Dell XPS-410 -- No boot disk found after reinstallation of WinXP Pro

I am trying to restore a Dell XPS-410 desktop. The unit has a WD2500JX Caviar SE H/D on SATA0 and a Dell HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GSA-H31N DVD-RW drive on SATA1. These are the only SATA devices installed.

The unit will not boot to UBCD 4.1.1 -- the UBCD menu appears but is unusable. I expect this is the well known problem with using USB keyboards and pointing devices with UBCD.

The unit will also not boot to the latest Western Digital DLG diags CD -- the menu never appears at all.

It will boot to Knoppix and Knoppix sees and can access both drives.

I have twice now reinstalled WinXP Pro from the Dell WinXP install CD. Both times, the reinstallation proceeded flawlessly and ended at the default WinXP desktop. However, upon rebooting the unit it could not find a valid boot disk.

After the first reinstall of WinXP Pro, I pulled the H/D out and installed it in an external enclosure and ran the Windows-based WD DLG diags and the H/D passed with flying colors. I then zero-filled the drive and completed the second reinstall of WinXP Pro.

Both the H/D and the DVD-RW drive are recognized by the BIOS after the reinstalls. The boot order is set to try the DVD drive first and the H/D second.

I have also tried replacing the SATA cable -- no joy.

I'd be grateful for any help in figuring out what is preventing the unit from recognizing the boot drive after the reinstall.



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Can you switch your drives in BIOS to ATA mode?
  You can try  two things.
1. Reset the BIOS to system defaults
2. Reboot the computer and start the setup of windows XP from the CD . The screen would prompt you to press F6 to install the SATA drivers( if you have replaced the Harddrive on the computer you would need to put in the SATA drivers for the hardrive.
3. After you press the F6 remove the Dell OS cd and put in the Dell resource cd that has all the drivers. Once the sata drivers are installed .Insert the OS cd back


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don0donAuthor Commented:
Although I had tried resetting the BIOS to factory defaults, I tried it again because of Proton77's suggestion. Unlike the first time, this time after the reset, the H/D settings defaulted to RAID on. When I switched it to Auto-Detect Raid/ATA Mode, it detected the boot drive without a problem. (I had to manually disable floppy seek to get it to smoothly boot into WinXP Pro.)

It's an interesting question -- how can the reset to factory defaults behave one way the first time and a different way the second time. Anyway, it's academic.

Problem solved, so thanks to both of you!

Because medvedd first suggested looking at resetting the drives to ATA Mode, I am awarding him/her 125 points.

Excellent, lightning-fast support!
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