How can I get this computer to force boot a CD?
September 27, 2008 6:15 PM   Subscribe

I just bought a brand new OEM XP Pro SP3 install disc and it won't boot. Here's the rub: Computer runs an old MS Small Business Server and I want to wipe the thing and install my new OEM XP Pro, but the computer won't boot from the CD. Bios is set up properly.

The thing I don't understand with this thing is that it won't boot from CD even though it spins up and reads it a little, it still goes over to the hard drive Small Business Server (SBS) version of Win.

So, I tried to install from within SBS Windows and it tried to install as a dual OS configuration and then on scheduled reboot, now a dll is missing and it won't load SBS Windows now.


How can I get this thing to force boot from the CD? It just doesn't seem willing to boot from the CD drive, so now I'm ready to change out CD drives, but there has to be an alternative. Help?
posted by CarlRossi to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you checked the BIOS to make sure that the boot order is correct (e.g. CD-ROM then hard drive)?
posted by tundro at 6:19 PM on September 27, 2008

2nding tundro's suggestion - it's possible to change the BIOS settings so that the computer won't boot from CD.

Also - could the CD be damaged? Is the computer able to read the CD after it's booted up, or can you view the contents of the CD on another computer?
posted by XMLicious at 6:26 PM on September 27, 2008

Is this OEM disc from the manufacturer of your PC and intended for your model?
posted by winston at 6:31 PM on September 27, 2008

If you don't care about the SBS installation, download a copy of DBAN and wipe the hard disk. (I recommend using the 2.0 beta release; it's a lot faster and it supports SATA) I've seen where some computers have a problem with the "Press any key to boot from CD..." prompt that XP displays if it detects an existing operating system. By wiping the disk, no problem. If you're in a hurry, let DBAN get to 15-20 percent (more than sufficient to wipe the partition table, file system map and the initial OS install in most cases) then reboot and try the install.
posted by fireoyster at 6:42 PM on September 27, 2008

Response by poster: It is set to boot in this order:
1 Removable (floppy)
3 HD

After the computer is booted, it will read the CD. It goes through the Autorun settings.
It is an OEM Windows XP Pro disc that I just bought from Newegg. It is a Microsoft disc, NOT Dell/Gateway/Compaq/etc. Pure Win XP Pro SP3.
(Sorry I couldn't respond right away, I was taken away for a moment, I'm here now.
posted by CarlRossi at 6:53 PM on September 27, 2008

Here are the instructions from Microsoft Help for creating boot floppies for XP.
posted by XMLicious at 7:01 PM on September 27, 2008

>"Press any key to boot from CD..." prompt that XP displays

XP doesnt display this. This is the BIOS.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:06 PM on September 27, 2008

Best answer: Recheck your BIOS settings. Verify the disc is bootable in another machine. Perhaps try a BIOS upgrade too.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:07 PM on September 27, 2008

Response by poster: Okay. Thanks! I have a few things to try out. I hope I'm all good, or else I'll be back in the morning.

posted by CarlRossi at 7:26 PM on September 27, 2008

Try unplugging the data cable to the hard drive. Will it boot then?
The CD drive is plugged into the motherboard, not a PCI IDE card, right? (This is fairly unlikely.)
posted by alexei at 7:48 PM on September 27, 2008

"Press any key to boot from CD..." prompt that XP displays
XP doesnt display this. This is the BIOS.

On the (few) computers I've used an actual Microsoft install disc, I see that prompt only from the Windows CD, and never from any other CD. I'm pretty certain it's the CD. True, certain BIOSs have a similar prompt, but in this case I believe it's the CD.
posted by niles at 8:43 PM on September 27, 2008

niles is correct, the "Press any key to boot from CD" is presented by the XP CD. The rationale here is that after the initial files are copied over and the system reboots you don't have to worry about pulling the CD out to let the install continue.

Have you booted from a CD before with this machine? Do you have another bootable CD you can use to test to make sure the current system boots from some CD?
posted by mge at 9:29 PM on September 27, 2008

Response by poster: An update:
I upgraded the BIOS and was presented with a more detailed boot menu. I configured it properly and now it will boot from the CD. I'm presently going through the install process. Thanks for all your help, everybody!
posted by CarlRossi at 7:43 AM on September 28, 2008

For future readers, just last week I had a similar issue, but with an old sub-notebook that would not boot from USB. It is possible to copy windows files to the hard drive and install from there if you have more than one partition on the drive. It is also easy to install Linux these days over the network straight to the hard drive - I used
posted by bystander at 10:17 PM on September 28, 2008

And, finally, it's possible to have USB enabled, but have the BIOS configured *not* to recognize USB Storage devices; I'm presently using this setup on a rollout of XP on IBM ThinkCentre P4s to allow users to use thumbdrives, but not to *boot* from them.
posted by baylink at 4:46 PM on October 7, 2008

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