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  1. #1
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    Default Format Xp On Dell Laptops Guide

    Table of Contents

    1. Before You Begin

    2. Drivers
      • Drivers
      • Driver Categories

    3. Partitions
      • What is a Partition?
      • Pre-Installed Dell Partitions
      • How to delete a partition
      • How to create a partition

    4. Step by Step on Formatting and Installing of XP

    5. What to do after the Installation of XP

    6. Media Direct (for core duo and XPS systems)
      • What is Media Direct
      • How to Repair Media Direct 2.0(step by step)
      • How to install Media Direct 3.0

    7. Need More Help?

      • General Format Questions Thread
      • Walk Throughs
    Last edited by Andrew Baxter; 31st December 2006 at 12:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Notebook Prophet
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    Default Before You Begin

    Before You Begin

    1. Back up any documents or files that you would like to keep including email, music, internet favorites, etc.

    2. Get a copy of XP (use 1 of the following options)
      • Order the XP CD when you order your system ($10)
      • Call Dell's Tech Support and request it

    3. Call Dell and request the software CDs
      • Some CDs are automatically sent with your XP CD including a driver disk and an Applications Disk which contains Dell software and junk software
      • Cyberlink PowerDVD (DVD decoder/player) and Sonic RecordNow must be requested separately

    4. Get the most important Drivers
    Last edited by Andrew Baxter; 31st December 2006 at 12:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Notebook Prophet
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    Default Drivers


    Most hardware devices require a driver – software that helps control the device. Use one of the following to obtain the drivers:

    Use the Dell Driver’s Disk that came with your XP disk – contains all the drivers issued for your laptop series (i.e. all Inspiron 9300 drivers are included on one disk). Once you run the software on the disk, the drivers that are compatible with your system will have a check-mark by them. Some driver categories might not have a check-mark, but still have a driver that is compatible with your system. You should still download these drivers. Warning: Drivers might not be the current versions

    Copy the driver’s folder from your hard drive – generally it is a folder labeled either “Drivers” or “Dell”. Copy this folder to a CD/DVD or to a jumpdrive. Once you have reformatted, copy the folder back to the c: drive. Most drivers will self install, but some won’t. Check the device manager for any devices without drivers. If there are any yellow question marks, right click on the specific device and select “Update Driver”. Warning: Drivers might not be the current versions

    Before you reformat, download and save your network driver (wireless or Ethernet) from Dell’s Support Website and burn it to a CD/DVD or save to a jumpdrive. After the reformat process, install this driver and then download the remaining drivers. You can also download and save all of the drivers ahead of time and burn them to a disk also. It is recommended to have a high speed connection if you choose this option.

    Driver Categories

    These are the driver categories for most Dell systems. The ones in red are required for all users. There are some drivers that are required for some, but not for others, so those are in green. The categories in black are completely optional.

    • Applications – optional software and Sonic updates.

    • Audio – required if you want sound.

    • Chipset – required for all systems; Ricoh driver is for SD cards on some systems.

    • Communication – required for modem/dial up connections

    • Diagnostic – optional

    • Display devices – only if you have an external monitor from dell

    • Flash BIOS – required

    • IDE/EIDE – depends on what hard-drive you have. If you have 5400rpm hard-drive, then you'll most likely need a driver from this category.

    • Input Device – required to help with touch pad controls

    • Network Device – required if you will have wireless/wired connection, or Bluetooth

    • Removable Media – Optical drivers (CD/DVD drive), USB media, etc. Most CD/DVD drives will have a driver here.

    • System/Configuration – Notebook System Software is required, others are optional

    • Video Driver – required for your LCD/graphics card
    Last edited by Andrew Baxter; 31st December 2006 at 12:45 PM.

  4. #4
    Notebook Prophet
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    Default Partition

    What is a Partition

    • A partition is like having a second hard-drive except with only 1 piece of hardware. It divides your hard-drive into sections (often called spare partitions) and will show up in windows under "My Computer" as another hard-drive with its own unique drive letter. This works exactly the same as your main partition, so you can save documents, music, movies, etc on there. Because of software complications, it is recommended that all software programs be installed on the partition that contains windows.

    • In the event that something happens to windows and you need to reformat harddrive, you could choose to format only the main partition (partition containing XP), so that you do not lose all of the documents located on the spare partition.

    Pre-Installed Dell Partitions

    The Restore Partition
    • The restore partition is located on your hard drive and uses around 5-10 gb of your hard drive. This will restore your laptop to factory condition including all of the junk and trial software (i.e. first day you received your laptop). If you do reformat your hard drive or edit the partitions in any way, the restore partition will no longer work.

    • If you want to save a copy of your restore partition, you can burn a copy of it to a DVD for later use. The instructions for how to burn a copy are located on GooDells.net. If you decide to burn a copy of the restore partition to a DVD, you will need to burn the whole partition, not just certain sections of the partition.

    • If you reformat the hard drive, you can delete the restore partition since it will no longer be valid.

    • To use the restore partition, reboot and at the dell logo, hit CTRL + F11 at the same time. This will only work if you have not reformatted your laptop yet and the restore partition is still located on the hard-drive.

    • To remove this partition without formatting, run this Dell Restore Remove Utility located at C:\Dell\Utilities\DSR\DSRIRRemv2.exe . This will delete the restore partition and combine the space into your XP partition.

    Diagnostics Partition

    • This partition uses about 40-60mb and is designed to run a series of tests to determine if something is wrong with your laptop. This will not detect all errors, but Dell does recommend running this software before you call them.

    • To run this software, Reboot and hit the F12 key. This will bring you to the 1-time boot menu, and you can select the Dell Diagnostics.

    • You can download this from Dell's website, and it is also located on the disks that is sent with Dell. You can use this from a disk, so it does not have to be on your hard drive.

    Media Direct Partition
    • This partition is located on systems produced from October 2006 through the present, and the partition will be labeled "MEDIA DIRECT"

    • If you are interested in Media Direct, do not delete this partition. It is contains the necessary software for Media Direct to run.

    • If you have this partition on your laptop, you do not need to repair Media Direct.
    • If you bought your laptop between January and October of 2006, you most likely have Media Direct, version 2.0. This version does not have a partition for Media Direct but is still located on a hidden part of the HDD. If you have Media Direct version 2.0, you will need to repair it by following the directions listed in "How to Repair Media Direct version 2.0"

    What order are the Partitions in and which can I delete

    The partition order normally goes as follow:
    • Partition 1 - Diagnostics Partition
    • Partition 2 - XP Partition
    • Partition 3 - Media Direct Partition (only on systems produced from October, 2006 through the present)
    • Partition 4 - Restore Partition (this will also be label as Partition 3 if a media direct partition is not available.)
    • Most users that are comfortable with formatting and have received the XP disc will delete Partition 2, 3 & 4. It is a user preference as to how you want your partitions set up. Partition 1 is normally left because of two reasons: 1.)it has valuable testing utilities & 2.) it can be used as the boot partition for Media Direct

    How to delete a partition:

    1. select the partition that you would like to delete and press D
    2. press L to confirm
    3. once it has been deleted it will be listed as unpartition space
    4. repeat for any additional partitions that you would like to delete

    ***any partition that is deleted is automatically labeled as unpartition space.

    How to create a partition

    1. select the unpartition space and press C
    2. Enter the size (in MB) that you would like the partition to be and press enter (if you want maximum size, press enter) (Example 30,000mb is 30gb)
    3. repeat if you want to create additional partitions,
    Last edited by Andrew Baxter; 31st December 2006 at 12:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Notebook Prophet
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    Default Step by Step Guide

    Step by Step Guide to Reformatting and Installing XP

    1. Insert the XP CD into the cd-rom and reboot

    2. If you insert the XP disc while you are in XP, it will ask you if you want to reformat. Do not choose this option. Make sure to reboot!!! If you do not, it will try to reformat using the HDD for temporary files, and this will cause errors.

    3. Press F12 at the dell logo to enter the one time boot sequence. Choose CD-Rom; reboot

    4. Welcome Setup Screen ---- press enter to setup Windows XP

    5. License Agreement ---- read if you want (although nobody does). Scroll down to the bottom, and press f8 to accept.

    6. Previous XP detection ---- hit ESC to reformat and have a clean install of XP

    7. Create/Delete & Choose a partition --- Create or delete any partitions (see previous post for more information) If you are unsure about partitioning, select the largest partition. Once you've made your selection, press enter.

    8. Select NTFS or Fat32 ---- generally NTFS is mostly used, although either will work fine. If you would like a quick format, you will want to make choose one of the top 2 choices. Once you have made your decision, press enter

    9. Format --- warning: this will delete all information on selected partition. Verify that you have selected the right partition. If you have the correct partition, press F. If not, press esc to go back to step 5.

    10. Setup and Reboot --- does not require any user action. Leave CD in the drive after reboot.

    11. XP Setup --- some questions will be asked (some of these might not apply depending on if you are installing Home or Pro edition)
      1. Regional & Language Options --- select language (default: English)
      2. Name --- enter your name (company: optional)
      3. Enter CD Key --- located on the bottom of you laptop (right side towards the back)
      4. Computer Name & Admin Password --- enter the name that you would like your laptop to be known as. Enter an admin password (can be left blank but for security reasons this is not the best option). Make sure to write down or have some way of remembering your admin password.
      5. Date & Time Settings --- set the time & date to your local time
      6. Network Setup --- if you are on a home network, use this setup to configure your laptop to connect to your home network. Otherwise, skip and go to the next step

    12. During the setup process, it will say that it is installing applications takes about 30 minutes. These applications are standard XP applications -- not junkware.

    13. Once the installation and format is complete, it will reboot and take you to the Welcome XP Screen which will ask you if you want to register with Microsoft or create any additional screen names.
    Last edited by Andrew Baxter; 31st December 2006 at 12:46 PM.

  6. #6
    Notebook Prophet
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    Default What to do after installing XP

    What to do after the Installation of XP

    1. Install the drivers (see drivers for required drivers)
      1. The first driver you should install is Notebook System Software, followed by the Chipset driver. After that install the remaining drivers.
      2. If you only downloaded your networking driver, you'll need to install this first, followed by the Notebook System Software, Chipset, and then the remaining drivers

    2. Run Windows Update and download/install current updates

    3. Check the device manager (Right click on "My Computer" --> Properties-->Hardware Tab--> Device manager) and make sure that all devices have a matching driver. If any device has a yellow checkmark, then it does not have a driver. Recheck the driver list above and make sure you downloaded everything that is required.

    4. Install any additional software that you want

    5. If needed, repair Media Direct using the repair utility disc.

    6. Optimize your laptop (see How To Optimize a Notebook Computer)
    Last edited by Andrew Baxter; 31st December 2006 at 12:51 PM.

  7. #7
    Notebook Prophet
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    Default Media Direct

    What is MediaDirect

    • This only applies to certain systems, so please verify that your laptop has the capability to watch movies and listen to music without booting into XP

    • It is a program that allows the user to watch movies/listen to music/view slideshows with out having to load XP. The program is stored on your HDD, but is hidden so you can not see it even when you are reformatting or editing the partitions.

    • If you format or edit/delete any of the partitions, you will have to repair MediaDirect. You only need to reinstall MediaDirect if you have replaced your HDD. You can request the reinstallation disc from Dell

    • If you press the MediaDirect button with the laptop off, it should load MediaDirect and give you the option to choose what you want to do.

    • If you press the MediaDirect button with the laptop on, then it will either load:
      1. MCE if you have XP MCE as your operating system
      2. Dell's Media Experience if you have XP Home/Pro. You'll need to request this disc from Dell. You can also download an Older Version and that might work.

    • Dell's Quickset must be installed in order for the MediaDirect button to function properly.

    • If you have a separate partition for Media Direct, you do not need to repair media direct. The following method is only for users who have Media Direct 2.0 and no separate partition for Media Direct.

    How to Repair MediaDirect version 2.0

    The easiest way to repair media direct is to leave your diagnostics partition on your HDD (normally called partition 1 ~ around 47mb). After XP has been installed, you will need to repair Media Direct so that it will use the smaller partition to boot your laptop.

    To repair MediaDirect, follow these steps:

    1. Create a MediaDirect Repair Disc (skip this step if you have the Drivers & Applications Disc from Dell)

    2. Download the Media Direct Repair Utility from support.dell.com (located in the Applications section of the Drivers & Downloads)
      1. Run the saved file & allow it to create a folder in the location of your choice
        • Directions will pop up in your default internet browser (check any current internet browser windows that might be open) These directions are incorporated into this guide
      2. Burn the Dell MediaDirect Repair Utility A05.iso
        • You must have additional software to burn .iso files. A free program has been created called ISO Recorder . You can also use Nero Burning Rom as well as several other burning programs, but they must have the ability to burn .iso files (regular Nero does not have this capability). If you double click on the Dell Media Direct Repair Utility A05.iso, your burning software should open up and give you the option to burn to a blank disc

    3. Insert the disc into your CD/DVD drive and reboot

    4. At the Dell logo, press F12 to enter the one time boot menu

    5. Select the CD/DVD drive

    6. Type cd\MD2 and press enter

    7. Type Repair and press enter

    8. Select OK and press Enter

    9. Turn laptop off & press Media Direct button
    If MediaDirect was repaired successfully, your laptop will boot Media Direct when you press the Media Direct button.

How to install MediaDirect 3.0 or reformat laptops with Media Direct 3.0

These directions can be followed for anyone who wants to install MediaDirect 3.0 or if you would like to completely delete all of your partitions, you can follow these directions. Special Thanks to dvakaduke for the guide

Preparing the Hard Drive for MediaDirect Reinstallation

1) Insert the Media Direct 3.0 reinstallation DVD, turn on they system and when the Dell logo appears, press F12 to select the DVD drive from the boot menu

2) When the recovery menu appears, you will have two options for partitioning the hard drive

a) Option 1: Creates the main XP partition plus MediaDirect Partition
b) Option 2: Creates the main XP Partition, MediaDirect Partition and a spare partition (recommended for advance users)
When you do this, the MediaDirect 3.0 disc will create three (four if you have a data partition) partitions -

1) diagnostic partition - 47MB FAT
2) OS partition - NTFS or FAT
3) MediaDirect partition - MD3.0 2.00GB FAT32

Once the drive is partioned, the user will be prompted to insert the OS installation disc. Select the option to reboot, press F12 at the Dell logo and boot from the DVD to load the OS.

Follow the steps in XP Guide to install the OS.

The instructions now say to insert the MediaDirect 3.0 disc to reinstall MD3.0 - however, I tried that and it didn't work. I assume it's because I had not yet installed the Cyberlink application, which MD3.0 is based on.

So I went ahead and reinstalled all drivers, applications (sonic and cyberlink), did the Microsoft update, THEN reinstalled MD 3.0 and it worked like a champ!
Last edited by Andrew Baxter; 31st December 2006 at 12:49 PM.

  • #8
    Notebook Prophet
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    Default Need More Help?

    General Questions

    If you have general questions about reformatting, please post them in our General Format Questions thread.

    Walk Throughs

    If you want to format your laptop, but feel uncomfortable with it, I can walk you through the whole process. It takes about 2 hours to go from start to finish (including installing drivers and repairing MediaDirect), but most of it is waiting around. I understand that formatting a laptop can be difficult, so this is why I offer this service. I have walked several of our users through reformatting their laptops using AIM/MSN/YAHOO messenger.

    If you are interested in this service, please contact me via PM.

    Edit: Due to a busy schedule, I am not available for walk throughs until March 1st.
    Last edited by Amber; 4th February 2007 at 07:02 PM.



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