It may be obvious to some but I'm confused. To reinstall Windows XP on a Dell Mini 9(Vostro A()-same) it has no internal cd-rom so I bought an external cd-rom. To boot from the external cd-rom to reinstall Windows the relevant BIOS boot choices are 1-USB Storage,2.Removable Devices, and 3.CD/DVD Rom. Which one is it for external CD-rom??
I have not got one to check, however I imagine option 1 USB storage. Why don't you just try and see which option boots your external CD-Rom?
I read around the net and get all 3 answers. The Dell Mini PDF says yes, set the bios to boot to CD-ROM although you're using an "external" CD-ROM but I've read the other two also(mainly USB storage which seems intuitive. I don't think I should disable the HDD because the second tim(or third) time Windows installation boots you want it to boot from newly installed copy on your HD(or actually SSD),correct?Anyone sure and has done it with external CD-ROM-set BIOS to USB storage, Removable Devices, or CD/DVD ROM??
Set the bios to boot from hard drive first.
Then power-off. Connect your external CD/DVD drive.
Then use F12 at power-on to get the boot device menu and select your external CD and press enter.
And then let the Windows installer do what it wants.
I cannot recall exactly but it might be that the Dell Mini does not use F2 key for bios or F12 key for boot device and there is a substitute key combination. So if F12 does not work, then look up the substitute.
Last question-when you say choose external cd-rom, I believe the only relevant choices are USB storage, CD-ROM(my Mini of course has no internal cd-rom, and Removable devices.(??)That's the only reason I'm asking this question. But I'm sure you're right about not disabling HHD(or in this case SSD) in BIOS because 2nd reboot of Windows installation needs to reboot to the Hard drive.
PSS. My Dell Mini is out of warranty so I can't call Dell but I'm getting a new laptop today so then I could call support and slip in the question about the Mini. When I do I will post the definitive answer here.
You are worrying about this too much.
Just leave the boot order as is. Use F12 at power-on and this brings up a menu which allows you to select the boot device on this occasion only, it won't change the bios settings.
Your new external optical drive I imagine to be connected by USB so it might appear in the list as a USB device or it might appear as a CD/DVD. Try them all until you find which one works.