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Cannot (fully) boot from CD. Could it be a hardware issue?

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Summary: When trying to boot from a CD, the screen prints a flashing underscore at the top left of the screen. The CD software does not load.

Detailed: I have a Dell Optiplex GX240 and cannot (fully) boot from a CD. I am able to insert a CD and select it as a temporary boot device. The optical drive spins and the CD software starts up. I am able to use the software, but after a certain point it stops working and I see only a flashing underscore on the top left of the screen. This happens with all Live CDs - Ubuntu, IceBuntu, Knoppix, everything. In the case of Ubuntu, the software halts only after I select "Start Ubuntu" from the welcome screen. In the case of Knoppix and IceBuntu, it is only after necessary files are decompressed from the CD.

What could be causing this? Could it be that it only fails when data is written to memory?

 

Hardware Info:

The optical drive is not the one that came with the original machine (that one failed). Best Buy installed this one.

It is connected to the motherboard via an ATA adapter. It is marked as master and connected to the "secondary" IDE port available on the ATA adapter. I don't know why it is connected to the secondary port, but that's how Best Buy did it. I tried the primary, but with that setup the BIOS doesn't even detect the drive.

When the computer is starting up the phrase "CD Drive Number: 2" (or similar) is printed on screen.

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Re: Cannot (fully) boot from CD. Could it be a hardware issue?

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I'm happy to say that I resolved this issue.

If you remember, I mentioned that my hard drive was plugged directly into the motherboard via IDE and my optical drive was plugged into an ATA adapter via IDE.

I reversed the connections. I plugged the optical drive directly into the motherboard and attached the hard drive to the ATA adapter. I booted from CD, and it worked perfectly.

I'm not exactly sure why this worked. It seems that my problem had something to do with the ATA adapter - some gotcha I must have been unaware of. I blame Best Buy. Big help you were, Geek Squad. :-)

Thanks for all the help, osprey4! Here's hoping others with similar problems will find and learn from this conversation.

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Re: Cannot (fully) boot from CD. Could it be a hardware issue?

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Hi, Luna:

All Dell systems require IDE drives to be jumpered cable select. Try that and see if things improve. And the Best Buy "ijuts" should know this.

Beyond that suggestion, I'm probably not going to be of much help.

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Re: Cannot (fully) boot from CD. Could it be a hardware issue?

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Thanks alot for the info! I did what you said, and it seems I'm making some progress.

Now, when the computer starts up, I am asked to press "F3" to enter the Configuration Utility. I do, and am presented with the following:

Press F1 to assign first (HDD) set

Press F2 to remove first (HDD) set

Press <Esc> to exit

 

I think I have tried every possible combination of configurations to no avail, but I'm not exactly sure how this tool works. Regardless, does it seem that I am on the right track?

Thanks again!

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Re: Cannot (fully) boot from CD. Could it be a hardware issue?

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Hmmm, now I'm lost. It's usually F2 to enter system setup, and I'm not sure what those options do. Here's your system setup info. See if anything there is helpful. There is also information on how to set the CD as the first boot device.

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Re: Cannot (fully) boot from CD. Could it be a hardware issue?

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Thanks for the documentation.

I know that it is booting to CD. I have both used F2 and entered the BIOS settings to make the CD the first boot device.

This Configuration Utility probably has nothing to do with this CD issues, so I'm not too concerned about it. Like I said, the big problem is that the CD software starts up fine, but then fails shortly (possibly only when the CD software writes to memory).

Is there any chance this could have something to do with the PCI IRQ settings of the BIOS? Could there be anything else I'm not considering?

I really appreciate your help. Google turns up nothing useful. Hopefully we can crack this thing for future victims...

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Re: Cannot (fully) boot from CD. Could it be a hardware issue?

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I'm stumped. Perhaps you could try the Linux forum.

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Re: Cannot (fully) boot from CD. Could it be a hardware issue?

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I'm happy to say that I resolved this issue.

If you remember, I mentioned that my hard drive was plugged directly into the motherboard via IDE and my optical drive was plugged into an ATA adapter via IDE.

I reversed the connections. I plugged the optical drive directly into the motherboard and attached the hard drive to the ATA adapter. I booted from CD, and it worked perfectly.

I'm not exactly sure why this worked. It seems that my problem had something to do with the ATA adapter - some gotcha I must have been unaware of. I blame Best Buy. Big help you were, Geek Squad. :-)

Thanks for all the help, osprey4! Here's hoping others with similar problems will find and learn from this conversation.

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Re: Cannot (fully) boot from CD. Could it be a hardware issue?

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Good to hear! Even if my help was a bit limited. Smiley Happy

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