I have an old Inspiron E1705 that came with xp. After it crashed completely and none of my efforts to repair the software were successful I reluctantly came to the conclusion that I had to re-install the system.
All looked well. I re-installed Media direct, xp and the chipset driver to connect to internet. However, when I tried to download the service pack 3 from windows, it didn't work. I even downloaded the service pack 3 with another laptop and copied the file to the inspiron. When I tried to run the .exe I've got a message saying that is not a file recognized by the system.
How can I install the XP SP 3 in the inspiron? Why when I when to the dell website to download the drivers the page was all messed up???
I'm aware of that, but, I figure that the price for an upgrade from xp to windows 7 will be way lower than buying the software making a brand new installation.
The very first thing to do would be an extended hard drive diagnostic - F12 at powerup. There's a good chance the problem may be hardware in origin.
You can still get SP3 by manual download:
That said, be sure you use the system offline only - NOT on the Internet, where it's basically a sitting duck for malware.