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Workstation will not boot from CD drive

Posted on 2014-10-04
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell 620 workstation that I was going to donate. First I wanted to make sure I had all the data from the drives. I copied all data to sd cards. Just as I finished I noticed that all three 260 gig drives had incorrect sizes listed when clicking on My Computer. All were very low. I rebooted. No change. I formatted the last one on the chain. No difference. I disconnected all but the one formatted drive and still the CD would not perform a self boot of the XP installation. I did change the bios to have the cd boot first, but it just doesn't. How do I proceed from here? I have nothing left on the 3 drives that matters.
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Question by:Need-a-Clue
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by:
Eirman earned 100 total points
ID: 40360990
You could change the boot order and put USB booting at the top of the list and follow there instructions ...
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tipstricks/ht/bootusbflash.htm

This is a really great free utility for creating bootable USB devices
http://rufus.akeo.ie/
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by:rindi
rindi earned 100 total points
ID: 40360992
The CD drive could be broken. Can you read anything on the drive via Windows? If not, try getting a 2nd hand drive via ebay or similar portal.

What are you trying to install XP for? XP is discontinued, and even a donated PC shouldn't be delivered with XP anymore, the installation is a waste of time, but rather a free OpenSource Linux distribution, or no OS, then the new owner can decide what he wants to install on it.

Besides, the XP installation CD could also be bad, have you tried booting it on another PC? If it also fails to boot on the other PC, the CD is broken...
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40361096
Have you tried with different cds?
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 100 total points
ID: 40361518
I'd take the formatted drive out and place it in another machine and see what that makes of the disk's capacity.  If it appears to come back to normal then you know the disk is OK and the machine is the problem.  Very strange though.

As for the CD drive noxcho has suggested another CD disk.  Could be a LInux boot CD or something like the UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ (very useful diagnostick CD).  I'd also suggest just trying to boot with NO hard drives connected as well.  If it fails those I'd try another CD unit in case this one has decided to become a failure.
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Author Comment

by:Need-a-Clue
ID: 40361657
Hi Experts. Without going into long detail on things that have not worked, let me explain where I am now and hopefully get some more help. I now have TWO drives that appear as they should, size wise. I do have a cd reader that is functioning fine. One of the drives is still bootable. I can boot from the cd drive ONLY if I have the xp reinstallation disc in it. I tried 6 different Windows 7 reinstallation discs and none of them will boot. I wish I knew why. I don't really want to put xp back into this machine. The computer is a Dell 620 workstation with only SCSI drives. Why can't I get the win7 discs to boot since they are bootable?
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 40361665
Is the CD drive a DVD driver or just a CD drive?

If it is just a CD drive then DVDs won't boot in it.

If it is a DVD drive and CDs will boot and DVDs won't boot then the DVD portion of the drive has failed.  The laser for DVDs runs at a different frequency than that for CDs so the laser can fail for DVDs but work OK for CDs.

Now check which disks work, the DVDs ones or the CDs.  Windows 7 requires a DVD to boot from.
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Assisted Solution

by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 200 total points
ID: 40361684
I think dbrunton is on the right track.

Go to the Dell web site at https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/product-support/product/precision-620/configuration, enter the system's service tag, and see what the delivered configuration was.

If it indicates the system was delivered with a CDROM, look at the drive front and see if it has the DVD logo.  If not, it will not boot a W7 install DVD.

Googling the Precision 620 indicates that they were made circa 2000.  It had RDRAM memory, which shows how old the hardware is.  That would be the era when systems had CDROMs instead of DVD drives.

Side note:  The Precision 620 workstation was supplied with a P3 Xeon CPU.  I don't think that this system has the horsepower to run W7.  It might limp along with Vista, but XP is a better fit IMO.
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Author Comment

by:Need-a-Clue
ID: 40361744
EXPERTS...There comes a time ( this is it ) that things become TOO ##^#$ much. I am going to take this item and use it for target practice tomorrow ( Literally ) and the satisfaction it gives me probably will be intense. I do thank all that tried to assist me, but at this point I wish I had just gone out and bought a new computer to serve the purpose this one was to serve. Thanks again Experts. This time I give up.
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Author Comment

by:Need-a-Clue
ID: 40361745
Note: In Dell's wisdom or by accident, there is NOT a complete set of drivers for this computer on their site. Even the dell tech could not locate them
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