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My machine won't boot of the XP instalation CD


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#1
RVC

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Several days ago my wife encountered "A disk read error occurred - Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart" during startup I went online on my computer and came up with a list of things to try for this apparently fairly wide spread issue. The first thing I did was to create a bootable CD on my machine with a downloaded file from Seagate. The CD contained a DOS disk diagnostic utility which showed the hard drive to be fine. Then I tried to begin some of the recommended repairs using the Repair Console. Unfortunately the machine won't boot off the Installation CD or off a BartPE CD, which is interesting because it did boot off the Seagate DOS diagnostic CD.

Prior to beginning the repairs I flashed the latest BIOS for the affected computer. I do not know if the machine would have booted off the installation CD prior to the upgrade. It did boot off the Seagate diagnostics CD. I have checked the boot order and the CD drive is first. The installation CD for my wife's computer is legitimate and goes with the XP Pro SP 3 that is on her machine.

When attempting to start off the installation CD I will get a message prompting me to press any key to boot from from the CD. Then a brief message tells me that "setup is inspecting your computer hardware configuration." After that the screen remains black and nothing else happens except the CD stops running.

My problem, then, is getting my machine to boot off the CD before I can begin working on the first "disk read error" problem. Having said all this, is the first problem related to the second one? Is there anyone who can lend a hand? If so it will be most appreciated.

Thank you.

RVC
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#2
Alzeimer

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If you see the message "press any key to boot from the cd" then you are booting from your cd.

When it shows that it is inspecting your computer and then nothing happens, it probably means it is detecting a problem n your computer so it stops. It might be it cannot read your HD or it detects another hardware problem.

Reasons that might make your HD unreadable:

A damage or faulty ide or sata cable
Having both your Ide HD and CD/DVD drive on the same Ide channel (hd as master cd as slave)
MBR (Master boot record) is corrupted

One thing you can try is to go in your BIOS and turn off the auto detect of your HD and set it to manual, this as help other users with a similar problem but take note that if your BOOT SECTOR is corrupted you will still get the same message.

As for why your xp cd gets stuck I would try the same procedure but with the bare minimum hardware connected (HD, ram, keyboard, mouse) any other addon card you have i would unplug them and see if you cannot boot correctly with your xp cd after
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#3
RVC

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Thanks Alzeimer. Neat avatar.

I replaced my SATA cable and it had no effect. My HD is SATA and so it is not on the same IDE channel as the HD. I was trying to get into the Recovery Console off the instalation CD to check out the MBR when I discovered my machine would not boot off the CD. Others have suggested the MBR might be the culprit. Is there any other way to check/repair it other than with the Recovery Console?

I checked the BIOS previously and it does not have a place to choose auto select/manual for my HD. It does have LBA/Large Mode with two options - Auto/Disabled. It was and is set to Auto. Setting it to Disable results in a blank screen when I try to reboot.

I do not have any other card in the computer. The video and audio is onboard.

I rebooted off the bootable Seagate DOS CD and it booted and ran the diagnostics. Does the fact that it is DOS and the others are Windows have anything to do with it? Does the process of booting off a CD require the ability to read the HD?

Thanks for your time and for reading all this. I trust I haven't been too troublesome with these questions. I appreciate your help.

RVC
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#4
Alzeimer

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Are you using a USB keyboard and mouse if yes switch it for a PS2 keyboard and mouse, then go into the BIOS and disable USB LEAGACY and try to boot off your XP cd with the PS2 keyboard and mouse.

Sometimes XP boot cd are picky about the keyboard.

Hope that will help
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#5
RVC

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Thanks, and sorry to take so long getting back. I had trouble finding a PS2 mouse. At any rate I did as you instructed and although the computer recognized the PS2 keyboard it would not boot off the installation CD. Incidentally, I can boot another computer off the CD I am trying to make work on this machine.

Thanks for your help so far.

RVC
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#6
Alzeimer

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If the XP boot installation cd works in another computer and that on the computer with the problem you can boot off the HD diagnostic boot cd but not from your XP boot cd then I am at a lost.

I am sorry i could not help more hopefully somebody else will find a solution for your problem.

My opinion is that you have an hardware issue that makes it freeze at "inspecting your hardware" the only other thing i can think of you trying is to go into your BIOS and disable any onboard device you have (LAN, Sound ect).

Also when Googling for similar issue I saw many who had similar problems as your but it was cause at the fact that they had a dual OS boot option (LINUX & Windows), Since you never spoke of having another OS install on your computer I am assuming you previously never had any other OS installed.
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#7
mtiggs

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I have had this proble numerous times intalling or repairing xp. What I did is unplug the power from the hard driveand then boot from cd. it has always worked for me, and after you get the blue screen you can plug it back in again
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#8
123Runner

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I have had this proble numerous times intalling or repairing xp. What I did is unplug the power from the hard driveand then boot from cd. it has always worked for me, and after you get the blue screen you can plug it back in again

If you are suggesting to have the power on and then plug the hard drive back in while power is on, then you are in a crap shoot. You should never plug or unplug a component while power is on. That is a very good way to damage something.

RVC
Have you tried resetting the bios to default?
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#9
RVC

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mtiggs
Thanks for your suggestion. I'm glad that works for you but I'm hesitant to try it for the reason 123Runner mentiond. I appreciate your input, though.

123Runner
One of the first things I tried was to flash the latest BIOS which should have been default for it, or at least I would assume it would be. But just to make sure I also reset to default which only rearranged the boot order. That is now back to CD first.

Incidentally, I found a BIOS setting "On Chip SATA Setting" and disabled it. That allowed the machine to boot off the XP CD but it didn't recognized the hard drive. For what it's worth.

Thanks again for the help.

RVC
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#10
btek

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well... i had this same issue with an excompany computer that was a pbx server. I didnt care too much about breaking it so I tried the unplug HD and it worked like a charm....
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#11
The Skeptic

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Download Puppy Linux and create a bootable CD. Boot with the CD and see if the HD is recognized and if you can see the contents. Puppy Linux is a very small operating system that load and run from the RAM, so nothing is loaded on your hard disk. Alternatively you can boot with a bootable DOS CD, trying to see if C: is recognized and it's content approachable.

Before doing anything reset the BIOS by unplugging the power cord and taking the battery out for 10 minutes. Reinstall and let the BIOS run on defaults. Just set time, date and boot priority, making your CD drive first booting device.

My understanding is that you have only one hard disk on this computer and it's SATA. Please correct me if I am wrong.
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#12
Alzeimer

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I just remembered something i should have though of before, since you said you flash your BIOS is it possible that it has by default enable the option to read your HD for AHCI (only for VISTA and up) which XP is not compatible with, if the case it might be why your XP cd cannot read your hd and hangs on inspecting hardware.

Just something to check.
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#13
RVC

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The Skeptic
Thank you for the heads up on Puppy Linux. I did not know that was out there. I now have a working copy of version 5.2 and my machine boots off of it. As soon as I learn my way around in it I'll let you know if I can find the hard drive. I mentioned in an earlier post that my bootable Seagate DOS diagnostic CD will boot the machine and recognize the hard drive. It has run the diagnostics and determined the disk is ok. It will be interesting to see if Linux finds the HD as well. The is my first foray into the Linux world - interesting.

I had already removed the battery but not for 10 minutes. I'll give that a try as well. You are correct - just one SATA drive.

AlzeimerThanks. I hadn't checked that but when I did it was set for SATA. I apreciate your letting me know that though. I wouldn't have known to check it otherwise.

Thanks to both of you for the help.

RVC
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#14
RVC

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Well, as it turns out Puppy Linux could not access the hard drive. It gave some kind of difficult to read ( small black letters on a bright red background ) error message which I could make very little sense of. I can try to write it down and write it out here if that would help.

Thanks.

RVC
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#15
The Skeptic

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It looks like the only option to save the hard disk is to format it. Since it is not recognized in windows it can be done in one of the following ways:

1: Move the HD to another windows computer, connect it as a second SATA HD, see if it's recognized there. If yes, format it there. I have seen a number of cases in which it worked.

2: Format with DOS. You can do this either by erasing the drive with your Seagate tool or by booting with a DOS CD starting with FDISK command, erasing old partitions and creating new ones, and then continue with FORMAT C: command. As far as I remember you can format with DOS only to FAT32. Since you want it to be formatted to NTFS you will need to reformat it during the XP installation.
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