Destroying the Dell Partition
February 15, 2006 10:16 AM   Subscribe

I recently purchased a new Dell Dimension 9150, I plan to wipe the Dell partition and install a fresh copy of XP Pro (I already have a full copy). Any problems/hiccups I should know about before I destroy the Dell partition?
posted by mhaw to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Make sure you look-up and download ALL pertinent drivers, software, etc from Dell's Web site. Also make sure that in removing that partition you don't also nullify any of your warranty rights.
posted by vkxmai at 10:28 AM on February 15, 2006

Is that the Dell diagnostic partition? Do you really need to wipe that?
posted by noahv at 10:35 AM on February 15, 2006

I've done this success latop. I had some problems with USB drivers, but was able to download the ones I needed and had no problems after that.

Really the only thing you need to do is make sure you still have access to the internet so that you can download anything if you need it -- if you have another computer that can access the internet and you can copy things to a CD/flash drive/etc. then you should be fine.

To be completely safe, though, I would burn the disk image on a DVD so that you can painlessly restore it if need be.
posted by camcgee at 10:44 AM on February 15, 2006

Should read: "I've done this successfully on a Toshiba laptop."
posted by camcgee at 10:45 AM on February 15, 2006

I've done this on many Dell boxes. Never had any problems with it. Just make sure that you have access to another PC with a CD-R so you can burn the appropriate drivers to a CD and install them on your Dell box.
posted by drstein at 11:57 AM on February 15, 2006

As a corollary to "get your drivers beforehand," I always forget to print a list of all the system components -- with model numbers etc.

There is a Wipe-and-Reinstall law that states that you will always forget at least one driver (at my house anyway), and it is so damn irritating. It is more of a problem for me with a laptop -- harder to crack the case and look at the component than with a desktop.
posted by misterbrandt at 12:00 PM on February 15, 2006

Belarc Advisor rocks for pre-install system audits. Free.
posted by blag at 12:47 PM on February 15, 2006

Dell keeps some extra Diagnostic tools on there. If you kill the partition, be aware that they may not be available. There are basic diags in BIOS, but when your Dell breaks (knock on wood), and you call tech. support, they will hound you for a diagnostic code from the diangostic program. Just make sure you can secure a copy of the diagnostics disk from dell or somewhere else.

Even with Gold support at work, they still ask me for a trouble code when I call with a busted harddrive. They usually let it go, especially when I tell them about the click-click-click noise and the inability to boot, but that's the extra-expensive and much more helpful gold support. Good luck with the script-bound outsourced general service folks.
posted by GreenTentacle at 1:20 PM on February 15, 2006

As with the other comments - make sure you download the network card/modem driver. At least then you can download the forgotten drivers.
posted by xoe26 at 2:08 PM on February 15, 2006

If you contact Dell, they should mail you recovery CDs for free (which contain pretty much everything on that partition). My last Dell laptop shipped without Windows install media; it was all on the partition, so I made sure I got a copy of that before blowing it away.

Trying to do a Linux/Solaris/Windows install is a real pain when you have that Dell partition sucking up one of your 4 primaries.
posted by blender at 2:42 PM on February 15, 2006

Make sure the discs they gave you with drivers and such match with your computer system. They sent me the wrong ones and I was then left with the wrong drivers to reinstall.

I'm not sure what your reasons for switching to Pro are, but I did the same thing, but ended up putting the Home edition back on, but installing the Pro edition of Office and such. That was all I really intended to do in the first place, but I wasnt really thinking and reformatted the whole thing before I realized that it woudlnt be neccesary.
posted by gilsonal at 6:07 PM on February 15, 2006

Make sure deleting the recovery partition does not void your warranty. It does with most manufacturers. It would be wise to actually make an image of the recovery partition and put it back on if necessary. The recovery CDs that you order only puts your c: drive back to factory state - it doesn't touch the recovery partition. Many manufacturers get out of their responsibilities by voiding your warranty if you delete their hidden recovery partition. Here is a very good step-by-step from Fred Langa on how to backup/image that partition before deleting it for good. Good luck
posted by Gerard Sorme at 8:07 PM on February 15, 2006

Thanks for the all the tips, my primary concern is all of the bloatware/spy-ware/preloaded junk that Dell includes with all of their new systems. I may just stick with what is included until it becomes an issue. Thanks again.
posted by mhaw at 8:35 AM on February 16, 2006

Just an FYI for everyone - if you order from Dell as a Small Business vs. Home/Home Office User you can specify that you don't want that "Free 6 Years of AOL" and all that other crap preinstalled. They don't ask for any proof of the business, you just have to agree that you won't export the PC or something along those lines.

But yeah, we've got well over 5,000 Dells (state gov't) and that's the first thing we do - blow away all partitions and put our image on there. No probs. Of course we do have Gold Support and a local company that provides a one hour response time (30 minutes on servers) if anything goes wrong. I guess it depends on how worried you are about having to actually use their support and what headaches they might give you.
posted by madderhatter at 6:31 PM on February 17, 2006

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