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Need some HD Help!

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I'm a hardware novice and need some help. The in-laws have a Dell Dinension 4100 with a 1 GHz Pentium 3 and a 20GB Ultra ATA/100 Hard Drive. I'm down here for the weekend and my job is to get it working. When I turn the computer on, it sounds like the HD does a few clicks. Not beeps, unnatural clicks. Then it goes to a black screen that says "Invalid boot diskette, Insert BOOT diskette in A:" I tried running the 3.5 and it can't recognize a hard drive. Tried the CD and same thing. I can get to the DOS prompt from there and it doesn't recognize c: when I type it in. Says invalid...something. I got into the BIOS and the IDE Configuration is set to Auto. But the Primary IDE Master is "Not Installed." Does that mean anything? Also, my options for 1st boot device is: Floppy, ARMD-FDD, ARMD-HDD, IDE-HDD, ATAPI CDROM, and Disabled. I have it on IDE-HDD currently and the 2nd Boot Device is Floppy. Do I have that right? I sent the mother-in-law out to buy a Seagate 160GM Hard Drive (on sale for $40). Figured I try to replace that. That's the other problem. I've never performed surgery on a desktop before. Any tips? Also, she wants to get rid of ME and install XP Pro. If I get this working with ME, can I install XP later? A lot of question and a lot of info. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

-Confused in Cinci
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    Je suis Napoléon!

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well..it sounds like the hard drive may have bitten the dust...if she's already going out to get a new HD..and if she really wants to switch to XP it may be best for her to do the xp now (no needless formats)...then you can just install the new hd as master and install XP on it...then hook up the old drive as a slave and see if you can get to the files that are on it to save her documents...
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Yeah, no need to go through the pain twice. I would just cut to the chase and go with XP on the new drive....

XP Home is under $100..........
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