Managed PC Boot Agent has taken over my WIndows XP Pro computer

RollieL
RollieL used Ask the Experts™
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I needed to install a new wired/wireless router on my home "network." The network normally consists of a Dell Dimension 4100 running under Windows XP Pro SP3, a Dell Inspiron 1520 running under Windows Vista Home Premium SP2, a Dell Studio 1555 running under Windows 7 Home Premium, a printer hardwired to the XP machine and shared with the two laptops, and a router (wired for the XP machine, wireless for the two laptops).
I bought a new Cisco E2000 router and proceeded to set it up it from the XP machine, using the CD-ROM provided by Cisco. As best I can tell, the router setup is now working fine. But at the end of the setup process the XP computer froze when I attempted to quit the setup program.
The router setup program apparently left behind a Pre-boot management program which was supposed to run a clean-up program from the CD-ROM after the next restart. However something went wrong. For a while a could not get a normal Windows boot, but I would get a Safe Mode boot. Now I can't get past the pre-boot management program. It keeps telling me I have an invalid boot diskette (with instruction to "Insert BOOT diskette in A:")--even after I removed the floppy drive from the boot sequence (I can get to the BIOS setup). If I do insert a bootable diskette in the A: drive, the computer won't look for it.
I was hoping to be able to do a Windows Repair from the original Windows installation CD-ROM(s), although I don't know how well that would work since my initial Windows install was XP Home, then I got an upgrade CD-ROM for XP Pro (so I don't have a normal installation CD-ROM for XP Pro). However I am unable to force the computer to boot from the CD-ROM drive.
With this problem and my current skills set, I can't manipulate anything on my boot drive
How can I get this Pre-boot manager out of the way?
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Top Expert 2013

Commented:
here all info on the repair install :  http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
but it may be necessary to erase the disk with Dban, and start over.
alternatively, boot with Bootit-ng, and check if it made another partition on the disk; erasing that may help you too : www.terabyteunlimited.com/       
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
I can't think of any good reason why a utility for setting up a router would have to change something on the boot manager of your PC. I rather believe you just had terribly bad luck with your Hard-disk or PC that happened to coincide with your setting up the router, but that actually has nothing to do with it.

Have you checked your PC's BIOS settings that the first boot device is the CD drive, and have you also checked that all Cables to the CD Drives and HD's are properly connected? Now try booting to the UBCD CD and first run memtest86+,and if that passes without errors, boot with it again and run the HD Manufacturer's Diagnostic utility which is also on that CD to test the HD. If you can't boot to CD even after checking in the BIOS (or using F12 at boot-up to change the boot order, then you'll have to try that test with the HD in another PC. But to me it looks like a bad HD (on Dells that can sometimes cause other boot devices not to function).

http://ultimatebootcd.com
Commented:
 I have to agree that I can't see a logical reason why an installation program should cause the near-catastrophic problem I described. I'm still suspicious there is a connection, but I can't prove it. I am NOT about to repeat the process to test any such hypothesis, so that question will remain forever unanswered.
  Early on I had pretty much ruled out BIOS setting changes and cable failures. But my problem HAS now been resolved. My initial call (online chat) to any technical support was to Cisco/LinkSys. That got me nowhere, except to realize that the particular rep I was trying to communicate with was paying no attention to what I was saying. The next attempt was with Dell--this one could be described as "close, but not cigar." The first suggestion from that rep was that I needed to clear NVRAM; it turns out he was right, but unfortunately he did not know the necessary steps to take on this particular Dell model. Yesterday I finally happened to run across a discussion on Wilders Security Forum about someone else's similar problem. I performed the NVRAM-clearing steps described in that discussion; lo-and-behold, upon the next power up I regained access to all my internal mass storage devices. Those steps are: remove ALL power (AC and battery) and hold the power button in for 20 seconds. I am now hastening my migration away from this computer, hoping to complete such migration before happens again.

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