Uhhh… I think I know what your specific problem is
the Dell Dimension 2350 uses the Intel 845GL chipset and that chipset is subject to the 128gb/137Gb Hard drive size limitation of the chipset.
(the reason for the difference is the difference in counting methods 1024 Vs 1000)
IF the drive is formatted to it’s full size of 160gb (actually will show about 149gb)
NEITHER the chipset nor the bios will recognize the drive at all.
and though the bios can be updated (And I recomend you do so) the chipset can’t.
MOST of the time on a Dell if you install a 160gb drive into older hardware that will not support it and you use the WinXP install disc format the drive it will only format the drive to conform to the 128/137gb limit and leave the remainder of the drive as “unallocated space” (that cannot even be SEEN by the computer on which it’s installed
Partitioning the drive to smaller pieces doesn’t help if the total size of all partitions combined exceeds
the 128/137 limit
If however you formatted the drive on another computer (or in an external drive enclosure) the OS install disc will
install the OS onto the drive but it will crash after the last re-boot during the installation proceedure.
SOME specific 845chipset mother boards can be tricked into recognizing the full size of a drive larger than 128/137, but I’ve found that the “fix” is oess than perfectly stable and if that drive is the one on which the OS is installed you will eventually have a computer that won’t restart.
Motherboards with Intel CPU’s using chipsets earlier than the 865 chipset do not natively
support 160gb (or larger HDDs)
Typically people use an accessory (PCI) HDD controller to allow these drives to function
on older chipset MoBo’s, but again I’ve seen repeated stability issues.
Corrupted HDD Controller card drivers, particularly with Promise controllers
less so with any controllers using the Via chipset.
the only controllers I personally will use or install are those with the Silicon Image/Adaptec chipset.
But even then I don’t like running an OS HDD on a controller due to stability issues
what I recommend you do is to start over with your OS install disc (Hopefully for your sake a Dell XP “Restoration” disc) and first when the installed asks you where you want to install windows coose the option to DELETE
the exsisting partitions on the drive… ALL of them.
then let the installed create a partition of 30-35Gb (Choose NTFS) to install windows in.
this is more than sufficient for an XP install with pleaty of room for defragmentation and other system maintainance and we’ll deal with the remainder of the drive later…
Let the installer run it’s course.
and everything should be fine.
when it’s all done and you get to see the “grassy hill” (XP default wallpaper “Bliss.jpg”)
NOW, To deal with the unallocated space on your new HDD…
From your desktop
Press the start button and select "control panel"
When control panel is up select "Performance and Maintainance"
When that page loads select "Administrative tools"
When it loads select “computer management”, then “Disc Management”
when Disc management loads you’ll see a bar graph of the drive with the OS partition in blue and “unallocated space” in black
Right click in the unallocated space and select Create partition it will often allow you to choose a drive letter
A: is your floppy drive (if equipped)
C: is your operating system partition
D: is usually used for your optical (CD/DVD) drive
so these letters should be unavailable…
You can create one large partition to save your data AWAY from your operating system
or several smaller ones (maximum of four primary partitions) and as I said previously the
maximum drive size supported by your Mother Board’s chipset is a total of 128/137gb
I’ve got a healthy sized stack of Dells similar to yours (mostly Dell 2400) that I’ve been setting up
for seniors who only want a computer to trade pictures and e-mails with their grandchildren or
play a DVD, etc…