Old Dell Inspiron 5100 - need to keep running for machine controller that cannot use newer than Windows XP

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Hello:

I had a hard drive crash on an Inspiron 5100 running WIndows XP Pro, replaced it with a newer computer, but now need to upgrade a separate machine controller PC that was running W98. That hardware cannot be upgraded past Windows XP.

So I formatted the crashed drive from the Inspiron 5100 along with a 2nd hard drive and proceeded to install XP Pro SP2 from an OEM install kit. I installed the product code that came with the OEM kit, but afterward wondered if I should have used the product code that was on the Inspiron 5100 case. I wasn't sure the OEM pack would like a different product code, and I only mention this in case it has anything to do with the setup problems I am having with reincarnating the Inspiron 5100.

The BIOS is A03 (2006) and it has a Dell-unique appearance and operation compared to the generic Phoenix and other common BIOS found on non-Dell many motherboards.

The Dell MB will run diagnostics on one of the drives but not the other, after successfully wiping and running diagnostics on them with 3rd party resources (UBCD). The Dell says no boot drive found initially but  pressing F1 allowed Windows to load anyway.

I pulled the CMOS battery hoping it would forget its past life, replaced it with a new one and it's even less educated than before...it fails a floppy seek test. I tried to install a floppy drive, but realized there is no FDC cable present, and I haven't found an FDC port on the MB (yet). I aborted the FD install goal and now just live with the F1 to get Windows XP to load.

It would be nice to get rid of that minor nuisance, but if it's because the BIOS doesn't like a 250 or 300 GB SATA drive, flashing the BIOS may be more trouble than its worth.

So now, if I go to Device Manager, the only apparent problem is one entry for Other devices (Ethernet Controller, PCI Device, SM Bus Controller, Video Controller and Video Controller (VGA Compatible).

An older forum post here (now closed, refers me to open a new post) with similar problems has links to drivers.

So, at last, my question...

If I select the Inspiron 5100 drivers I want to download, on a separate PC that has internet capability, I seem to be running into a problem that the download list  wants to auto-install after download. Of course I don't want those to install on a Toshiba laptop. Is there a way to just burn the drivers to a CD and install them on the Dell, or can I only download them directly to the Dell machine?

The 5100 doesn't have a network card at the moment (I don't remember removing it, but apparently did. Where it is intended to be installed, I cannot conveniently run a CAT 5/6 cable so I may go out & get a wireless NIC. I hope that doesn't present another driver problem.

Question #2: I have never found a use to date for a PCI-buss slot on a PC, but now see there are various NIC's, including wireless, that can use the PCI-E buss slot. However, there are apparently other parameters to worry about: -1, -8, -16 variants, etc. Is the Inspiron 5100 motherboard with A03 BIOS to old to deal with a more modern wireless NIC, and I should just pick up a basic PCI slot wireless NIC?

Question #3:  If anything I said above about avoiding BIOS updating is making my effort more difficult, please advise if I overlooked a simpler approach.

Even if I have to live with the F1 to boot into Windows quirk, the only remaining functionality I need for this machine controller application is network access...so I feel close to finished.

Thanks for reading and any advice.

Murray

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4 Replies
7- Thorium

RE: Old Dell Inspiron 5100 - need to keep running for machine controller that cannot use newer than Windows XP

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Start simple...

Reboot and press F2 to open BIOS setup. Look for the Floppy Disk (aka, Diskette Drive, or Drive A) controller option and DISABLE it.  Then make sure the boot hard drive is first in the boot sequence.

Save the changes before exiting BIOS. That should stop the diskette drive failure message when you boot.

Also sounds like you didn't install the hardware drivers for Win XP, which are here: www.dell.com/.../drivers

The Dell System Software (Utilities) has to be the first driver installed and following by the chipset driver. Without the chipset driver other drivers may not install or may not work. So in installation order:

1.  System Software

2. Chipset

3. Video driver (which one depends on which video card you have)

4. Network driver

5. Audio driver

6. Other needed drivers (eg modem, card reader, etc.)

EDIT: You said "Inspiron 5100" but I don't see that model number on Dell's Support site.  The link I gave you is for the "Dimension 5100". If you don't have a Dimension 5100, don't install those drivers and post the correct PC model.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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RE: Old Dell Inspiron 5100 - need to keep running for machine controller that cannot use newer than Windows XP

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Hello:

Not sure how I missed the floppy setting...easy fix. The hard drive is recognized now. I think the problem I had was thinking the optical drive was SATA...it apparently isn't.

0) Something isn't right with the fresh XP install (yes, I did not install Dell drivers yet as I didn't have wifi access yet). I installed a USB wireless 'device (not a card...) and worked on the machine controller issues today. I say something isn't right because I experienced three .exe programs I had to download...one for a remote support connection, a second I can't recall at the moment, and lastly the driver diagnostics tool from Dell. None of them responded. Weird.

1) Since the Dell driver diagnostic tool wouldn't run, I just looked at downloadable drives. I skipped audio & music-related as they are not needed on the target PC. BIOS A03 installing over A03 made no sense, so I skipped that. I selected the chipset driver and it was installing something with USB (xxxUSByyy.___?) and the process froze. No mouse , no keyboard, and no USB wifi 'stick' operation. Two power-cycles later, still no USB.

2) What to do at this point...not sure...reinstall USB defaults from the OEM Windows XP SP2 disk? I/m not sure if I can do that directly...Repair installation?  considering what I might have to reinstall...

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RE: Old Dell Inspiron 5100 - need to keep running for machine controller that cannot use newer than Windows XP

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Absent-minded...yes, Dimension 5100. Thanks for catching that...

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7- Thorium

RE: Old Dell Inspiron 5100 - need to keep running for machine controller that cannot use newer than Windows XP

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You're making things way too hard for yourself. Download all the essential drivers (eg, the list I posted) onto a USB stick using any other PC. Then copy them onto the 5100 desktop from that USB and install them in the order listed.

And you probably should install the audio driver, even if you don't use it because the hardware is there and may cause problems if BIOS and Windows see it but can't use it because there's no driver.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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