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Inspiron 1300 cannot start Windows XP


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Inspiron 1300 cannot start Windows XP

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I've just inherited an old Inspiron 1300 from my son.  I did a reinstall of Windows XP and loaded my software with reasonable success.  Not being very familiar with Dell, I probably didn't follow the recommended procedures exactly and ended up with some drivers missing (no audio or network card).  So I used a freeware driver manager software to check drivers and managed to get the ethernet working OK.  Then I shut the laptop down and went to bed.

Next startup, it does the POST OK but I cannot get it to boot into Windows XP.  I cannot access Safe Mode, just get a blank screen.  That happens whether I use the HD or the boot from the original installation disk.

I have can boot from the 'drivers and utilities' disk and even get the diagnostics to run.  The full test shows no errors, including HDD and optical drive.  I have made sure the BIOS is set to the default settings.  But I'm not sure where to go from here?  Any suggestions?

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  • goodness knows what the "freeware driver manager software" is or did. This is what you get for not following instructions and using unknown software.

    I would re-install Windows XP and follow the Dell required drivers re-install steps.



    my Dells:
    Optiplex 3020 - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit / Linux Mint
    Optiplex 3020 - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

    Precision M6300 - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    Latitude D620 - XP Pro SP3

  • Thanks for that reply.  I'm sorry, I did not make myself very clear.  I did actually follow the process outlined in that document but was left with various drivers missing.  My big mistake was not knowing about the magic 'service tag' so I could get the exact configuration of the machine.   And I do understand that I've been exceedingly stupid.

    Yes, I'd also like to reinstall Windows XP.  I'm not at all worried about loss of data.  Unfortunately the machine will not boot from the supplied 'reinstallation CD'.  Nor will it boot from another CD containing a retail version of Windows XP (although I'd be nervous to go ahead and use the latter without checking because of what I've been learning about Dell machines through this exercise.)

    So the immediate question is:  how can I reinstall Windows XP? 

  • If you're certain it won't read either CD, you need to do one of two things:  use an external CD-ROM drive, or replace the internal one with a new drive.  Have your run a full diagnostic on the hard drive?

  • Thanks, good to be getting some discussion on this. Yes, that's the curious thing.  The full diagnostic test (which I think is booting from the parition, not the CD drive) reports no errors with either the hard drive or the optical drive. I've just run that again To be sure.   I'll see if I can borrow an external CD-ROM drive as you suggest.  Will the machine see a USB drive do you think?

  • It should, yes and it should be capable of booting from one a well.


  • OK, I took the machine down to a local computer repair shop where we tried a USB optical drive.  It also failed to boot.  The technician said that the disk was being read (we saw something on the screen to the effect that setup was checking system settings). It was also being read from the built in CD-ROM drive.  We stopped there.

  • What happens if you remove the hard drive from the system?  I've seen a badly failing hard drive cause a no-read from the CD/DVD.



  • You're brilliant!!  When I removed the optical drive, nothing changed.  But when I removed the hard drive then the machine was able to boot up from the reinstallation disk, at least as far as I could go.  Does this suggest that I may not have done something stupid after all, that the hard drive may have just chosen that moment to play up (after having to work unusually hard for a change)?

    When I reinstalled the hard drive, I was back to square one:  the machine would longer boot up from the Windows reinstallation disk.

    I'll start doing some research on how to replace the hard drive on a Dell laptop.  Any tips you may have would of course be welcomed!

    Thanks for your help.

  • Sounds like the hard drive is toast.  Any standard 2.5" 9.5 mm EIDE (NOT SATA) drive, 120G or smaller will work as a replacement.  For example,

  • A followup post for the record:  I bought a replacement 80 G hard drive and, lo and behold, I could boot from the CD drive once again.  So now I have done a clean install with the Dell reinstallation disk, this time using the magic number (aka service tag) to ensure I got the correct drivers and installed them in the recommended order.  I now have a machine that runs well and has only what I need on it  No Dell partition on the HDD but that doesn't seem to be causing a problem.  So, apart from the pompous lecture I received in the first reply, this forum was very useful indeed.  Thanks especially to EJN63.  (It's also some consolation that it was a component failure rather than my stupidity.)