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Dell Inspiron 531 - Formatted Hard Drive, Windows Install Problems

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Dell Inspiron 531 - Formatted Hard Drive, Windows Install Problems

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I am having trouble with my Dell Inspiron 531. The machine is over a year old, and I have installed Windows Vista and Windows 7 on it many times over.

Using a recent Windows 7 build, I loaded the Windows install from boot. I run through the procedure as I normally would to install Windows, but I was confronted with an error. The install would get to "Expanding files", but never complete. I tried again and again - sometimes it stuck at 85%, sometimes a little more or less. Then I am confronted with the error "0x800x0017" - a Google search suggests problems with the disc, but I am sure that the discs I am using here are well burnt.

I got frustrated, so I ended up deleting the partitions on my hard drive and formatting my hard drive using this Windows 7 disc.

I then inserted the Windows Vista disc which came with my Dell. This gets to the "Expanding files" stage, but sticks at 0% for a minute or so and then I am confronted with the same error message.

I researched some more, and discovered that the problem may be related to my hard drive. I believe that I am receiving this error because the install cannot read or write to my hard drive - this is just my theory. Some people suggested to download the SATA drivers for the hard drive onto a flash drive, and load them at install. I have tried this, but the error persists.

I am really frustrated as I cannot use this machine until I get assistance with this problem. As I say, I formatted my hard drive, so there is no operating system installed on the machine right now.

Any help would be really appreciated so that I can get my computer up and running again soon!

All Replies
  • Maybe the hd has gone.

  • When I run the install, the hard drive can still be seen, as it shows me the capacity of the partition on the hard drive after formatting. I believe the hard drive is still working fine.

  • Download and make a boot and nuke CD/DVD or flash drive, boot from it and let the utility wipe the drive for a few minutes, then cancel the process, now try to install your OS


  • Thanks for your reply mombodog.

    I downloaded boot and nuke and installed it onto a flash drive. I then booted from this flash drive, and I got a message saying "Could not find kernel image: linux". What should I do?

  • Try a boot CD/DVD instead.

  • I just tried this. It got through to a screen where I was prompted to select which media to wipe, but then froze. I tried again, and it stuck at "searching for floopy drive".

    Thanks for your help so far!

  • If you have a floppy drive, disable it in the bios, see if the utiltiy wil run now.

  • The autonuke utility is now running thanks to your advice about the floppy drive. At what point do I cancel the utility, and how? Or should I just let the utility complete?
  • Ran DBAN on autonuke, complete after 5 hours. Removed DBAN media and powered off. Started up the computer and I was then confronted with "no boot device". Inserted Vista install disc which came with my Dell and booted from this, and STILL getting the same error. Sticks at 0% of expanding files, and then I get the error "Windows cannot install required files. The file may be corrupt or missing. Make sure all files for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error code: 0x80070017"

    This is really bugging me, I need my computer back now! :(

    Thanks for your help so far!

  • I have seen similar issue with XP, what I think is happening is after the setup files are loaded from CD, the Optical drive is no longer recognized or the wrong driver is loaded for it, a hard issue to solve.


    1. Is this the original optical drive?


    2. Have you changed any of the jumpers on the drive, it should be CS (cable select) if it is an IDE device, no jumpers for Sata.


    3. Try a different Optical drive if you have one.

    Other Possibilities:   Bad data cable on the Optical drive, bad DVD, defective RAM, needs bios update, optical drive needs firmware update.


  • Yeah, I believe the issue is along those lines also.

    This is indeed the original optical drive, and I have not changed any jumpers on the drive. I rarely open the case of computer, as I know little about hardware.

    I haven't got a spare optical driver, but I will go and buy one if there is no other way around this issue.

    The DVD is fine - I've tried many copies which have worked previously until now. I must have gone through about 10 discs, all burnt at a good writing speed.

    The BIOS is version 1.0.13, which is the latest version. I've always made an effort to keep this up to date.

    Clearly the hard drive is functioning, because the computer can see the drive, and the DBAN completed fine.

    I brought my Dell about a year and a half ago. Would it still be eligible for a repair under the guarantee? Considering there is no answer to this problem on the internet, and it must be hardware related.

  • " brought my Dell about a year and a half ago. Would it still be eligible for a repair under the guarantee?"


    No, warranty is up.


    Look in device manager, post what model dvd drive you have, there may be a firmware update for it.

  • It would be quite impossible to open device manager, if only.

    Thanks to my service tag I was able to find that the DVD drive I have is GSA-H31N HH SATA 16X DVD+/-RW. The last firmware update was in 2007.

  • "It would be quite impossible to open device manager,"


    Quite right, sorry about that. I checked and the last firmware release for that model was 7-5-07, so it most likely has that version because you bought it a year and a half ago.

    expand  CD/DVD, then loacate the HDLS firmware for your model.


    Not sure what you can do other than try another DVD drive.

  • Stitching Method Burn the ISO into a bootable DVD (call this disc A), and then in addition, burn the files and folders of the ISO as a DATA disc onto another DVD (call this disc B). Boot from disc A, and follow instructions until the point where you select your drive to install windows on. Before clicking next, take out disc A and insert disc B. Now it should copy files and expand files with no problem. When it says "restarting in ..." swap out disc B back for disc A and everything should work find  ____-----CONFIRMED-----____ This one works, I've tried everything else, but this one really works, just follow the instructions!