Can't reformat XP computer

By peterdw · 8 replies
Feb 12, 2009
  1. I want to reformat my XP computer. I have a dvd writer (replaced a CD-ROM) and a dvd ROM. When I try to reboot with the XP SP1 disk in either drive it is not recognised - I changed First Boot Device to CDROM but when I get the message "press any key to boot from cd" nothing happens and it boots normally. The writer works normally for dvds and the dvd-rom works normally for playing cds or dvds.

    I have checked the BIOS - Standard CMOS Features which show:
     IDE Primary Master Maxtor 6Y080L0
     IDE Primary Slave Maxtor 86480D6
     IDE Secondary Master DVDRW IDE H16X
     IDE Secondary Slave as Lite-On Combo LTC-48

    so both drives are recognised. Checking the Advanced BIOS Features, if I want to change any of the Boot Devices I am given a choice of floppy, LS120, HDD-0, SCSI, CDROM, HDD1, HDD2, HDD3, ZIP100, USB-FDD, USB-ZIP, USB-CDROM, USB-HDD and LAN. You will see that there is no DVDRW or DVD-ROM. So how do I change the Adanced BIOS Features so that I can boot from either of these drives with the XP disk? If I cant change the Advanced BIOS Features how can I reformat?
  2. lopdog

    lopdog TS Maniac Posts: 295

    If you get the "press any key to boot from cd" I think your boot parameters are correct, the computer tries to boot from the CD. You have to press any key within a few seconds to boot from the XP cd. Is the cd clean and without scratches?
  3. peterdw

    peterdw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Cant reformat xp computer

    I have pressed any key (and tried different keys) a number of times one the message appears but it still boots up normally. Yes, the disk appears to be clean and fee from scratches. I can open it in my Computer and acess the setup.exe file but of course it wont allow me to reformat that way as it tells me there is a later version of XP (SP3) on the computer than on the xp disk (SP1).

    It recognises that I am trying to boot from the cd but I wonder if I should, as al st resort, remove one of the drives and reinstall the cd-rom as it appears to be looking for that.
  4. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    When BIOS is set to CD-ROM it means CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-RW or any optical drive for that matter, it does not have to be a CD-ROM.

    I would try, removing one of the optical drives and the hard drive you are not going to install XP on making sure the jumpers are correct, the Master drive has to be connected to the end of the data cable.

    I would add the second hard drive, specially if it has data on it, only and only after Windows is installed, updated with all available SP and updates in custom mode, with an anti virus installed and updated.

    We don't want anything jumping from the other drive during setup.

    Can you also give us a full system spec, including make and model of the CPU, Motherboard, Video Card, Power Supply and RAM or if it is an OEM, make and model would do plus any addition to the original config.

    Let us know.
  5. swwelsh

    swwelsh TS Rookie Posts: 34

    Have you booted from the XP install CD before? Maybe it is just a bad CD, just because the files can be read does not mean it is bootable
  6. peterdw

    peterdw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I reformatted about 2 years ago without problems. The xp disk appears ok. I have disconnected the slave hard drive and slave dvd-rom but which are confirmed when I check My Computer and the BIOS. The first boot is the cd-rom and it still doesn't respond to 'press any key' and boots up normally.

    It is an Elite 648FX-A motherboard with an Intel 4 2.6 processor. The slave hard drive is too small to install xp and only holds a copy of my data files. I have 1.28gb RAM. I attach the Belarc printout in case this is of use.
  7. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    This is a long shot, but I would try reflashing the bios first, and testing the booting capabilities of your DVD in another PC. Then borrow a bog-standard CD drive known to be working and try that temporarily.

    If none of that works, as a very long shot remove the one small memory chip to leave just a single one, remove all add-on cards of any description, disconnect all wireless devices, and try boot again.

    As a parting shot, it is very painful, even harmful to reinstall XP unless it is from a slip-streamed SP3 CD. After all, the whole point of a reinstall (usually) is to clean out the crud left behind by so many updates and SPs from SP1 onwards.
  8. lopdog

    lopdog TS Maniac Posts: 295

    Have you tried to boot from another bootable CD (like a Linux Live CD)? Just to see if that is possible. You could, for instance, try the Damn Small Linux Live CD, it's only 50 Mb download, just burn the .iso image on a CD and boot from it. It won't change anything on your existing system.
  9. peterdw

    peterdw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I managed to reformat my daughter's old pc without any problems so the xp disc obviously works. I was hoping to use its hard drive in my pc as a slave or even as the main drive but unfortunately the connections are different - duagher's hard drive has a narrow ribbon connector whereas mine is wide and the power connection is flat but mine is 4 round pins.

    I am reluctant to flash the BIOS in case I mess up the whole computer. It has been suggested that I download xp from Microsoft onto 6 floppies which may be the easier route to take.
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