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safe mode

Posted on 1999-01-22
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My husband's Compudyne Pentium computer has gone crazy.  When I changed the display settings and re-booted, the screen went crazy.  I then re-booted and looked at setup.  Must have changed something-didn't do so on purpose-and the computer wouldn't start Windows 95.  Keep asking for system disk, but won't accept what I had.  I made a start-up disk for Windows from my computer.  It now will show the message Starting Windows 95 but it stays in dos and gives a A: prompt.  I tried hitting f8 and starting in safe mode but again it goes to A: prompt.  I can get it to change to c drive, but I don't know the dos commands I need apparently.  Tried starting in line by line comfirmation but after saying yes to first command I am right back at a: prompt. What do I do now?  It has been too  long since I used dos commands.  I do have a copy of the original config.sys file but how do I get Windows to load.  Is there something in setup I should change?
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Question by:sewla
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by:ZenMaster
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There are several possibilities;  first make sure that the c drive is a startup device in setup.  Also make sure that the "win" command (no quotes) is in your autoexec file.

This problem can range anywhere from the above to a hard drive failure, depending on the circumstances; though I doubt this due to the fact you were changing display settings.

If the above suggestion doesn't work, try resetting to factory defaults.  If that doesn't work, let us know if anything has changed.
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by:jcarlo
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When you boot off of a startup disk, it will send you to the DOS prompt, even though it says "Starting Windows 95."

If you could explain in a little more detail precisely what the computer does as you try to load it up either in normal or safe mode (when you boot off of the hard drive, not a floppy) we can try to help you resolve your problem.

regards,
Jeremy
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by:sewla
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I have had no luck getting the computer to recognize it has a c drive.  In answer to Jeremy, the system tells me it wants a system disk when I start normally.  Goes to the A prompt when I use the Windows boot disk and won't go into safe mode or confirm line by line.  I had it looked at a few minutes ago by a computer store.  The tech there says the hard drive is shot.  How hard is it to replace?  I have experience adding memory, sound cards and modems, but that's about it.  He wants aabout $200 for the new drive and installation.  I think the new drive was 4gigs.
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by:Travathian
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If the HDD is not detected by the BIOS, and it is plugged in securely, then it is shot.  Ensure that the IDE cable and the power cable are secure in the back of the hard drive.  check to see if the BIOs detects it.  Make sure the BIOS are set for auto detect.  If they dont detect it, try connecting a CDROM up to the Primary Master and see if it is detected, use the same cables as you would have for the hard drive.  If the CDROM is detected, a new hard drive is needed.  If the CDROM is not detected, it could be a cable or morthboard problem.
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by:rmarotta
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sewla,
Did a technician actually "look" at the computer? (Did he power it up and physically try to boot it?)

If so, I guess you have to take his word.
If not, then it sounds like he might be trying to "sell you something".

In your original question, you said:
>  "I can get it to change to c drive, but I don't know the dos commands I need apparently."

Try this:

Go to CMOS setup and auto-detect the drive.  Save & exit.

Using your startup floppy, type "SYS C:" (without quotes) and press enter.

Will the computer now boot from the hard drive?

Regards,
Ralph
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by:Astor
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totally agree with rmarotta based on your coment "I can get it to change to c drive, but I don't know the dos commands I need apparently."

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by:sewla
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Thanks for all the help.  I have to pick the cpu up this morning and I will try your suggestions.  I think the cd-rom and hard drive are shot.  Think it is time to look for a new cpu since hubby has been complaining his is too slow. Is a used one a good idea?
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by:rmarotta
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I wouldn't introduce more potential problems to the present situation.
I suggest you wait until you resolve this problem before trying to upgrade.

Ralph
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by:jcarlo
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When the tech said the hard drive's shot, did he mean that the data on it is shot (solution: repartition, format and reinstall apps) or that the drive is physically shot (solution: replace drive, at cost upsards of $100)?  I would be very wary if he said the drive is shot, because manufacturing tolerances today are so high, that any drive older than a month or so or less than at least 5 years old are very unlikely to just up and die.  Try running Norton Disk Doctor (do a surface scan) on the drive to see if it is something that can be fixed.  But as rmarotta said, if the tech actually looked at the comp in detail, and opened it up and checked the connections inside, then if he said the drive is shot, it probably is, and putting it back in can actually do more harm than good.

My suggestion is, if the hard drive and CD ROM are shot, don't bother replacing them.  Just get a new comp (you can get one running @ 300-400 MHz, with 32-64 MB RAM, 6-8 GB HD, 40x CD ROM, 56k modem, 17 inch monitor) for a little over $1000 today, and replacing a hard drive and cd rom will cost about $200.  Oh, and buy a new one; you don't really want some one else's headache (why would they be selling a brand new computer at 1/3 the original price?)
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by:rmarotta
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I really think it's unlikely that the hard drive and CDROM would fail at the same time........

Did you try what I suggested?

Ralph
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simetra earned 100 total points
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First, boot off a startup disk.  at the a:\ prompt, type "sys c:"
Without the quotes.  Once you've done that, remove the floppy disk and reboot. You should be able to boot into safe mode. If not, skip what follows.
In safe mode, click start, run, and type "regedit"  again, no quotes.
At the top, click edit, find, and type "noide" again, no quotes.
if it is found, click on it so that it is highlighted, and hit the delete key on your keyboard, and yes to the confirmation.  Close regedit, reboot your computer.
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by:rmarotta
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simetra,
Please read the prior posts before posting someone's comment as your "answer".
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by:simetra
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You may wish to look for "noide" in the registry as I suggested.  If it exists, it will disable 32-bit drivers for your ide controllers.  
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by:rmarotta
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simetra,
Your suggestions for a questioner should be posted as a "comment", rather than as the "answer" to their problem.
The NOIDE entry will only cause compatibility mode paging to occur in Windows........

....Not boot errors.

sewla,
Please reject the proposed "answer" because it has no possible bearing on your problem.
We need some feedback from you now.

Ralph
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by:simetra
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Try running fdisk from the startup disk, make sure c: is set as the active partition.
Please forgive me if this proves to be a complete waste of your time.
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by:sewla
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Thanks for all the suggestions.  Nothing worked.  Think it is shot.  I guess we're looking for a new system!
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by:rmarotta
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Why would you accept that incorrect "answer"?

There have been six different experts here trying to assist you.

If you respond to the comments, we might be able to help you solve your problem.


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by:Astor
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rmarotta I have been following this question and I think there's time errors (within this web page).
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by:rmarotta
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Time errors?
What do you mean?

Ralph
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by:jcarlo
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have you tried running Norton Disk Doctor or Scandisk?  You can run a surface test using either one (that is, if you can even access it, although you seem to be able) to search for errors and either fix them or mark the bad sectors so they will not be used.  i would suggest at least trying this, if you haven't done so already, before springing for a new computer.

Regards,
Jeremy
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by:sewla
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I will try scandisk.  I tried all the other suggestions with no results.  It won't even boot with the windows resuce disk intothe  safe mode (although before I took it to the tech, it would not open windows, it just went to the A prompt) anymore since I brought it back from the tech.  He said the drive had a bad section.  I assumed he checked it out thoroughly.  This is my first experience with a bad hard drive.  Should I call him and ask the questions you posed to me?
Thanks
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by:rmarotta
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Is the drive detected by the BIOS at bootup? (There should be some indication on-screen as power is turned on)

Have you tried the sys command on it?
See my comment Saturday, January 23 1999 - 05:41AM.

Ralph
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by:sewla
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rmarotta  No the drive is not being detected by the BIOS and I tried the sys command.  I get a bad command reply.  About all I seem able to do is change from the A prompt to the C prompt and run DIR.  It shows the files there but no other DOS command will work.
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by:rmarotta
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If BIOS did not recognize the drive you would not be able to even log on to it as a C: drive.
Run FDISK /STATUS from the A:\> prompt and report the results here.  This will tell us if BIOS sees the right size drive, and how it is partitioned.

Ralph
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by:sewla
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Ralph=Here's what I get:
DISK        drive           mbytes         free           usage
1                                 504                               100%
                  C:              812



                  1 mbyte=104857 bytes
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by:jcarlo
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hmmm.  that seems kind of unusual, if the table above is formatted correctly and the numbers are correct.  Your partition seems to be larger than the drive itself!  Please tell me, what is the size of this hard drive? (Please refer to your computer documentation).  It appears that there is a misconfiguration oin your BIOS (maybe LBA has not been enabled).  If this is the case, the drive will appear as ~500 Mb, and all your files will not be accessible.  

Regards,
Jeremy

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by:jcarlo
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Oh, to check if LBA is enabled (I had some problems accessing the server and ended up leaving this out!)

Go into BIOS setup (hit f1 or something like that right after power on, you've been here before).  Go to "Standard CMOS Setup", and look at the entry for "Primary Master".  there should be an option entitled "Mode."  If your drive is larger than ~512 Mb (Im not sure if it is, so please advise as per my previous comment), this option should be set to LBA, and not set to normal, as I gather the rest are.  If there is no LBA option and your drive is larger than 512 Mb, please tell us.  Otherwise, enable LBA, save the changes, and post the results of another FDISK/STATUS for us.

-JPC
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by:rmarotta
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Follow these sreps:

1)  Setup the drive in CMOS using correct Cyls, Hd, Sect settings.  Enable LBA.
2)  Run FDISK and delete all partitions that may exist on the drive.
3)  Using FDISK, create a Primary Dos partition on the entire drive and make it active.
4)  Re-start the computer and format the new partition.

Ralph
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by:sewla
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Sorry to sound stupid, but I am a novice at all this.  I am trying to keep up so I hope you can be patient.
When I boot the computer I get
BIOS Versionn 2.0; it then comes up as 16000K memory good; I then enter the setup
I get the following
BIOS UTILITY
BASIC SYSTEM CONFIGURATION; I click on this option ad get:
DATE
TIME
Diskette A
DIikette B
                                           Cylinder Head  Sector
Fixed Disk (813 MB)  [Auto]   1652     16      63
Fixed Disk 1 0 MB

Base Memory  640KB
Extended Memory 15360 KB
Total Memory 16000 KB
Math Coprosser Installed
Video Display BGA/EGA
Communication.....
Enhanced IDE FEATURES
IDE fixed Disk Block Mode Disabled
Large Block Disk Capacity Enabled

Num lock enabled
memory test disabled
auto configuration mode  enabled
fast boot mode enabled

When I first went to tis setup, large block disk capacity was disabled.  It toggles between enable and disable.  I enabled it because the manual with the computer said "if enabled, it allows you to use a fixed disk with a capacity of more than 528 MB.  This is mad possible through the LBA mode translation."  This is the only reference I could find  concerning LBA.  Can't find exact size of hard frive.  Belive it is 1gig, son(from whom we got computer) thinks might be 2gig.  Haven't taken it apart to check label on drive. Anyway, I ran the FDIK/status and got the following

                       Fixed Disk Drive Status
Disk     Drv    Mbytes     Free        Used
1                    812                        100%
            c:       812

          (! MByte=1048576 bytes)
That's where I'm at now.  Thanks for everyone's patience.  I really do appreciate it.  
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by:rmarotta
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It appears that you have an 800Mb hard drive.
Enter CMOS setup again and do the following:

1)  Change Fixed Disk 1 to "none" or "not installed".
2)  Enable Block mode and LBA.
3)  Save & exit the setup program.

Now run FDISK and follow the menus to delete the current partition.
Next, ceate a new Primary Dos partition of maximum size and make it active.
Reboot.
Format the new partiton and transfer the system files to it with
FORMAT C: /S command from a Dos prompt.

Will the computer now boot from the hard drive?
Ralph
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by:sewla
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Problem:  when I go to the BIOS Utility and enter the Basic System Configuration the system will not let me change anything except the first 4 lines-time, date and diskete drives.  What do I change to get the setup to allow me to change the fixed drive settings?  I've played around with changing what I thought but no luck.
Thanks, Martha
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by:rmarotta
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What is listed for fixed disks when in setup?
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by:jcarlo
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You don't change any parameters in the Standard CMOS setup anymore, once LBA is set up.  Let the BIOS autodetect the drives.  YOu can do this in one of two ways:  
1.  In standard CMOS setup, there is an option for something like "mode" for each drive. There will be options like "user," "auto," and numbers from 1 to 80 or something like that.  Set it to "auto," and your BIOS will detect your drives each time you boot up.
2.  Go to 'autodetect IDE HDD.'  Here you can autodetect your drives and store the settings, so that you save some time on bootup from detecting the drives all over.

Let us know how it goes...

-JPC
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by:sewla
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I enabled the IDE fixed block mode and the Large Block Disk Capacity.  I then ran FDISK and deleted the current partion.  I next created a new Primary DOS partion of max. size and made it active.  I rebooted and formated the new partion.  When I boot without the Windows emergeny disk I get the messageinsert system diskette.  When I boot with the Windows rescue in drive A, I get starting windows and then the A prompt.  I tried  to go into Windows safe mode to no avail.  Since I formated the drive, do I need to re-install some software? I have the original config.sys  files on a disk.  How do I get the computer to read the disk?  It's been a long time since I used DOS comands.  The computer I am working on originally had windows 3.1 and was upgraded to Windows 95.  Don't know if that makes any difference.  Thanks to all for your continuing advice.
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by:rmarotta
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Well, it appears you got the drive working!

What is the size of the drive reported by FDISK /STATUS command?

After booting with the floppy disk type:  "SYS C:" (without quotes) to transfer the system files to the hard drive and make it bootable.

Next, you need to install your operating system.

Ralph
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by:sewla
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Sorry for the delay in  responding.  Server problems!
fdisk/status now show
Disk             Drv              Mbytes          free           usage
1                                     812              309             62%
                     c:               503

When I boot and type SYS C I get the reply required parameter missing;  Should I type this in at the A prompt.  When I try using C prompt, I get bad commond message.
Thanks, Martha
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by:rmarotta
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Okay, a little more info:

Apparently you did not enable LBA when using FDISK last time.
That's why you're not using the entire drive's capacity.
LBA must be enabled so that the sytem can utilize the entire disk as one partition.
Try FDISK again after resetting drive configuration in CMOS.

After FDISK is complete, be sure to restart the computer.
Then, execute this command:

     FORMAT C: /S

The hard drive should be bootable when that's finished.

Ralph
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by:sewla
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Okay, here's where i am now.  It is trying to boot from the hard drive!  BUT!  I am getting lots of error messages.  The first I get is
Bad or missing C:\DOS\himen.sys
error in CONFIG.SYS Line 1
This continues and I get error messages for the EMM386.exe; config.sys line 3
HMA not available: loading DOS lowetc

It finally goes to the C prompt though.  I figure I need to reload Windows at some point (when these problems are resolved) but the cd rom is not working and I only have it on cd.  I can get a copy of windows 3.1 from my old computer sent to me.  Would that be the way to go or is there a way to load the cd-rom.  By the way I have a new cd-rom that was given to me by a computer manufacturing person.  It is a 44 speed, but I hope that will be good enough.
Thanks, Martha
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by:rmarotta
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Progress Martha!

It seems you have some statements in your startup files (autoexec.bat & config.sys) that are calling for programs that don't yet exist on the hard drive.
Just rename them for now, and you should get a clean, error-free boot from the hard drive.  I suggest you just change their extensions like this:

     REN AUTOEXEC.BAT AUTOEXEC.OLD
     REN CONFIG.SYS CONFIG.OLD

Next, we need to be sure the hard drive is partitioned correctly before we put much data on it.

Does FDISK /STATUS report the full drive capacity at 100% usage?

If not, go back to my last post and follow it again carefully.
If so, we can set up a boot floppy that will configure Dos to access your CDROM drive for the Win95 installation.

Let me know how this goes.
Ralph
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by:sewla
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Okay!  I changed the extension and got the following: NO ERROR MESSAGES!!
Starting MS-DOS

Current date .....
enter new date (which I did)
Current time.....
enter current time (ditto)
Microsoft version 6.22
C:\>

Problem-when I try FDISK/STATUS I get bad command or file name.  What next?
Thanks for your help Ralph, Martha

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by:rmarotta
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Martha,
You'll need to copy the FDISK.EXE file to the hard drive, or run it from whatever floppy you have it on.
When the disk is partitioned properly, it should report 100% usage of the entire disk's capacity.

After that, you'll need to locate some other files for configuring the CDROM from a startup floppy.  Here's what is needed:
HIMEM.SYS
MSCDEX.EXE
<xxxxx>.SYS     (Where <xxxxx> is the filename of the device driver for your CDROM drive)

When you have these copied onto a bootable floppy, we can create the startup files and run Windows setup.
Create the two files like this:

AUTOEXEC.BAT has one statememnt:
     MSCDEX /D:CDROM

CONFIG.SYS has two:
     DEVICE=HIMEM,SYS
     DEVICE=<xxxxx>.SYS /D:CDROM

Restart the computer with the floppy and you should be able to run the following command from the A:\> prompt:
     D:\Win95\SETUP.EXE
(Where D: is the driveletter for your CDROM)

Let me know how it goes, or if you need help to locate a driver.

Regards,
Ralph
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