Windows Me reinstallation problems

  Maughan 20:38 09 Feb 2003

Sorry - this is long but I hope that some of the more technical of you will have some suggestions. I have tried to be very specific in describing the problem/facts.

My father has a 2 year old Dell PC which was supplied with MS Windows Me.

After a few problems arose with the OS, a friend of a friend offered to do a general tidy-up. Rather oddly, this resulted in the computer coming back installed with Windows 2000 Professional. This was way too complex for my Dad's use and had all sorts of glitches.

It has now crashed and will not boot up, even to Safe Mode.

Armed with various magazine articles, I tried a reinstall of Me for him (having recently successfully reinstalled XP on my computer). I tried lots of different approaches and options (see below) but it didn't work.

Can any of you tech-types please tell me how to progress from these various screens/messages?

For all approaches, I inserted the Me reinstallation disk provided by Dell and chose to boot from the CD (because it wouldn't boot from the hard disk).

1. At first, I managed to progress to a setup screen that offered to reformat the hard drive. Looked promising. After a few seconds, however, I received the message:

"Setup cannot install Windows Me on your computer. An error was detected while formatting your primary hard disk partition"

I couldn't go any further and had to turn off and restart.

2. After following another option from boot up from the CD, I managed to get to Scan Disk. This produced the message:

"Scan Disk encountered a data error while reading the FAT entryfor cluster 599189. This error prevents Scan Disk from fixing this drive"

Again, I could go no further and had to restart.

3. Another approach got me to a prompt of "A:\>". I typed a variety of things. I tried to get it to boot/read from the reinstallation CD by typing "e:\setup" but it would not recognise this drive at all ("invalid drive specification", but e is definitely the CD drive on my Dad's PC).

It would however recognise "c:\setup" but after trying a "setup" prompt a number of ways, I ended up with:

"Setup found errors on your hard disk. You must repair these errors before continuing with setup. For more information see SETUP.TXT on the Windows CD-ROM [couldn't access this]. Press any key to exit setup."

This then produced the additional prompt:


I couldn't get it to do anything from this.

Any suggestions, please, for progressing from any of these positions? I am confident I can do the reinstall OK provided I can get past these problems and get to the reformatting stage and can access the menu-driven prompts from there.

Thanks in advance!


  spikeychris 20:55 09 Feb 2003

The problem you are having is that after you format the disk, you need to
rewrite the MBR to look for DOS instead of NT. Using the WinME boot
disk, start the system and then type: fdisk /mbr This should restore the
MBR. (Actually, the WinME install should see that ntldr is missing and
rewrite the MBR, but it's better to have it properly set upbefore you


  Maughan 21:02 09 Feb 2003



But the problem I seem to be having is that it won't let me reformat the disk in the first place (see 1. in my first post).

Also, if I were to do as you suggest, at what stage do I type this because I think (from memory) the first option/menu is something like:

"1. Windows setup from CD ROM;
2. Start Windows with CD support;
3. Start Windows without CD support"

Which do I choose before I type what you suggest?



  spikeychris 21:08 09 Feb 2003

Insert the Windows ME CD into the CD-ROM drive and restart the computer.
Go to the BIOS setup and set to boot from CD and reboot

You will then have a choice between "Boot from Hard Disk" or "Boot From CD-ROM." Choose "Boot from CDROM." , choose to Start Computer with CDROM support.
When you have the A:> prompt, type FDISK and press enter. You will get a message asking if you wish to use Large Disk Support. Press Y, then Enter. You may get a second message asking if you wish to treat NTFS partitions as Large Disk Partitions. If you get this message, press Y and Enter. If you do not get this message, proceed to the next step.
You will be presented with the FDISK menu. Choose "Delete Partition or Logical DOS Drive.
Choose "Delete Primary DOS Partition." If you get a message saying "no primary dos partitions exist", then use "Delete Non-DOS Partition."
Enter 1 and press Enter FDISK will ask if you are sure. Press Y and Enter.
Press ESC until you have the A:\> prompt at the top of the screen. Type FDISK /MBR and press Enter.
Restart the computer by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL.
Choose "Boot from CDROM.."
You will see 3 choices, choose 2: "Start Computer with CD-ROM support."
When you get the A:\> prompt, type FDISK and press Enter. Press Y then Enter for Large Disk Support.
Choose "Create DOS Partition or Logical DOS Drive." Choose "Create Primary DOS Partition."
When FDISK has finished verifying drive integrity, it will ask you if you wish to use the full size of the drive. Press Y and Enter. When FDISK is finished, press ESC until you get the A:\> prompt. Restart the computer by pressing the CTRL+ALT+DEL.

  Maughan 21:15 09 Feb 2003


Wow! I will try all that. Some of what you write rings bells about other prompts/screens I got to. Looks very promising.

It may be a while before I can get to try this out but I will let you know.

Many thanks!

  spikeychris 09:16 10 Feb 2003

Just read my above, after you have completed the steps you will have to format the disk before you continue ie: format c


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