• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • Welcome to Free PC Help, a free PC Help forum to get help with your computer problems.

    Free PC Help is a community that offers free computer help and support for all users, all ages, worldwide.

    In order to start asking questions or contribute on someone else's post you will first need to register. Don't worry - it's quick and easy and once you have registered you will have instant access to the entire forum.

    If you do decide to join the forums you will not have the option to send Private Messages [ PMs ] or add a Signature until you have made 5 posts or more. This is an attempt to try to stop Spammers using the PM system or adding links to their Signature.

Can't finish installing XP


FPCH New Member
May 2, 2007
I recently got a used computer from work. It's a Dell Dimension 340 with a 40 GB hard drive and 1GB RAM. The hard drive was wiped entirely clean. I can't seem to get XP to finish installing. When I start up the machine with the XP CD I get through creating a partition and copying the files. At that point it automatically restarts, and I would expect it to show the GUI to finish the install. However, it just goes back to the basic black startup screen, thinks for a minute, beeps and then say press F1 to retry or (I think-not in front of that machine now) F2 to enter setup. I've tried installing XP again but no dice. It does ask if I want to write over the version of XP already partially installed. I have checked the BIOS boot order and changed it to 1. C drive, 2. optical drive and floppy drive diabled. I've also tried disabling the optical drive. I'm pretty much a rookie at this and am hope I am missing something simple. The only additional note is that before I got it the CD drive had been acting up, however it seems to work fine copying the install files. Thanks in advance for any assistance.


I think what's happening here is that after the initial request to "Press any key to boot from cd" and it asks again later you again are pressing any key to boot from the cdrom.

Set the bios to boot from the cdrom and install windows, when everything has loaded and settled down reboot and change the order back to the hard drive.


FPCH Long Term Member
Dec 17, 2007
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
What Wolfey posted is a common mistake that even techs fell victim to when they first tried reinstallling XP. Microsoft should have designed the install to avoid that blatant problem.

Anyway, if that isn't the problem, try this:

1) Make sure the cd is clean.

2) Disconnect any needless devices including an extra video card if you have one (use the onboard video...if you have one). The video card can be installed after the XP install.

2) Set the bios to boot from cd first, then hard drive.

3) Insert the cd, start the install, delete the C partition, create a new partition in that space, do a FULL format to that partition, and continue with the install. And as Wolfey said, do not "Press any key to boot from the cd" after the install has started and the system needs to reboot.