help with my computers

By Sonia992
Dec 13, 2006
  1. Hi everyone....I have a question. I really don't know much about computers. But the other day I bought 4 Dell Pentium 4 computers from a school auction. When I get home and turn them on, they all say the same thing.... it goes to the Blue dell logo, and then next to a black screen that says "Press F1 to reboot, or F2 to setup utility", but then when I press F1, it says the same message over and over. What do I have to do? did the school disenable something, or is there no operating system?...I have no clue. Can someone help please?
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    The school likely erased the hard drives, which wiped out the Operating System. Do they even have hard drives in them?

    Now is as good of time as ever to put linux on them if they are missing the OS.
  3. Sonia992

    Sonia992 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    i think...i'm not really sure...i went to the setup area...and there it states"
    primary drive 0
    primary drive 1
    secondary drive 0
    secondary drive 1

    so i set them all to AUTO, and then it found something and said
    primary drive 0 Hard Drive
    primary drive 1 ATAPI device
    secondary drive 0
    secondary drive 1
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    Looks like they have hard drives, you could always take the side of the case off and look to be sure :)
    Does it still not boot after saying that? I imagine they just wiped the hard drives before selling them. Do they have a Windows sticker on the case somewhere with the XP key? You may be able to install XP with that key somehow, but that might get complicated.
  5. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Linux would be better because all you do is just install it and dont have to do all this fancy stuff like Windows ;)
  6. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    They probably did wipe out the hard drives in order to ensure some degree of security for any student's private data that might have been on them.

    Do they have cd drives? If so, I'd flip around the case (usually on the back) and see if you see any Windows stickers on them. Most Dell's have a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) with the serialized product key of Windows right on the back of the PC. If so, all you'll need is some OEM WIndows cd for the proper version (listed on the sticker) and you should be able to put fresh installs on them.

    Otherwise, as other posters mentioned, Linux is a good and free option.
  7. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    A lot of schools don't even use the hard drives in the computers. Every school computer I've ever seen operates on network boot, and all the student's personal hard drives are located in the school board server. This works because each student usually only had about 50MB of storage. This means that the hard drives probably never had Windows on them in the first place.
  8. Sonia992

    Sonia992 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    so I just have to install Windows? is that right? i'm sorry I really don't know much about computers...
  9. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Well sortof... What you do is get the Windows XP cd from Bestbuy or CompUSA and on the back of your computer should be a sticker that has the serial to WinXP, You just put the CD in > do what it ask ( you click some buttons ) > put the serial > reboot then it should work
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