I was trying to help an old couple when they could not boot into Windows XP Home (probably SP3 or at least SP2) on a Dell Dimension 2400. He suspected accumulating malware, spyware, virus progression as instead of attempting to fix, he continued to change users and run it. He's probably right.
Either way, I tried every way I knew to boot to the Dell Resource CD, which clearly states on the CD that you should be able to boot to it for diagnostics etc. (And I assume to Repair or Reinstall Windows) No success. I changed the boot order in the Bios every which way but loose, but still no luck.
It was suggested that I purchase a USB to IDE/SATA adapter and and set the drive to Master and access it via my laptop. I did that successfully, but I keep getting messages that the drive is corrupt and unreadable when attempting to run CHKDSK or anything else. Malwarebytes would run, but it was so slow I stopped it after 2 hours...one file at a time, extremely SLOW! I downloaded Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostics and it ran on the drive and it passed every test. Not sure what that means because I still cannot run CHKDSK or anything else on the drive, read or write to it. The only thing I didn't run from their program was Write 0's to the disk, which I assume is for preparing it for formatting.
I guess my next step, and question to which I cannot understand the answers I've gotten to is, while I have this drive hooked up to my laptop, should I go ahead and Format it, and will this leave it to where when I reinstall the drive back into the original machine, I can insert the CD and hopefully reinstall the OS? Or install the OS some other way? I assume that is about the only option I have left, we are willing to lose all the data, but just want to get the machine back up and running. I'm just reluctant because I could never get it to boot to the Dell CD. Could formatting the drive possibly fix that problem? Should I reinstall the drive to the machine and attempt to format from the Bios, then hopefully it would accept or read the CD?
Any advice would be appreciated.