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November 2, 2005, 3:06 am
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I just picked up a refurbished Dell Optiplex at a computer fare but the
CDROM drive is faulty. I have the small form factor model with the
laptop-type CDROM drive, so I can't simply put in a regular drive.
What I'd like to know, since Dell charge extortionately for replacement
drives and take a week to deliver, is:
1. Will a generic laptop internal drive work with it?
2. Or would I be better off getting an external USB drive? Can you boot
from external drives (I need to reinstall the OS)?
Thanks for any advice you can give me.
Re: Dell Optiplex CD drive
It should but you will have to compare things like the bezel
cutout, if that Dell used is standard. There are several
slim drives at the following link and possibly more on their
main 'site link list,
You can boot them if the system's bios properly supports
booting USB optical drives. It might claim to, and be able
to, or might claim to, but can't actually do it. The drive
plays a role too but I have no idea how to match that and
suggest the motherboard bios is the larger issue and you
would have to try it and see.
I would go ahead and get an internal drive for it, always
better to not have a lot of things tethered to a system if
it's avoidable... even if you settle for a standard CDROM
drive instead of a CDRW or DVD-RW, it's nice to have an
internal drive if the system is worth anything.
So far as installing the OS, persuming windows, one
Remove the hard drive and put into another system. Create
two partitions on the drive, format the first as FAT or
FAT32 with system files (bootable), optionally adding
autoexec and config.sys to load himem.sys and smartdrive
(make file copies faster while installing windows), then
formatting 2nd partition as FAT32 and copying the entire
windows (2K or XP) I386 folder to it. Then with drive back
in the Optiplex, boot to DOS, then at the command prompt
type "D:\I386\winnt". That will start the windows
It is not necessary to create the second partition for the
windows installation files except that if you wanted to make
WIndows run from NTFS filesystem instead of FAT32, you will
need have the windows installation routine make it NTFS
before installating, requiring having the files somewhere
other than on the 1st partition. If you wanted to leave
windows on a FAT32 partition, having whole drive as one
partition and the I386 folder on that bootable partition
will work fine too.