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Help with reformatting Dell Inspirion 1300.


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#1
Soteria

Soteria

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We've reformatted a few systems in our times and usually know the ins and outs of the procedures. We have a windows disk with a proper key, though we haven't figured out how to back up our drivers. (maybe that help could be given too).

My issue is that this laptop will not LET us reformat to re-install windows. Every time we try it gets about 10% of the way through the hard drive changes. When it gets to the section of the disk for re-formatting the drive, it automatically tells us that the "system is trying to perform a dangerous operation" or something similar and restarts itself, only to go straight into our usual startup screen.

We'd really like to do a reformat and reinstall on the system but we're not sure how to do it. We can NOT risk losing this laptop, but we'd like to get it running like new again - which means wiping everything.

We'll be getting some external drives in the next day or so that we can store important files on (for work and school) otherwise everything will be erased and all important programs will be jotted down for later re-installation.

Can anyone explain why we can't perform our task, and what we can do to get the system to let us? I KNOW that these systems can have windows re-done, but I certainly can't get around this little wall.

In short:
I'd like to know how to back up our drivers for the system and from there how to format and re-instal windows. This would be on a Dell Inspirion 1300 with a 40 GB hard drive, Intel Premium M Processor 1.73GHz, 503 MG Ram.
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#2
makai

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Hello,

#1... have you backed up your important data yet? From the sounds of it, you haven't, but I can't really tell from your post.

#2... The best way to format, is to use the hard drive manufacture's disk utility. If you know which manufacture makes the hard drive, please post it and I'll help you find the utility to format. Once you format, you should be able to install Windows with no problems.

#3... Formatting will wipe your entire drive, so be sure you have accomplished #1, or you'll not be able to save your data.

#4... 40Gb is small by today's standards, I recommend you buy something larger (if funds permit)... like 120gb, or more, and just reinstall Windows on the new drive. Save your old drive and buy a USB enclosure to use it for data/backup storage. I can help you locate an enclosure if you live in the US. If you live in Europe, I can find someone who can assist.

You can find your laptop's maintenance information HERE. The information will help you pull the original drive to identify the manufacture (be sure to remove the AC and battery before removing the hard drive). Or, if you can still boot to Windows, just go to Start>run... type in devmgmt.msc. This will bring up Device Manager. Look down the list and expand the "Hard drives" list item by clicking on the plus (+) sign, post the model number of the drive that's listed, and I'll help you find the hard drive utility via part number.
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#3
Soteria

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1 - No we have not backed up yet. I'm waiting on my external drives to arrive.

4 - I'll have two 500 GB external hard drives through the mail soon. They're completely portable drives. Can those be used? I'm not entirely sure if that's what you meant.

I reformatted OTHER systems before without wiping my drive, so I intend to back everything up before attempting anything. This is my first time wiping this laptop.

EDIT: Attached the image of my device manager menu because I don't see anything that says "hard drives". :)

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Edited by Soteria, 27 October 2009 - 06:51 PM.

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#4
makai

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I reformatted OTHER systems before without wiping my drive

I guess we have a terminology problem here. When you format a drive, you basically wipe it. This is why I posted #1 because your post sounded like you attempted to format before saving your data. If you format the drive, you will lose all your data. You absolutely must back up your data prior to formatting.

4 - I'll have two 500 GB external hard drives through the mail soon. They're completely portable drives. Can those be used? I'm not entirely sure if that's what you meant.

What I meant is that since you're going to format anyways, I thought it might be a good upgrade for you to replace the 40gig drive with a larger one, and then use the 40gig for storage/backup. Since you're already planning on these 500gig drives to hold your backups, then you'll be fine with the laptop as is. And yes, you can use the 500gig drives as backup.

Attached the image of my device manager menu because I don't see anything that says "hard drives".

Sorry, my error. This is what happens when you need to go to sleep! You are correct, I should have typed "Disk drives". I apologize for the confusion. Sheesh, this is all you need, huh?! :)

Speaking of sleeping, I need to get to work at 1:00AM, so I need to get some shut-eye. I hope you don't mind if I get back to you about the discussion on formatting tomorrow.
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#5
Soteria

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Haha that's fine and what I meant to say was "I've reformatted other systems fine before, but I've never been able to wipe THIS one's drive". There we go? :)

Those drives should be here later today, they're taking longer than they should have when airmailed.

Thanks!
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#6
123Runner

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When you get the backup drives, then you back up ALL the data. That would be pictures, music, files, etc.
You can also back up "my documents" folder.
You can export your email settings. I can't give you specifics because I do not know which 1 you are using, but usually under the drop down file menu.

You will need to reinstall any programs. For those programs, if you have install keys for them, see if you have them.

For the drivers, Dell is really good at keeping track of what is on the unit. There is a service tag on the bottom of the laptop. You can also get them by the model.
Your Drivers
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#7
makai

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Hello,

I apologize for not getting back to you yesterday. I was tied up with automotive priorities.

According to the manual for your computer, there may be a restore function called Dell PC Restore by Symantec. This will restore your computer back to the day you purchased it. However, just like formatting, it will wipe all user data and also all programs you installed after your purchase. You will need to reinstall all your programs again.

Please read page 77 of the user manual… Using Dell PC Restore by Symantec. If you don’t have your user manual, or the your manual doesn’t show the information on page 77, you can download the latest manual HERE. (manual link at bottom of page)

As for your disk drive… unfortunately, Hitachi no longer offers their Disk Management software that allows you to format it prior to installing Windows. Hitachi has decided to just have users use Windows to do the formatting during the installation of Windows. There are some free formatting programs available online, but I’m not familiar with them as I use a purchased Disk Manager that works on all manufacture’s drives.

I would try to see if you can run the Dell PC Restore to restore your computer. If it’s anything like IBM’s restore, it will also format the drive before it runs the restore function. Be sure to supply power with the AC adapter before you start the restore process, as a dead battery may really mess things up.

Let me know how it goes.
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#8
Soteria

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Thank you so much! The system has been restored to factory settings. The ONLY thing I forgot to back up were my bookmarks and saved passwords for firefox and internet explorer. Those can easily be recovered over time though, so no stress!

Thanks again, you were quite helpful. :)
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#9
123Runner

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Glad that we could be of service to you.
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#10
makai

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You're welcome! Take care!

makai
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