Tuesday, March 29, 2011
clean install of xp on dell mini 9 from usb drive
A few months ago I started experiencing problems with my Dell Mini 9 such that it eventually wouldn't boot at all. I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I do have a bag of troubleshooting tricks up my sleeve. I tried a few things but then decided the best course of action would be to do a clean install. The mini is my night time and travel computer...anything of value I do when using it gets saved to the cloud so the only thing I had to lose was time. CDs with the ultraportable version of XP and drivers came shipped with the machine, and I had a usb CD/DVD drive so I figured I was good to go.

The install proceeded as expected until the GUI setup phase. I received an error message: "Please insert Windows XP disc because the file ASMS cant be found." Some research revealed that I was not the first to experience this problem; it seems that after the initial text install phase that the system loses the ability to communicate with the external drive, as the appropriate driver is not yet installed. Unfortunately the easiest suggested fix (changing the path manually) did not work, and there was no other convenient way to transfer the files.

One solution would have been to use a linux live cd to copy the files, but I decided that any fix involving the CD/DVD drive was probably not the best plan of action. Instead I chose to install from a flash drive, based on the instructions found here. In brief, this required that I create a bootable flash drive, copy the Windows XP install files to it and boot from that. There are alternative methods, but WinSetupFromUSB is much more user friendly software, with a convenient GUI.

Once Windows was installed, I needed to install the drivers, but once again my external CD drive let me down. I ended up downloading them on another computer and copying them to the mini via my trusty flash drive. The list of drivers I needed and recommended install order were found in this thread. I did not need all the files for my particular build, just the following, which I installed in this order:
  1. R192574.EXE - Intel (R) Mobile Chipset
  2. R192572.EXE - Intel Graphics Media 945GSE/GM965
  3. R197393.EXE - Realtek LAN RTL8102EL
  4. R197392.EXE - Realtek ALC268 HD Audio
  5. R197390.EXE - Broadcom Arcadyne Wireless LAN
  6. R192597.EXE - Synaptics TouchPad
  7. R192570.EXE - Wireless Select Switch
  8. R200081.EXE - JMicron JMB385 Card Reader
  9. R192569.EXE - Battery Meter
I realize this is the first generation of Dell's line of minis but it seems like a pretty major oversight to require this much effort just to do a clean install. The average customer would have just become frustrated and sent it in for repair, needlessly increasing the workload of Dell Technicians. Hopefully the problem has been resolved in the newer generations of hardware.

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amr's brain blurted out at 1:46 AM   Permalink   
Comments (4)   

I couldn't get it to work. Screw it. I tried. I really did. Dell and Micosoft can go to hell. Downloaded Ubuntu, burned a cd, and installed it on my mini9. I am FREEEE BROTHER!

By Anonymous Josephus, at 5/11/2011 11:46 PM  

@Josephus I'm sorry to hear that but I hear your pain. It has worked twice for me now (the solid state hard drive failed, which apparently is another common problem) and the warranty replacement they sent was not imaged correctly, so I ended up having to reinstall windows AGAIN.

I'm glad Ubuntu's working out. I hear Windows 7 works really well on these systems too (and doesn't have the installation problems) but I'm just not willing to pony up the $$ to try.

By Blogger amr, at 5/12/2011 11:57 AM  

amazing works for two weeks iv been trying to repair this dell mini 9. finally this was the only thread that worked!! thank you!!! things that did help were using the winsetupfromusb 0.1.1 which did the formatting and everything smoothly. install is happening and finally. thank you tons bro!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/19/2013 11:18 AM  

@Anonymous - I'm glad it worked out for you (and, fyi, i'm not a "bro")!

By Blogger amr, at 4/20/2013 11:34 AM  

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