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Need help with XP reinstall


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#1
lexort

lexort

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Hello and HELP!

I have a Dell 4550 that's been running Windows XP (including SP2) fine for some time. Last week I tried to upgrade Adobe Reader from Ver7 to Ver8, and things started going bad. The system seemed to be confused about which version was installed, and I couldn't get it straightened out. I attempted a System Restore, which unfortunately, also failed, and the system became hung. Prior to this event, I had periodically run AdAware and Spybot, as well as running McAfee VirusScan. Windows firewall was also enabled.

Booting from the XP disc provided by Dell (SP1), I first tried to repair the OS. Windows would at least boot, but other things were weird. I was unable to right click on the desktop to change the display properties (since I wanted to change the default resolution). The Firefox browser would not open at all, and Opera would open but would lock up as soon as I tried to enter a URL. IE7 would at least open, but I was unable to access the internet. (My network is a Linksys WRT54GS router with two wireless connections, and two wired connections, one of which is the PC I'm now having trouble with.) I was also unable to access the router through its IP address using IE. From the Device Manager dialog, it appeared drivers were installed, including drivers for the Intel chipset and the PCI ethernet card (NIC card?). I was able to run the NIC diagnostics successfully, and unplugging the ethernet cable did register in the system tray as having a network cable unplugged.

Since that didn't work, I then restarted the Dell boot CD from within Windows. At some point I got a choice of doing an "Upgrade" or a "New Install (Advanced)", and I chose "upgrade". I entered my authentication code and proceeded with the upgrade until it got to the point where I needed to activate XP. I selected the option to activate over the internet, and that's where it is now. A message on the screen says "checking for connectivity", and it's been that way for several hours. Behind the message window, I can see the Windows desktop, or at least my wallpaper image, but nothing else is happening.

So here I am, hopelessly confused, filled with questions, and eager for input. Here's a few questions for your consideration:

1. It seems to me the Dell XP disc can be used either to initiate the reinstallation (or upgrade) from within Windows, or it can be used as a boot disc. Is one way better than the other, or does it just depend on the state of the system?

2. Is the activation process smart enough to figure out I have a router and cable modem in order to complete the activation process? If so, any thoughts on why it isn't able to complete it? Would I have any better luck bypassing the router? (I've considered whether the NIC card could be bad, but given I had been accessing the internet just fine prior to the repair process, I'd be surprised if the card really is a problem. I could be wrong though.)

3. Accessing the router through IE by typing in the IP address seems to be a straight forward process, though as I said I couldn't even do that. Is there something basic I overlooked?

4. I've spent a lot of time thinking about the inability to access the router/internet, but I also am confused as to why I was unable to open Firefox or use Opera. Any thoughts there?

In hindsight, I may have acted prematurely in doing the Windows upgrade since the system was at least somewhat functional before doing so. However, I'm past that now and simply looking for any help I can get to get me back on track. I've optimistic that I've come to the right place for this one. I appreciate any help offered.

Thanks,

joe.
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#2
Neil Jones

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1) The Dell disk should allow either a repair or a fresh installation. If the system's totally up the shoot, it's better to boot off it.

2) If Windows knows what to do with the network card, it will happily activate through a router (assuming said router is set up correctly and has established a connection to the internet itself). It doesn't care how its gets online as long as it can get online.

3) Missing network driver most probably.

4) The reasons are many - damaged Windows, damaged user account, damaged files, damaged memory... could be anything. More than likely this upgrade has made things worse and I would recommend now would be the time to backup and wipe.
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#3
lexort

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Thanks for the reply.

It seems to me I have a chicken-and-egg situation now. If I can't finish installing Windows because it needs to access the internet, but it can't access the internet because a network driver doesn't exist, how does activation occur?

With respect to a new install, will the Dell disc wipe the hard drive, or do I need to do something specific prior to using the disc to do a new install?

Thanks again.

joe.
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#4
peter99

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Advanced Troubleshooting
Dell™ Dimension™ 4550 Series

http://support.dell....ced.htm#1207158

Diagnostic Codes
Beep Codes
System Messages
Using System Restore
Drivers
Resolving Software and Hardware Incompatibilities
Reinstalling Microsoft® Windows® XP

NOTICE: The Operating System CD provides options for reinstalling Windows XP. The options can overwrite files and possibly affect programs installed on your hard drive.

read the link at the dell site

Reinstalling Microsoft® Windows® XP
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#5
Neil Jones

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It seems to me I have a chicken-and-egg situation now. If I can't finish installing Windows because it needs to access the internet, but it can't access the internet because a network driver doesn't exist, how does activation occur?


Normally an "activate by telephone" option is available.
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#6
peter99

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You may need to install the drivers
Completing the Operating System Setup

NOTICE: When the computer restarts, you will see the following message: Press any key to boot from the CD. Do not press any key when this message appears.

1. When the Welcome to Microsoft screen appears, click Next.
2. When the How will this computer connect to the Internet? message appears, click Skip.
3. When the Ready to register with Microsoft? screen appears, select No, not at this time, and then click Next.
4. When the Who will use this computer? screen appears, you can enter up to five users.
5. Click Next.
6. Click Finish to complete the setup, and remove the CD from the drive.

Reinstalling Drivers and Software

The Dell Support website and your Dell Dimension ResourceCD provide approved drivers for Dell™ computers. If you install drivers obtained from other sources, your computer might not work correctly
reinstall the driver from the Dell Dimension ResourceCD:
1. With the Windows desktop displayed, insert the ResourceCD into the CD or DVD drive.
If this is your first time to use the ResourceCD, go to step 2. If not, go to step 5.
2. When the ResourceCD installation program starts, follow the prompts on the screen.
3. When the InstallShield Wizard Complete window appears, remove the ResourceCD and click Finish to restart the computer.
4. When you see the Windows desktop, reinsert the ResourceCD into the CD or DVD drive.
5. At the Welcome Dell System Owner screen, click Next.


The ResourceCD displays drivers only for hardware that came on your computer. If you installed additional hardware, those drivers might not be displayed by the ResourceCD. If those drivers are not displayed, exit the ResourceCD program. For drivers information, see the documentation that came with that product.

A message stating that the ResourceCD is detecting hardware in your computer appears

The drivers that are used by your computer are automatically displayed in the My Drivers—The ResourceCD has identified these components in your system window.

6. Click the driver that you want to reinstall and follow the instructions on the screen.
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#7
lexort

lexort

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OK, thanks for all the help. I'm most of the way there. For some reason, the installation process didn't ask me to activate XP this time, so I guess I don't have to worry about how that will work.

I have reinstalled the Intel Chipset driver, the NIC driver, the audio driver, and the display adapter driver. When I open the Hardware Device Manager, the only device that shows the yellow question mark is "PCI Simple Communications Controller". I would have thought that would have been installed as part of the chipset drivers, but apparently not. I also don't see a driver for it on the Dell Resources CD. The only hardware I've added to the PC is a USB memory card reader. Maybe it's related to that....

Other than that, things are at least starting to look normal. Next up is to reattach the ethernet cable and see if I can access the "real world".

Thanks,

joe.
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#8
Neil Jones

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"PCI Simple Communications Controller" is most probably the dial-up modem. If you don't use dial-up, you can ignore it.
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#9
lexort

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I can easily ignore it, especially since everything appears to be working. Well, everything is not much right now since I haven't reinstalled all of my other applications, but I'm at least up and running and accessing the internet.

Thanks again to everyone who helped out.

joe.
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