I know there's a registry fix to point the command straight to the I386 folder, but I've forgotten how to. There's at least 1 file gone awol and I don't want to reload to factory settings (Crtl + F11, Dell and no XP cd).
Incidentally, my I386 folder is too big to burn to cd as it's a whopping 971 MB.
If it asks for your cd in order to copy files, you need it. Even if you copy your i386 folder to dvd, Windows is unlikely to see it as a genuine installation cd.....If you have a DVDRW drive (or can borrow an external?) You could try it that way...Would only cost you a Blank 4.7gb DVD.
I couldn't get the pc to 'look' in 'C' eventhough that's what it said in registry so I saved all my data and went for a 'restore' to factory settings. It couldn't even do that because it got stuck after formatting. So although my warranty ran out 18 months ago Dell sent me the discs by courier the next day and followed up with a tech phone call, and all for no charge. I was very impressed by their support.