PC refuses to boot off FDD or CDROM, switches to HDD

Hi all

I have a very old Cyrix 166 powered PC (Award Modular _AI5TH2_ board) on which I want to format the HDD and start again. Unfortunately the machine seems to have other ideas as it wont allow me to boot off the FDD or CDROM drive.  I have changed BIOS boot sequence setup to check FDD and CDROM first but to no avail. Despite there being bootable disks inserted the machine reads them for a couple of seconds and then switches back to the HDD to continue to boot.

Any ideas whats going on and how I can remedy it?

Many thanks

Phil J
phillipwjAsked:
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jregConnect With a Mentor Commented:
if you happen to have a spare floppy disk around i would try it.  if the system is old as you say then depending on how it was stored their might be a problem with the read/write heads on the floppy drive being dirty.  also i would check that the boot floppy that you are trying really does work by booting a different machine with it.  
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adwatersCommented:
Hi Phillip,
You might try connecting the hdd to the secondary channel to avoid booting from it. I should still be accessable as a c: drive, just not primary boot device.

Good luck!
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phillipwjAuthor Commented:
Hi 'adwaters',

How do I do that? In BIOS setup?

Also, if I do it and then the machine wont boot at all (ie if it still also refuses to boot off FDD or CDROM) will I be able to go back and change the settings?

Thanks

Phil
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phillipwjAuthor Commented:
Hi 'adwaters',

How do I do that? In BIOS setup?

Also, if I do it and then the machine wont boot at all (ie if it still also refuses to boot off FDD or CDROM) will I be able to go back and change the settings?

Thanks

Phil
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phillipwjAuthor Commented:
Hi 'adwaters',

How do I do that? In BIOS setup?

Also, if I do it and then the machine wont boot at all (ie if it still also refuses to boot off FDD or CDROM) will I be able to go back and change the settings?

Thanks

Phil
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phillipwjAuthor Commented:
NOT SURE WHY MY COMMENTS ARE BEING REPEATED OVER. I ONLY MADE THEM ONCE.
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adwatersCommented:
This is a physical connection inside the computer. I may be an ide connection, or it may be a scsi connection. Do you know which it is? (Bios will report on ide drives, not on scsi.) Basically, if it is an ide device, follow the large (data) cable from the drive to the system board. It will be connected into 1 of 2 connectors on the board. Change from where is is currently connected to the other connection and re-start the pc.
If it is scsi, it will be a harder issue, but still not unsolvable. Scsi devices need to be addressed, and boot according to the lowest address first sequence. It may be that the cd rom drive (assuming both it and the hdd are scsi devices) has a higher address assigned than the hdd. Setting the address is normally done via jumpers on the drive. So setting the cd rom address lower than the hdd should force it to boot first - a bootable cd must be in the drive.

Hope that helps.

aw
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phillipwjAuthor Commented:
Its an IDE drive. Ok I will give this a try as a last resort if I cant find any software options to follow as Im not keen on pulling apart the PC (its a pretty crappy clone and the wiring is the worst you have ever seen, very tight and very mixed up!).

Dont suppose you have any ideas as to why the PC has stopped recognising the FDD/CDROM as bootable in the first place? It used to work fine (always gave the old 'non system or boot disk' when I left a floppy in by accident - now it doesnt).
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EvilPrinceConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Some CD-ROM drives are just not bootable, despite BIOS settings (this is an old drive, I imagine). Are you sure that both the floppy and CD you tried booting with are not corrupted or otherwise damaged? Also, if the floppy or CD was formatted/copied/burned on another machine, somedrives may not read them even though they may be "good" (read/write head/ laser alignment/ head/laser current issues possibly)
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jbog2Commented:
DId you install W2K on this pc? I have had a similar problem since installing W2K. As of that moment FLD is not recognised anymore. After BIOS upgrade everything works fine. (Had first to reinstall Win98!)
Does your pc start from FLD if you disconnect the Harddisk?
If that works, then try first to the BIOS upgrade.
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phillipwjAuthor Commented:
The CD is a Win98SE original CD which works fine to set up windows but it just wont boot off of. The floppy was a  freshly made system start up disk.  

No the system is still Win98SE, Ive never installed Win2k on it.

I havent tried disconnecting the HDD yet.  Any ideas where I can get a BIOS update from for such an old machine?
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jbog2Commented:
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alexsysConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I take it it's a quite old machine.
If so, the CD-ROM drive, may also be old, so it won't boot
from any CD-RW and some CD-R media.

About the floppy, well, I have an old Tandy which is about the same epoch (166 Mhz Intel, VIA motherboard).

The floppy in this Tandy just stopped working. Now that's really weird, because I can tell you, that I've checked every single step I might have done wrong , like attaching it to the proper bus, on the right end, not letting any electrostatic discharges into it or the motherboard, blah blah blah.

It had an old Award BIOS, version 4.000something. It's a wild guess, but maybe the problem was there.
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jregCommented:
that should have read "if you happen to have a spare floppy disk drive...."
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CleanupPingCommented:
phillipwj:
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phillipwjAuthor Commented:
Split the points guys. Still not sorted out but Im just harvesting the machine parts now to build a new functioning machine anyway.
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