cannot reinstall windows xp from cd on dell e520 cpu.

This 7 year old machine has been mothballed for over a year, but now i want to use it.

I logged in as mydomain\rberke but I ran into some minor issues, so i used msconfig to set safeboot and restarted.

Oh crap -- I forgot the administrator password so I can not log in !!!!  (Next time I will try to remember to use safeboot with networking!!!)

I tried every possible password I might have used including blank password. Tried booting to last know good configuration. I tried booting to safe mode with networking.  Unfortunately, the msconfig setting takes priority and overrides all those tries.

I then tried booting to an xp pro service pack 2 CD hoping that the recovery console and BCEDIT might save me.

I cannot get it to boot from the cd. I think the cd drive might be misconfigured.

When i hit f12 during boot I get to the boot menu and tab down to select "onboard cd" the computer freezes.

I then retried using the actual dell re-installation disk that came with computer. still no luck.
I also tried setting bios to only boot from the onboard cd, but the boot hangs when it tries the cd.

I suspect the cd drive may not be configured correctly, but I can't see any obvious bios settings to tweak.
 I am willing to take the hard drive out and mount it into a USB case if needed.  But, I am not willing to replace the cd drive
The computer is not worth a lot of work, but I hope somebody has some suggestions.
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RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
My first step was to replace CD rom drive with a new one.
you can easily reset the password with nordahls password utility

but the problem is you need the cd drive to boot from the cd

what pc is this?  model or motherboard plse?

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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
Note Ramin's comment above.

Try another CD drive.  Also check the connections between the drive and the motherboard in case they have come loose.

@nobus.  It is a Dell E520.
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rberkeConsultantAuthor Commented:
its a dell e520. I ran hardware tests, but there does not appear to be anything to test the CD.

 I wonder if I can boot from USB like a flash drive?  I tried using an 8gig win 10 upgrade flash drive but CPU was totally non functional with stick in front panel, and stick was ignored when the back panel.
Perhaps a smaller USB stick would work?

I also have some scrap dell computers, and I suppose I could try swapping in the CD.
I also have an old floppy drive that I could put in (there is an empty slot that could take it.

a deskto p- then the drive can be changed for under 20$
you can also test with an external drive !
>>  I wonder if I can boot from USB like a flash drive?   <<  that must be possible
>>  CPU was totally non functional with stick in front panel, and stick was ignored when the back panel.   <<  test if you can boot from the stick on another system - it may not be functional
how did you make it?
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
Try swapping in another CDROM drive.
note that it can just be a bad contact in the cables also
try swapping cables for data and power to test
here a test for the cd :
rberkeConsultantAuthor Commented:
I'll put in a cd and floppy drive tomorrow and post back the results.

rberkeConsultantAuthor Commented:
I made the win 10 stick last year and it worked fine for upgrading 5 Windows 7 computers to windows 10.  But, I am pretty sure that 8gig sticks are too big for a 7 year old bios to handle.
no - not at all
but is the stick an USB3 model?  these are unknown in XP, and older bios models
rberkeConsultantAuthor Commented:
could not boot the computer even with a new CD.

but, I stuck the harddrive into another computer and used a Linux based password zapper to blank the password.
Returned the harddrive to the original cpu and now all is well.

I will give points as best I can.
tx for feedback, and glad its running
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