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Want to install new hard drive in Dell system

OK, here's what I have and what I'd like to do....

I bought a (new) Dell 8400 off eBay. It came with a 40GB HD and a 3.4 GHz CPU. I used the 3.4 CPU in another computer and purchased a 3.8 GHz for this computer. I also used the ram in the other computer. Needless to say this computer has never been used as it's been without memory.

I just ordered more ram and a WD Raptor HD. What am I going to have to do to install the OS (Windows XP with SP2) on the new HD so I can get this computer up and running?


There is no answer!
Political User
just replace the old hard drive with the new one an install xp, from either a stand alone disk or the recovery disks that hopefully came with the computer. oh and just format the new hard drive first, even if it is new.

I do have a "Reinstallation CD".

How do I reformat the harddrive??? I've never done anything this involved before.... All I've ever done is change out or add video and sound cards, CPU's, PSU's, RAM.... Just simple stuff.


There is no answer!
Political User
ok the swapping of the hard drive is really easy, if the hard drive is on just one ribbon by itself (cord etc..) which it probably is thats great, also make sure you put the new harddrives jumpers to the master position, there is usually a small simple diagram on the hard drive showing you the position, trust me this is easy. Once you have the new hard drive installed, stick the recovery cd into the drive, if it comes up "start computer with cd press any key..." or something similar****, press the enter key for ease or use, then wait for the cd process to finish, you'll then be presented with pressing f8 t agree to the terms of use, press F8 key, next it will ask to install new install or something similar, highlight that option and press enter, the next screen should ask if you would like to format your pc (quick format or normal) highlight the one that DOES NOT say quick, you want a full format, then once the format is done xp will install itself, then just follow the on screen prompts

I was going to tell you how to partition the drive, but i think thats for another day.

****if it does not come up with this message, restart the pc and as soon as you see the dell logo click on both F2 and the Delete button to get into the bios, why click both? well some machines use the F2 button others use the Delete, if you know which then just click on that.

Ok so now we're in the bios, go the the setting that says Boot, move along the menu by using the arrow keys, once you're there, make the CD-Rom the first bootable drive, usually you do this by highlighting the top row and clicking enter which brings up a menu, otherwise you use the page up down keys to scroll the options from the top down or down to up. you should get the picture, once you've done this scroll along again to the exit option or the last one, and highlight exit and save, highlight yes then press the enter key, now when you boot the machine, it should give you the option to use the CD.

let me know if you need any more help.
Last edited:
El Pescador said:
P.S. Cool avatar ... raised in northwest Louisiana and during my "salad days" I used to spend many a warm day at Buhlow Lake outside Alexandria watching APBA races. Had a Speedliner A/B runabout and a Mecury Hurricane in those days, but I was just a "wannabe" ... never could get up the nerve to go into the corners on a closed course and never had the logistics to run the marathons for which I did have sufficient nerve ... nowadays, I am old and gray but nonetheless I have developed the nerve to pay "barnstormers" to take me up in WarBird advanced trainers so I can take the stick once aloft ... LOL !!!

I was at Lake Buhlow a month ago. There's nothing like going into the first turn with 11 other boats.... I've been racing since 1981 - first with AOF; now with NBRA. Are you still in Louisiana? Do you know about www.boatracingfacts.com and www.hydroracer.net?

Some more pictures of my stuff here: http://community.webtv.net/DavidL6/DavidL6spages

Whatcha goin' up in - an AT-6? I'd like to take a ride in just about any of those old planes. I'd especially like to go for a ride in a Steerman....

To get back on topic... I just received the Raptor harddrive. Talk about fast - I ordered it yesterday morning! Waiting on the RAM now.



F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
Just an FYi for you. If you install new hardware in a Dell system, and you have existing warranty coverage. Please contact the tech support or extended services department and find out if they can get you covered for the 3rd party item.

More often than not, you will get coverage. No guarantee but its just a phone call away :)

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
One other thing, you might want to contact them for; what is their policy on the customer opening the case wrt their warranty. I'm not sure on this part, and don't have their agreement in front of me.

But am aware of some cases where after someone opened their case, they were SOL as far as their warranty was concerned. They called when something went wrong, and "sorry, you were in there". I used to no some OEMs and they did put a seal on the case (they didn't with me or a friend of mine though, and knew quite well I upgraded and didn't mind). Generally, they said much the same.

I do know that the Dells we have in the networking lab do have an "intrusion detection system" and quible about "the case was previously removed" everytime we boot them. I'm not sure their policy wrt continuing to cover the system in this case though.

If you got the system without RAM though, as a practical matter, someone would have to go in there to add some to get it running. so all might be well. If you removed it, I wouldn't tell them this, if you inquire about the impacts of upgrades on your system's coverage however...

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