I have a Dell Precision 380 desktop workstation that I need to nuke and pave. The computer will boot a CD-R (and 'ultimate boot CD') but it will not boot Windows XP Dell OEM CDs. I have a disc with SP2 and SP3, and neither will boot. A Dell OEM Vista SP1 DVD will boot.
When I force the computer to boot from the Windows CDs (via F12) it prints a message similar to, "Cannot boot from this device". That's not the exact message, I didn't write it down and now I'm not in front of the computer.
I tested the Windows XP SP3 disc on another computer and it booted to the disc just fine. This is the only optical drive in the computer. I upgraded the firmware on the optical drive in case that might have been the problem, but it made no difference. I think that the computer has been reformatted before, because the Dell restore partition is not a boot option from the F12 menu.