[I appreciate this much, but do you think you could take that a little slower?
1. Is a windows 98 bootdisk free and where can I get one.
2. What is the 98 disk gonna do? how do I do it?
3. For fdisk, how can I get to DOS after loading the 98 disk?
4. I pretty much understand the rest of it but I'm gonna need you to go more in depth on setting up the partitions. I have about 75 gigs, so I'm gonna want the main one for XP Home to be about 65 and have the other 10 for tinkering.
Also, is this going to work after just buying a new XP Home disk from best buy? And how is this going to effect my dvd and cd-burner drives as I asked before?]
1. Win98 boot disk should come with Windows 98. If you do not have any computers with win98, then go to your friends. If you know of a computer that is running win98, you can create a win98 boot disk.
On a PC running Win98:
A. Get a blank floppy (the usual 3.5" 1.44MB)
B. Go to Control Panel. Open Add/Remove Items.
Select the "Startup Disk" tab, then click "Create Disk" button. This will create a Win98 boot disk for you.
What it does: This disk boots the computer and gives you a DOS command Prompt. This disk also contains FDISK.
2. When you boot the PC, you should see the command prompt. Type "FDISK".
It may ask you a question about anabling large disk support, type "Y".
FDISK will load. You have 4 selections. Type "4" to see the current partitions on your disk. Remember what partitions you have. Then press Esc.
Now choose 3 (Delete Partitions). Select the type of partition you want to delete, as you remembered the types of partitions you had. You may get a message saying "X" partition must be deleted before you can delete "Y" partition or something like that. Delete the partitions in the order they ask.
After you have all partitions deleted (Check this by using option 4, view partitions), choose 1, create partitions. It will go through a varifiy scheme. After it gets to 100%, it will ask you if you want to use the maximum space. If you choose "Yes", you will have only one partition, (C:\) and thats it. If you choose no, it will ask you to type in a size for the first partition. Thats where you choose 65000 (65 GB). After that, it will ask you for the size of the next partition. If you only want 2 partitions (C:\ and D:\) then type in the remaining space left, probably going to be like 9998 or so.
After that it might do another varifing test, then it will say you must reboot your computer.
Now for the tricky part. Whether this will work with the XP disk you buy depends on what type you buy. If you get the "Upgrade" version, you MUST have a operating system already on your computer. This means you cannot boot from the disk and setup XP.
To get the maximum results and best clean install, it is easiest to buy a "For PCs without an operation system" version of XP.
The fun doesnt end there either. Since you have a "Name Brand" laptop, more than likely this will occur:
You successfully perform a clean install of WINXP. But now your screen resolution is minimum and you only have 16 colours to choose from. Also, you have several yellow ! in your device manager.
This occured because often with name brand PCs and notebooks the drivers for the components are special and WINXP does not normally support the devices. WINXP will install generic drivers for everything it can.
To fix this, you must go to the Dell site and get drivers for your model of laptop.
Be forwarned! If the laptop is your only computer in the house, it is possible that your modem or ethernet card (NIC) wont not have drivers installed after you install XP, so you wont be able to get on the net to get drivers. Be sure to have a backup way to get on the net for drivers or download them and save them to a CD or whatever before you FDISK your drive.
The website should have all of the drivers you need. This is the only downfall of installing your own XP form scratch instead of using one from the manufacture of your PC. But you will not get all the unessasary software that wastes space, so its better in the long run if you ask me.
If you need something explained in more detail, ask away