process, I lost all of Dell’s settings, but at least my computer was working again, right? Well, In February 02, the same thing happened again, so I did the same thing to resolve it – format and reinstall. So now that was solved, and the computer would boot up in 40 seconds. But it still seemed rather slow overall. At this point, I decided to check whether everything was working properly, so I inserted the Dell Diagnostics CD provided with the computer. First I ran the graphics card test – and the screen filled with crosses arranged to spell the word ‘FAIL’. I hadn’t noticed any problems with the display, and the test was simply called ‘GeForce3 Card Test’, so, thinking that my model of card was probably not supported by the test, I left it at that. Next, I ran the full diagnostics program to test all the hardware in my computer. It was taking ages, so I decided to cancel it.
Between March and August, the ‘slow boot up’ problem occurred once more, so I followed the same steps to resolving it. At least I had my CD-RW drive to back up my data before formatting. But it wasn’t long before that started going wrong as well. The drive would stop reading from or writing to any type of recordable/rewriteable CD’s. If I double-clicked the drive icon in the ‘My Computer’ window, I would get the error message ‘Incorrect function’. And also, if I put one of these disks in the drive whilst Windows was running, the CD would spin and spin endlessly, causing the computer to crash. I tried removing the drive in Device Manager, but when I rebooted the computer, Windows XP recognised it as a normal CD-ROM drive; therefore I could not back up my data. Also, the recording features built into XP weren’t there anymore – they simply didn’t exist. So guess what I had to do… format and reinstall! Again! But this time I lost all the data I had changed since my last backup. I was starting to get really annoyed with my PC, but I didn’t give up. Instead I set up a dual boot with Windows 98 and XP. However, within a week I noticed most of the problems reoccurring within 98 as well. This indicated that I was right – a lot of the problems were hardware related. When I knew, I removed 98 and XP, then set everything up as it originally was, with just XP installed. Surprisingly, everything seemed to work for about 3 weeks, but I knew another problem would be just around the corner. Sure enough, a fortnight later, the fans inside the computer started to make a LOT of noise. Then one day soon afterwards, I switched on the computer and it wouldn’t stop beeping. I immediately unplugged it, and left it for a few hours before switching it back on again. I got the message ‘Missing <nobr><a style="BORDER-BOTTOM: green 2px solid;text-decoration:underline;color:black" href="click here|82|60988|1|16|AdId=156251;link=click here|60988|1|16&AdId=156863&redir=click here" target="_blank" onmouseover="st(this,event,'Sun - save 50% off a wintel equivalent office computing environment');" onmouseout="ht();">Operating System</a></nobr>’, and it wouldn’t boot up. I attempted to run FDISK from a boot floppy disk – it said something along the lines of ‘FDISK cannot use this hard disk as it is invalid.’ Feeling a bit scared by now, I rebooted with the Dell XP disk in the DVD-ROM drive. I was greeted with a message somewhat similar to FDISK’s. Stuck for ideas, and unable to use the computer, I phoned Dell Technical Support for the first time. They said that I would need to create a new partition for Windows XP, and I told them that I had already tried. They then told me I couldn’t use FDISK to create a partition for XP, and that I had to use the XP CD. I explained that I couldn’t actually open FDISK anyway, and that I had already tried the XP CD. Besides – you CAN install XP on a partition created with FDISK – if you couldn’t, then you wouldn’t be able to upgrade from 9x to XP. Anyway, they then led me through a debug procedure, which erased all the information on the hard disk. I was then able to reinstall Windows – but the fans were still rattling and making a noise. However the comp seemed to be working. It was nearly August. I took