I think this computer is from roughly 2003... But, if it's not, in any case it is a Dell Dimension 4550.
It came with a hard-drive inside. 60 GB. It may be faulty, but it was seemingly functional with the old operating system (- XP -) on it.
I put a second hard-drive inside (which is read at boot time as Primary drive 1, and it should be 'Slave', I believe, if I set it up correctly). Anyway, this hard-drive I added is kind of messed up, but fixing that is another problem. (I'll deal with that later.)
The main important things for the purposes of this inquiry are that several times at boot time I have seen "Primary drive 1 cannot be found" but not always; and that the drive size is about 300 GB.
What I want to do is install, in this order:
- Windows Me (- don't ask me why, please. I don't need a lecture on how bad Millennium is, and was!)
- Windows XP
- Windows Vista
I used the 'fdisk' and 'format drive:' DOS commands (by use of a Me startup diskette) to divide the first hard-drive (the one which was already inside the computer even before I got it) into three partitions relatively equal, one primary and active and two logical on extended of course, and then to format them, respectively; and did the same, afterwards, and formatted the crappy drive I added, as one big partition. (That's because if I don't format the second hard-drive I added, as FAT32, the Millennium CD setup will either try to format it itself, or fix it, or setup just won't continue.)
But I'm having problems from the start when installing the OSs. I don't know if Dell ever limited their hardware to only specific systems, or if it's the faulty hard-drives I have inside, but the Me CD (which worked fine whenever I used it on other machines) now just installs the files properly but then, when booting "from Hard Disk", the setup hangs at the Me start screen, and if I wait 10 minutes or so it says "VMM32.VXD" is missing or something. And I have to restart the computer. Sometimes it says it could not combine the VxDs into a monolithic file, or some crap like that. If I persist, sometimes I get the blue screen of death saying "System halted", "...Protection <something>...", etc.
However, regarding the Me installation, I'm doing everything okay because I did it before successfully (on other computers), so there must be something wrong with some of the hardware parts.
Could those system files not be copied properly from the CD onto the hard-drive. (...I know that I wasn't permitted to use "format c: /s" for the C drive, which was recommended by MS, because supposedly "Windows doesn't use the /s command anymore" or something like that. That's the DOS reply I got when attempting it, and "format halted".)
So I was wondering if anybody can see anything I'm doing wrong.
Or where the problem might lie.
(For example, is it the fact that Me does not support hard-drives bigger than 137 GB? EDIT: I'm actually trying now, with the second HDD disabled in BIOS, to reinstall. <endEDIT> Could that cause it to never want to finish the setup process properly?)
I could sure use some advice. Thanks.
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Last edited by jeanpave; 14th Dec 2013 at 04:47.
And before doing anything else, I would test the HDD's. You can test using the drive manufacturers disk tools. If the disks fail or have any errors, they need to be replaced.Google is your Friend
The 137gb limit it a bios limit.
ME supports partitions up to 2 terabytes, thou supplied fdisk utility is limited to 512gb, use alternative partitioning tools to bypass this limit.
could not combine the VxDs into a monolithic file
Guide for multiboot setup here
While setting up windows me, disconnect that secondary drive
Being older system check caps inside case for signs of wearing out, bulging, leaking.
Test and install each drive separately. IF these are PATA drives, the Master/Slave settings introduce an additional level of compatability problems.
Each drive may function properly as a standalone, yet experience severe problems as a slaved pair. Also, one drive with problems can cause issues for BOTH in a slaved pair.
I wouldn't, but since you want to, installing ME on the smaller 60GB drive would be a first step. Then, disconnect the drive and start on the larger drive as a standalone.
Actually, the very first thing would be to test each drive, connected as a single, thoroughly and completely before wasting a lot of time on possibly bad hardware. New data cable, or at least newER, not a bad idea.
My preference would be a third drive for the third OS, you should be able to pair it with the optical drive. Then use the BIOS for boot drive selection.