I had 2 partitions, C&D each 40gb. I deleted both partitions. I couldn't get the computer to see C or D. I thought I shouldn't have deleted C, should have only formatted it and thought I killed my hard drive. A tech in Staples told me I was right and needed a new hd, so I bought a new one - WD 500gb. When I hooked that up I got the message "F1 Retry boot F2 Setup" after setting it to boot from CD and got 3 green lights and last one yellow in the back of the computer, which means a drive is loose, none were.
I took that drive out and reinstalled the old drive. I have a floppy boot disk with DOS and formatted the hdd then did Fdisk and decided to do only C partition. The computer showed C as 37gb instead of 80, but the BIOS shows 80gb. So I got it to see C: (so much for the tech's advice). It also shows both the DVD and CD drive by brand, so I know it sees them. I set it to boot from CD and even set it to only boot from CD. When I boot I get the message "F1 Retry boot F2 Setup". I booted it from A: with the DOS disk and the 4 lights in back of the computer turn all green. When it boots from A: it says Starting Windows 98...
The XP cd is the one that came with the computer, I have another XP from a previous computer I owned - neither one made a difference.
It shows the mscdex on boot and says 0 CD drive is assigned Drive X and 1 CD drive is assigned Drive Y
If while in A: I change to either letter X or Y with the XP CD in the drive it says CDR101 not ready reading drive X Abort, Retry, Fail
The CD drive is the original that came with the computer, the DVD is only a few years old. Both were working last time I used the computer. I tried disconnecting the CD and that didn't do anything.
I am at a point where I don't know what else to do. I have formatted drives and installed components and never had this problem. I would appreciate any help you can give me.
Computer specs: Dell Dimension 4550 2.66ghx. I installed 1gb memory ddr SDRAM