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Digging that hole deeper and deeper Now can't boot from CDROM

OK.....I seem to have made quite the mess of things.  I started having performance problems on a 3 yr old Dell Inspiron 530.

I decided I was going to do a fresh install and wipe out the old hard drive.

Well when I started wiping out the drive for some reason the BIOS started switching new drive letters to every device.  So what I thought was an old C drive was actually a removable USB drive...ended up wiping that out and installing windows on it.  Fortunately I had just backed up that backup drive.

Well then I reinstalled finally on a blank HD.  Well it was assigned the drive letter J.  I didn't like that at all.  Of course windows wont let you reassign a system drive so I decided to reinstall again but first I had some drive reassigning to do.

So I reassigned drive letters on all my drives...including my CDROM drives to different letters that reflected what they were originally and left the C drive available for the hard drive.

Thats when the problem I currently have hit me.  Now I cant boot and reinstall windows with my CDs because I get an I/O error on the CD drive.  There is a message that confirms the system sees the CD drive but for some reason it won't read it.  Next I did a step that I hope hasn't sent me over the edge into never never land.

I went into the bios and reset it to defaults hoping it would fix the problem.  Well it didn't.

Have i messed up to many things at once now?

The key issue is to get my CDROM to work so I can reinstall on my hard drive.

Any ideas?

Windows XPComponentsStorage HardwareDell

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Avatar of jsdray
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Disconnect all USB drives and you should be able to boot to the CD-ROM (doesn't matter what the drive designation is as long as it isn't C:)
Be sure and use the FORMAT option when you start the windows installation....
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Avatar of Callandor
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Try the old-fashioned way of resetting the BIOS - unplug the machine and remove the CMOS battery for ten minutes.
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Drive letter assignments within your current Windows won't change the outcome of your install.  As the other Tech's said you need to disable your card reader and unplug all external devices.  To be honest the best way to disable the internal card reader is to unplug it from the motherboard.  If you look inside your case follow the wire from the card reader to the motherboard and unplug it.  Then try the install again.

Try and boot your computer up and tap f12 at startup this should give you the boot options page. Then select your CD drive to boot and you should be up and running.

Good Luck HTH.
I've just realised - the machine's a desktop, not a laptop - duh.

Even easier then; shut down, take off the side panel and unplug the media reader. Install Windows, then plug the media reader back in.
Avatar of bodell3


That was the problem, each card slot hogged up the high rent drive letters.  Disconnected it, rebooted and everything worked like a charm.

Windows XP
Windows XP

Microsoft Windows XP is the sixth release of the NT series of operating systems, and was the first to be marketed in a variety of editions: XP Home and XP Professional, designed for business and power users. The advanced features in XP Professional are generally disabled in Home Edition, but are there and can be activated. There were two 64-bit editions, an embedded edition and a tablet edition.

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