No Bootable Device, Strike F1...F2...

I have a dell c600 that should have windows xp on it. I wanted to obtain more information on the exact parts, so I took out and directly replaced the:

cd rom drive;
cover to the ram;
and also cpu.

In hindsight, this was probably very stupid, but I ran into no problems doing it. Now I am wondering if I fried everything.  Is it possible to tell?

So, now when I turn it on, I get "no bootable device, strike f1 to retry reboot,f2 for setup utility".  I was hoping that this just mean that I had to reset the bios, so...

I hit f2 (which I believe directs me into the bios?) and so then I try and reset the bios by turning on caps lock, numb lock, and scroll lock.  Then I press alt f, alt e, alt b.  But this doesn't do anything.

I have tried just reinstalling xp, but then I get the error message" attmepting to load an x64 operating system, however this cpu is not compatible with x64 mode.  Please install a 32 bit x86 operating system".

Also, my c600 use to work fine, but when I brought it back for the school year, I couldn't obtain any internet on it.  I have tried wired and wireless.  So I brought it to the computer help store, and they said that the internet card was never connected to the cpu.  I don't understand how I got internet on it for over a year then?

He recommended getting a pcmcia card, which I have, but now I can't even get the computer to run xp anymore.  So, I was also just wondering if anyone has heard of dell just adding, but not physically connecting the network card to the main board.  Thanks.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
There are lots of issues here and it is probably best trying to break the question into small chunks and deal with each separately.

First let's try to get the computer working.

Assuming everything was working until you took it apart it seems the hard drive is not being recognised and as a result the computer cannot find an operating system.

Prior to trying to reinstall XP did you erase or otherwise format the hard drive at all?  If not it's likely the operating system is still there.  When the computer starts try looking in the BIOS to see if the hard drive is recognised.  If not there may simply be a disconnected cable - either power or IDE.  If the drive is found then you need to find out why the operating system is now invisible to the computer.

As a fall-back position in case you do need to reinstall it sounds like you have a 64-bit XP CD.  You'll need a 32-bit version and ideally the Dell one that came with the machine.
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
Prior to trying to reinstall XP I did not format the hard drive.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Is the hard drive listed when you press F2 to get into the BIOS?
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bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
Primary Hard Drive is listed as "none"
Alan HendersonRetired marine engineerCommented:
"In hindsight, this was probably very stupid,"

No, not if you made sure that the machine was shut down, turned off and disconnected from the poe\wer supply AND that you made sure that you grounded yourself to a metal part of the case before touching anything. :o)

It's often easy to install an IDE cable upside down - at either end. Also check your HDD's jumper position. If it's set to Master you need to use the end connector, not the centre one which is for Slave.

Check here:

It sounds a s though your CPU is OK, but just to be sure - when you say you removed the CPU, did you detach the heat sink from the CPU?

If yes, did you clean the mating surfaces and use thermal paste between them on reassembly?

bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
     "No, not if you made sure that the machine was shut down, turned off and disconnected from the poe\wer supply AND that you made sure that you grounded yourself to a metal part of the case before touching anything. :o)"
(yes, yes, yes,no-but I touched metal objects throughout to discharge the static)

    "It's often easy to install an IDE cable upside down - at either end. Also check your HDD's jumper position. If it's set to Master you need to use the end connector, not the centre one which is for Slave."
This shouldn't matter though b/c it's a laptop and not a desktop.  The hd can only go in one way.  And I did not touch any switches, or see any for that matter?

"It sounds a s though your CPU is OK, but just to be sure - when you say you removed the CPU, did you detach the heat sink from the CPU?
If yes, did you clean the mating surfaces and use thermal paste between them on reassembly?"

No, I was not aware of this procedure?
How much of a difference can this really make?
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
The thermal paste is an potential issue but this would cause overheating.  At the moment your problem is an unrecognised drive.

Make certain the drive is fully located in the slot at the back of the housing.  In the BIOS see if you have an autodetect option for the primary HDD.

It would help at this stage if you let us know your Service Tag number so we know exactly what hardware we are dealing with.
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
Also, I am unable to find a auto detection option for the primary hdd.  Should I be looking in a more specific place?
Alan HendersonRetired marine engineerCommented:
Sorry, I missed the fact that it was a laptop.
When you said that you removed the CPU I assumed desktop. Should have checked.
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
No biggie, as long as we get this fixed that is!!
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
I think your system is already set to autodetect drives.  Try removing it again, check for any bent pins on the connector and relocate it.  If it is not detected in the BIOS then you have nothing to put an operating system on.  This is our main problem.

Try holding down f12 then pressing the power button to start, keep f12 down until you reach the menu and choose diagnostics, let us know if anything fails.

bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
When I turn the computer on with f12 depressed, the loading bar gets to about 98%, pauses for several long seconds(about 15-20), then I get the message, "
preparing one-time boot menu..."
 and then I get to the boot screen with only two options:
cd/dvd/cd-rw drive
cardbus nic

I cannot find a diagnostic option

When I choose either of the two option listed previously, I again receive the same message about pressing f1 or f2??
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Looks like your diagnostics are stored on a hard drive partition :(
Try holding down the Fn key when starting instead, although it is likely all this will do is ask you to install the diagnostics software (onto the hard drive that it can't see!)

Do you have the Dell support disks that origianlly came with the system (or the XP disk that was used to install the previous system)?

Can I check that when you say in your original question "replaced" you mean you took out the components and then put them again back rather than changing them for new components?
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
I don't have the support disks.

You are correct about the replacing.  I just took the cd rom drive out then right back in, and same with the hdd.
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
Fn Key does absolutely nothing :(
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
OK, somehow we need to get the laptop to recognise the drive again.

Try removing the charger and battery.  Then hold the power button down for 20-30 seconds and reconnect the power.  Check if the drive appears in the BIOS and if not while still in the BIOS screen use Alt+F to reset it

Midnight here now so hope someone can take over from nearer your time zone.
Alan HendersonRetired marine engineerCommented:
If you contact Dell, they will supply you with installation discs for a nominal charge. You'll have to give the the XP product key which may be a sticker on the bottom of the machine.

In the meantime, you could do as MASQUERADE suggested and try installing XP from a 32 bit version - can you borrow one.

First try a Repair installation of Windows. This leaves all your programs and data intact while reinstalling Windows. You're best to use an XP CD the same as your original. i.e. If you had XP Home SP1 originally, that's the CD you should use. If you do this you should be able to enter your own product key successfully during installation.

1.  Boot the computer from your XP CD (if this won't boot, you may need to change the order of boot devices in BIOS setup).
2   Eventually you will see the "Welcome To Setup" screen. Press the Enter key to start Windows Setup.
3.  Be careful NOT to choose R, which is "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console".
4.  Accept the License Agreement.
5.  Windows setup will search for existing Windows installations.
6.  Select the XP installation you want to repair (there is usually only one) and now press R to start the repair.

More complete instructions on how to do this, complete with pictures, are here:

If that doesn't work there are other possibilities:
Try installing from any Windows CD to establish whether or not the HDD is OK.
Use the Ultimate Boot CD to check your drive:

In view of the other problem you describe, there's a possibility of motherboard defect(s), it would be a massive coincidence if this were the cause of your present woes, but it wouldn't be the first time.

I'm assuming that your technician said that the "modem (or the network connection) was not connected to the motherboard" or similar, not to the CPU. If he said exactly what you posted, then find another technician. :o)
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
vallis, there currently is no "drive" to install XP on!
A working drive was unplugged and when it was put back the BIOS no longer recognises it. I think this needs fixing before getting to the stage of installing the operating system (which could still be intact on the drive)

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Alan HendersonRetired marine engineerCommented:
You can also, for about $20, buy a USB to IDE adaptor cable.
This will enable you to remove the HDD again and connect it directly to the USB port on another PC. XP Or Vista will recognise it as another drive if it is working.
At the very least this will enable you to recover your data.

Here's one:

Most reputable electronics/computer suppliers like RadioShack will have one, if not Newegg do:
Not sure if this has been mentioned yet(if it has sorry for the repeat). But i would remove the hdd and check that the adapter on the back of the drive is seated properly and also reseat the optical drive. If its still not detected remove the battery and unplug the ac adapter and press and hold the power button for 30-60 seconds, plug the ac adapter back in and try it again.
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all of the suggestions!! I will try to work on them.  Can someone tell me how to ret the optical drive?
Also, can I not just reset the hard drive or optical drive?  When people normally remove and then put in new hdd's or optical drives, do they have to go through some process similar to just resetting the bios or what? Thanks
Kinds silly question, but I have to ask does the hard drive work fine? Could you connect it to other system and check see if it is still working?
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
No silly questions here!!!  I didn't know that I could just swap hardrives like that, so I guess I"ll have to check that out.  Thanks!!!
Alan HendersonRetired marine engineerCommented:
You can't just swap it, you need to use the adaptor I described in my previous post. :o)

You can't install it in a desktop PC, because it's a 2.5" drive, not 3.5". Different IDE connector.

And no, you don't have to reset anything.

If you have access to another laptop the same model as yours (with an understanding owner)  you could swap drives to see if it will boot.

Have you followed MASQUERAID's advice and checked the HDD for bent or broken pins?
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
I checked for broken pins and any switches.  All negative.  The pins looked great and I found no switches.  I also followed all of the directions about the power buttion for 20-30 seconds etc...

I'm getting the 32 bit xp cd.  So hopefully that works!!!!
bizzton3kAuthor Commented:
I tried repairing with the 32 bit xp cd.  I got to the welcome screen and pushed enter and then I got the error message:

"Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed on your computer.

Make sure any hard disk drives are powered on and properly connected to your computer and that any disk-related hardware configuration is correct.  This may involve running a manufacturer-supplied diagnostic or setup program.

Setup cannot continue.  To quit setup press f3."

I contacted dell a little while ago and I believe they said that they did not supply my diagnostic cd's anymore b/c my laptop is too old.

Anymore suggestions?
You can download the diagnostics( and run them from a bootable floppy drive, but where the hdd isn't seen in bios they aren't going to help much. At this point it wpu;d be best to test the drive either in another laptop, in a desktop(with converter), or external enclosure. It's looking like either the hdd or the ide controller.
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