View Full Version : Preinstalling WinXP Pro, what problems could I encounter?

22-09-2003, 12:31 PM
I have this P.O.S (piece of sh!@#$t) computer, which I have tried installing XP Pro on but have faced many problems that is not worth fixing but is still capable of running. This is why I'm not fond of 'branded' computers, sometimes the hardware is customised to go well with the customised case, meaning you have to replace just about everything just to get it working which doesn't add up.

I want to format it but...

a)floppy drive booting = Disk I/O error, thought may have been because of the drive, so I added a drive to it (due to being customised for the case, I could have just replaced it if it was possible) and replaced cable but still same error so I'm suspecting the motherboard FDC (floppy disk controller) is the culprit, but I don't have a FDC card to try.

b)CDROM booting = doesn't appear to be working, BIOS settings have been set properly, maybe more problems related to the Motherboard. The CD just doesn't want to sit still (green light coming on quite a bit, doesn't settle), which I believe could be the reason why it can't boot the CDROM because of it being active and not allowing it to be read.

c) The problem could be BIOS related, being a brand computer, updates for the BIOS is impossible to find, and even knowing who the vendor of the BIOS is, you probably still need to get it from the brand computer's site.

So I was thinking, if I format it in a PC that can boot from CD and just preinstall it, till it gets to the point where setup is about to begin and throw it (out the window) back in the other computer would this work?

Just thinking that the computer I'll be using definitely doesn't have the cr@#%p built into this PC, so would it install drivers for that computer hardware?, or does that follow during the setup.

I'm sure it's only loading universal drivers for the meantime but I'm not sure until I try it myself, but was wondering if anyone has attempted or knows this works.

I've got nothing to lose really, I'll probably just gain another boat anchor (salvage what I can from it, screws and jumpers always come in handy)

22-09-2003, 03:45 PM
Install it in the other computer and just before closing down remove all the hardware from device manager that is not relevant to the other.

22-09-2003, 08:56 PM
Worse case scenario, apparently the BIOS used in this 'branded' PC does not match Hard Drive Geometry (possibly specifically programmed this way for branded PCs to stop switching the drive in another computer). It does allow manual insertion of the Hard Drive parameters but it's limited which means I can't match it up with any of the settings the other computers BIOS comes up with.

I now have a formatted Hard Drive, A floppy drive that doesn't boot from floppy a CDROM drive that doesn't boot, and a hard drive that can't be read.

I really don't know what I can do now, apart from biff this computer, but how does installing from a network work? I suppose you need an operating system, and since I can't get to one I've lost my chance of doing that?

22-09-2003, 09:03 PM
Short answer.... tape windows xp to the side of the case and throw it out the window. keep the screen.



22-09-2003, 09:49 PM

Windows XP handles different hardware quite well. I took my hard drive from one machine to my new machine, whacked it in, turned it on, and away she went with no issues. Much different hardware (AMD to Intel, 750Mhz to 2.2G, different motherboard, ram, everything) and no questions asked. I think you should have no problems (except perhaps the activation questions, but if it's not activated on the install machine that shouldn't be an issue). XP seems to install pretty much all its drivers onto the HDD on install, so if you move the drive from one PC to another it'll just unload one driver and load the new relevant ones.

Give it a go :)


23-09-2003, 11:34 PM
Well the computer I would have done it in was Dual Processor, which means it'll load the (SMP) Multiprocessor Kernel which can't be changed to Uniprocessor without reinstalling, would have use single processor machines but there's a really huge time difference, saving possibly 20+ minutes.

I did fix the problem, strange thing with the floppy disks, the computer I used to create the start up disks did not work with that computer, so I tried on my one and it work and it booted from the disks. Still don't know about the CDROM, maybe I have to format the CDs on my Computer :P

I never did trust those floppy disk drives or the disks but I'm glad I got it working, although the drive had bad sectors on it, which meant I had to partition around that section, but it works, so I'm happy.

23-09-2003, 11:39 PM
Oh Mike, just to point out what I said,

The Hard Drive Parameters would not match up, meaning the Heads/Cylinders/Sectors of the Drive would not be the same as the computer I was going to put it in (these are all BIOS settings).

You need those settings to match up so the MBR can be read, the partition table not out of place, etc. The MBR which is created at the beginning of the drive, if you don't match those parameters then the MBR will not be correct/not be seen, etc. The Partition table, which has the layout of the partitions is created at sections of the drive, changing the parameters makes the table inaccurate.