View Full Version : Dell-specific reformat question
09-17-2009, 12:23 AM
I'm going to reformat my Dimension 8400 with XP MCE.
Am I better better off reinstalling with the discs I got with the Dell (thereby keeping it a Dell, with all its associated Dell bloatware), or getting a new OS from newegg or wherever (thereby making it a 'generic' computer, with no Dell stuff in it)?
Can I even install an OS that didn't come from Dell? I know they are kind of...funny...about stuff like that, wouldn't surprise me if there was 'something' to prevent that.
Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated!!
If you are up for it, go for the new, non-Dell, OS. As you mention, it won't have all of the extra Dell "features" and will almost certainly run faster. Just make sure you have all of the required drivers downloaded first and saved to a removable disk or USB memory stick. It can be a little annoying if you get Windows installed and it doesn't recognise your network adapter, for example. ;)
09-17-2009, 12:44 AM
I think I'm up for it, just not excited about buying another OS. I'm sure the disc that came with the system is Dell branded somehow.
So, I'd need drivers for everything connected to the mobo?
Well, your system should have a Windows OEM product key either stuck on the case somewhere, or with the discs that came with the computer. If you know someone with an OEM copy of the same version of Windows, you wouldn't need to buy a new copy. This is a bit of a gray area though, with some saying it's fine as you already have the Windows license, and others saying you should be buying a new disc.
As for the drivers, it is generally best to have the latest ones for your hardware (video card, sound card, motherboard, network adapter etc.). Windows should have drivers for most of them, but these drivers may not be the latest either, especially for the video card.
09-17-2009, 01:07 AM
I can download the drivers to a flash drive in advance, no problem.
You don't think there's any reason I couldn't install a non-Dell-provided OS? Yes, I'm a little paranoid of playing in Dell's sandbox.:eek:
Nope, no reason at all a generic copy of Windows won't work. I've done it with a few different Dell PCs over the years.
09-17-2009, 09:49 PM
Obviously, there's no reason to stick with XP MCE either then, is there?
What do I do about the BIOS? Will it still be the Dell BIOS after the reformat (or is that a stupid question)?
09-18-2009, 12:08 AM
BIOS will be the same...................and you can definitely install any non-Dell supplied windows, which I also would recommend, but as was mentioned, make sure you have all drivers ready to go, as you will most likely need them. Most brands I've worked with like Dell and HP all have good driver download sections on their websites.
09-18-2009, 12:27 AM
Thanks for the help, guys. I REALLY appreciate it!
On Dell's website it lists the following drivers for my system:
ADI 198x Integrated Audio (I assume I don't need this because I'll be installing sound card drivers)
Intel-Driver Chipset Software Installation Utility (do I need this?)
Intel-Driver 537E,v.9x,PCI,Modem (needed for modem which I probably won't use)
Broadcom-Driver (for NIC/Ethernet card)
Intel-Driver Application Accelerator RAID Edition (don't need this if I'm not using RAID?)
ATI-Driver Radeon X300SE (don't need this because I replaced the video card)
Are my comments (above) accurate?
09-18-2009, 01:14 AM
Everyone does it differently, but I believe it good practice to install all drivers to completion where there are no exclamation marks in the device driver menu. I would still download all drivers just incase. The only driver I pass on if there is a videocard as an upgrade is the graphics/video driver. In the end, you can always check the device driver menu to see if there are an issues/exclamation marks.
I'd still download all drivers just incase.
Reformatting the hard drive just cleans the hard drive, it won't affect the BIOS.
For the drivers, you only need to download ones for the hardware you have installed. Dell's site will list drivers for all of the hardware that was offered with that model, so there will likely be some that you don't need. If you go to the "Device Manager" in Windows, you can go through and see what sound, video and network cards you have.
How to get to the Device Manager:
Unless you have installed a separate sound card, like a Sound Blaster, you will probably need the integrated ausio drivers. If you aren't using a RAID array, no, you probably don't need the RAID drivers.
No you don't need XP MCE edition, unless you want to use the MCE features. For most people XP Home is plenty. The other option would be to look into Vista or 7, which comes out at the end of October.
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