mistertail
1 Copper

Cannot boot from Dell XP CD

I am currently having a nightmare with my Inspiron 6000. About a month ago we were getting a problem where XP would not start, which I managed to fix but there were still some significant problems. I decided that the best route to solving this was to restore the PC to the factory settings. Windows System Restore was no longer working, so I decided to try the Dell PC Restore before trying a reinstall of XP. That turned out to be a big mistake; the Dell PC Restore failed, and now I get an "NTLDR is missing Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart" error when trying to start the PC (it happens just after the POST has finished). Restarting just results in the same thing happening.

I have now tried booting from the Dell XP CD that I created when I first got the PC with the intention of reinstalling XP, and which I've used in the past without problems. I get the "Press any key to boot from CD" message (having changed the boot order so that the PC will try to boot from CD before using the hard disk). After pressing a key, a "Setup is inspecting your computer's hardware configuration" message briefly appears, but then the screen goes blank (dark grey), after a few seconds the CD drive stops spinning then nothing else happens at all, no matter how long I leave it.

I thought I might be able to boot up using a floppy to copy the NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM files (and possibly BOOT.INI if required) to the c:\ drive to bypass the first problem, but when I boot up using a floppy I am unable to access either the c:\ or d:\ (CD/DVD) drives (the error suggests they just aren't recognised). I have run an extended system diagnostic check, and this says everything is fine. I have tried using the same Dell XP CD to boot another PC running XP, and that is fine; I end up at the expected Windows XP Setup screen.

I have been through the Dell support pages, but there is nothing that helps me get around the problem with the CD boot just stopping. There is also nothing to help getting around the problem with other drives not being recognised when I boot from a floppy, which prevents me from copying anything to or reformatting the hard drive.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Note that all our data, photos, etc on the PC is backed up elsewhere, so there is no need to worry about losing data. We are just trying to get the PC working again.

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2 Replies
8 Xenon

Re: Cannot boot from Dell XP CD

Have you run a full diagnostic on the hard drive (F12 at powerup - do the extended test, not just the quick one)?  The 6000 is of an age where the hard drive could well be on its way out.

 

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mistertail
1 Copper

Re: Cannot boot from Dell XP CD

Hi, thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, it's not much help - as I stated in my original posting I have run the full extended diagnostic at boot up (which took over 2 hours) and everything checks out OK.

Any other suggestions? My theory is that the Dell PC Restore utility has managed to severely corrupt the hard drive in some way that is stopping me booting from CD. What I particularly don't understand is why I can't access the hard drive (or CD drive) when I boot up from a floppy. 

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