon XP 1700+, 1.1 GHz, with 256 RAM.

The computer currently has a C: partition of about 20 gigs and an unallocated portion of another 20 gigs. I'd rather just have one partition if possible.

I'm afraid I have no experience at reformatting or at partitioning, so you may have to use small words. :) Thanks for any help!
 

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Re: can't install legal Windows XP OS

G'Day hereami,

You raise a couple of issues here...

1: 256Mb of RAM is the bare minimum that will run Windows® XP, perhaps you should suggest to your IT lecturer that the school 'invests' in say a 512Mb stick of RAM to compliment this 256 stick that you have. This is of course the Motherboard will take the upgrade.

2: This 'legal' copy of Windows® XP Home that you mention...has it been installed on any other machine before? If it has you will have licencing issues when you attempt to use the Product Key that came with your copy. The best solution for this is to get the school to purchase its own 'retail' version of Windows® Xp Home.

3: The best way to create just one 40Gb partition is to completely wipe the Hard Drive with a free ultility program called "Darik's Boot N' Nuke" available from here. (Click the coloured link.)
This program will entirely wipe the Drive back to RAW format (as if it has just come out of the factory), so that you can then install Windows® with as completely clean drive.

If you need any further advice regarding the steps to install the Operating System, just let us know and we'll help.

Please post back with the answers to the issues that have been raised here.

In the meantime, good luck with it.
 

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Re: can't install legal Windows XP OS

Hey, thanks for the quick response. I know 256 is terrible, but we have no IT budget at this point so I'm trying to salvage as many working computers as I can. [We're a relief and development agency in Laos and I'm one of the English teachers - there is no IT department except me :)]
How do I find out if the motherboard will take a new RAM stick? And, I'd been told you have to add the same as you have - another 256, in this case, to make 512. Is that so?
Meanwhile, I will try the utility you mentioned.
Oh, and I don't know yet if this OS has been installed on a computer or not. It's not OEM, as far as I can tell. But I know what I have now is illegal, so I want to try. If it doesn't let me, I'll try something else. :) Thanks again - I'll keep you posted.
 

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Re: can't install legal Windows XP OS

Nope. I got to license agreement (still a blue screen, part of the setup), then it wouldn't let me get any further. I just formatted the thing with DBAN as advised above, but it hung at the same place when I tried again. Now I'm trying with a new keyboard - maybe the F8 key was just bad. :)

When I try that (this is a few minutes after the paragraph above), the computer keeps freezing at a black screen with a lot of info on it, such as "Diskette Drive B: None, Pri. Master Disk: 40060MB, UDMA 5..." and also a list of PCI devices. Any clue why it would do that?
 

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Re: can't install legal Windows XP OS

Hi again hereami,

You will need to enter the BIOS of the machine and set the boot order to this:...

1: CD-ROM

2: HDD or IDE0

3: Floppy Disc or Other bootable device

Insert the Windows XP CD; Save and Exit the BIOS and let it do its thing.
Once the installation is complete, you will need to re-enter the BIOS, and change the Boot order back to its default setting.

Kind Regards,

Edit: After the initial setup is completed, you will be returned to a black screen that says "Boot from CD....Press any key to Boot from CD...", but this time DON'T, or you will be back at square one again. Just let the computer reboot and the next phase of the installation will start.
 

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Re: can't install legal Windows XP OS

Alright, so my big problem turned out to be a keyboard whose F8 key was broken. :) Swapped keyboards and booted from CD and things worked out. Thanks for your help!
 

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Re: can't install legal Windows XP OS

Alright, so my big problem turned out to be a keyboard whose F8 key was broken. :) Swapped keyboards and booted from CD and things worked out. Thanks for your help!
Hi,

I'm sincerely pleased that evrything has worked out for you.
Feel free to post back anytime in the future if there are any other queries/concerns.

Kind Regards, :wave:
 
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