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Thread: Format a Dell?

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    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Format a Dell?

    My daughter has a Dell.

    I know it has a hidden partition used for restoring by support.

    Her PC is really having "issues" and II've wanted to go through and set everything up differently anyhow, so, could/would I be able to delete all partitions and, in effect, start over -- assuming I have the CDs to re-install everything? or have they done something special; (bios or whatever) to eliminate that as an option? And if so, then what do/can I do?

    Regards,
    Chuck Billow
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    Re: Format a Dell?

    Suppose the hard disk failed and you had to replace it. What would you do then?

    Alternatively, what's wrong with ignoring the (fairly small) hidden partition and simply reformatting C:?

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

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    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Re: Format a Dell?

    John:

    1) I dunno.

    2) I dunno.

    What I do know is that tech people (on the phone) have been known to be wrong, and the last thing I want is to find out the drive is tied into the BIOS in some way...

    The system has been so bogged down of late that all I wanted to do is "start over, and set it up "right" -- NOT like Dell did....

    Hidden partitions I don't like, 'cause they smack of areas not in the co0ntrol of the operator, and there's already enough of that software-wise.

    So I was trying to figger just what I'm dealing with...

    Chuck
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    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

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    Re: Format a Dell?

    Chuck,

    To "reinstall everything" you have to have two CDs from Dell: "Operating System Already Installed On Your Computer" (previously "Dell Product Recovery CD") and "Drivers and Utilities Already Installed On Your Computer". Sometimes Dell supplies third CD - "Application Already Installed On Your Computer".

    If you are absolutely sure that you don't want to have Dell Diagnostics partition, you can delete it using Windows Installation CD or third-party utility as Partition Magic.

    You are right, in older Dell models (as well as Compaq's) hidden Diagnostics partition contained extended version of BIOS (and CMOS soldered to the motherboard contained downgraded one or not at all on pre-year 2000 models). But if your computer is only couple years old, this is not an issue. Just download and install the latest BIOS upgrade from Dell.

    Regards,

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    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Re: Format a Dell?

    I have Partition Magic... and, theoretically, I shouldn't have to worry aabout the BIOS... that's a "just in case", correct?

    Regards,
    Chuck
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    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

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    Re: Format a Dell?

    Sorry, I'm a little confused:

    >>You are right, in older Dell models (as well as Compaq's) hidden Diagnostics partition contained extended version of BIOS (and CMOS soldered to the motherboard contained downgraded one or not at all on pre-year 2000 models).

    Are you saying the CMOS BIOS would access the "Extended BIOS" on the hidden partition when booting up ? I checked my old Compaq Notebook (P2) and it had the hidden partition. I was able to "Look" at the contents and it seemed to have a BIOS upgrade and Flash utility (along with some other diagnostic programs). The one I am using generating this message (Presario 1200) has no hidden partition - just hidden directories with installation software (backed up on DVD).

    Just curious.
    Scott

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    Re: Format a Dell?

    Sorry I didn't answer you earlier.

    What I said that on earlier models BIOS accesses hidden partition when and only if you call BIOS interface by pressing F10 during bootup - that's why Compaq called such partitions "F10 Partitions".

    If such partition is absent, _on earlier models only_ when you press F10 during bootup, a limited interface from CMOS will appear, or on "ancient" models no BIOS interface at all with prompt to insert Diagnostics floppy. It was caused by limited capacity of CMOS - enough to hold BIOS but not enough to contain GUI files.
    What you saw in F10 partition, was GUI files for BIOS and BIOS backup (which you interpreted as upgrade).

    On contemporary machines (as your Presario 1200), CMOS is big enough to contain all necessary files, so F10 partition does not need anymore, and you can forget the issue altogether.

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    Re: Format a Dell?

    <img src=/S/thumbup.gif border=0 alt=thumbup width=15 height=15> and <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15>

    Confusion is cleared. Actually, I think you just solved a "Mystery Problem" I had a few years ago on a newly purchased Compaq that would not boot correctly. When F10 was pressed I got missing files errors when I thought I was booting into BIOS. Since the machine was still under Warentee, I sent it back but received a whole new Compaq.

    After booting and registering the new user. I noticed the HDD had ~10-15% less in capacity then rated. I found the hidden partition but Compaq simply told me that we where the keep diagnostic information as well as initial registration software when the computer was first booted.

    Never connected the two until now <img src=/S/stupidme.gif border=0 alt=stupidme width=30 height=30>
    Scott

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