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Totally lost with this problem. Help is needed.


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#1
Ward74

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I own a Dell Dimension E510, P4 3.4, 2mb ram, 80 gb hard drive and dual Lite on dvd rom and dvd burner. Windows XP 2002 Media Centre with sp3.

My problem started after I tried to reinstal Windows Media Centre. I purchased a legal copy several years ago and used it many times on the same computer with absolutely no problems until the newest instal when I was prompted to enter a valid registration key. Apparently Windows only allows a minimum of activations with the same key. I am not willing to purchase another key for a product I allready own and paid for two years ago. I format and reinstal often to ensure security and I always will. I was left with 30 days to activate Windows. Everything worked flawlessly just like every other instal except for an anoying pop up to activate Windows.

I was down to my last 5 days to activate when I decided to go back to Windows 98. That key has not expired. I put the disc in the drive, restarted pc and tried to boot from disc. For whatever reason it wouldn't boot from disc.

I went into system setup or bios to change the boot sequence. Nothing is present. No boot from hard drive, usb device, cd rom....nothing. There is absolutely no options in Boot Sequence. Everyting is clearly labeled "Not Present".

Baffled with this and thankful I didn't format the pc before trying to instal Win 98 I reinstalled Windows Media Centre 2002 with no problems, reinstalled the drivers etc like I would have every other time.

after restarting the PC I am now presented with a Drive 1 not present Sata drive error screen. Press F1 to continue and F2 to enter system setup. System setup or Bios still doesn't show any options under the boot sequence. Pressing F1 loads Windows just fine and I can use it as I normally would.

I have updated or flashed the Bios with an updated version called A07. I have also run the dell diagnostics test (ctrl, alt, del) when the Dell logo is present. The test says the HD is ok but the 2 dvd drives are not compatible for testing.

I thought maybe it was a [bleep] good virus I had picked up while trying to find a crack for Media Centre so I ran a virus and spyware check. Nothing found.

I am absolutely baffled with this. For years I could change the boot sequence from hard drive to cd or even usb device but now there not present?!?!?

I am not computer illeterate and have been able to reinstal various OS's, hard drives, cd and dvd roms, memory etc with no problem on several systems for myself and friends.

The only conclusion I can come up with is the Hard Drive and or motherboard and but it still doesn't make sense to me because I am using the problomatic system to type this and burn movies, trade stocks, buy on ebay and download many torrents.

Does anyone know whats wrong with my pc? Any help would be appreciated. The device manager shows all drivers are present and functional as well.

Thanks for your time. - Ward
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#2
Murray S.

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I thought maybe it was a [bleep] good virus I had picked up while trying to find a crack for Media Centre so I ran a virus and spyware check. Nothing found.


Howdy and welcome to G2G:

Could you please explain the above?

Also, why did you not use the "Phone Home" option to re-activate XP?

Murray
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#3
Ward74

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Murray, basically after paying for Windows Media Centre 2 years ago and activating it several times with the key I purchased only to have it expire furiated me. It told me I had to purchase a new key which would cost me 199.00 US. I understand the logic and its to eliminate counterfeit copys and piracy but I do not support the fact that its the paying customer that gets screwed over in this case. Anyways, after a couple weeks and before my 30 days ran out I decided to take matters into my own hands and try and download a crack or a key generator for Windows. I realise this was illegal and not the correct fashion to activate Windows but after paying for the OS and using it for years only to have the purchased Key expire on me......as far as I am concerned, if I buy and pay for a working copy of anything, it better be good forever. I will never buy another Windows product again. Which is why I am going back to Windows 98 which I did purchase many years back and to my knowledge does not have a key that expires. At least my 98 key hasn't. I'm seriously considering a law suit but will not go forward with it. If I had 1 million in the bank and lawyers fees etc were not an issue I would consult a lawyer for a possible case with this. It totally, in every way is wrong and should be illegal. It would be the equivalent of buying a tv that will only work for the next 100 times you turn it on. Rediculous.

The crack I downloaded was a .exe file that was supposed to randomly generate a key for my version of Windows so I could activate it without having to pay for it 2 times. The file was scanned as it was downloaded for viruses and before I opened it. There were no viruses present. I ran the file and nothing happened except for a visual flash of the monitor, maybe lasting 1/ 10th of a second. I restarted Windows and checked the activation. It didn't work. I deleted the file and checked for viruses again, there were none. Then I attempted to instal Windows 98.

Thats it.

I don't understand how even a virus could do this. I mean its not a software problem or at least not one I am familiar with. The Bios does not have anything present in the Boot Sequence. The device manager in Windows does display everything with working drivers. No question marks. This makes no sense. To top it off I can still do everyting I normally would. Research stocks all the time, download and burn movies, pay bills online etc....but the Bios litterally says "not present" when in the boot sequence to cd rom, hard drive both ide or sata, usb device, etc....This is totally new to me. In the past I would have just formatted and installed a fresh OS. I can't in this case unless I get the floppy boot discs because the Bios doesn't recognise a cd rom and I won't be able to boot from disc. This is beyond me which brings me here. Any suggestions?
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#4
Neil Jones

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You don't need to buy a new key. Providing you have a valid licence and you're using it within the terms of agreement, you can activate it perpetually, until the cows come home. You do not need cracks when a simple freephone call and a bit of keypad pressing is all that's needed. Product keys do not expire. On occasion you'll get a message that says you can't activate online but a telephone call is all that's needed.

Windows 98 is effectively an accident waiting to happen now as its been unpatched for two years straight, therefore I really cannot recommend you use it for internet access.

Your issues are very unlikely to be malware related, however you state you have booted off the XP CD before therefore that computer is already set to boot from CD. Maybe your Windows 98 CD is not bootable? Try it on another computer? The drive 1 error message is easy to fix - go into BIOS and tell it not to look for SATA drive 1. Or this may be of interest:
http://support.dell....p.htm#wp1101033
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#5
Ward74

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I tried the phonecall to Microsoft.....They told me exactly what my screen told me, that I had to buy a new activation key because the key had expired.

I tried many times to go into Bios and try many different things. It doesn't know there is a sata drive to turn on or off. It doesn't know there is 2 seperate optical drives or even a 3.5 floppy. It doesn't recognise anything. There is no options to select anything!!! A very blunt "NOT PRESENT" is the only option I get. I can set a password and adjust the time of day though!!!!!

I brought the pc to 2 different shops now and they both told me the same thing. They have never seen anything like it. One told me to think about purchasing a new pc, the other recommended a new motherboard and hard drive.

Also, the system does not boot from disc. When I installed a fresh copy of xp, the pc was running and I had to double click the D: drive in order to access it. Everything works but BIOS doesn't recognise any of it and F1 must be pressed on reboot.

Thanks for your time. - Ward
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