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I have found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I have a reasonably decent latop (2 ghz dual core, 1gb ram) with Windows XP Professional (No SP installed).

The OS boots up, but a lot of the hardware is not recognized.

The problem is:

  1. I can't boot from DVD - DVD drive is detected, the option is in BIOS - it tries to load from DVD, but I just get a repeating underscore, it doesn't load the DVD, then eventually it gives up and boots XP. (The DVD worked when booting another machine)

  2. I can't boot from USB - USB devices not recognised

  3. I can't connect to the internet - Network card not detected

How do you install a new OS / format a machine, if the CD drive is not recognized, and I have no way of putting drivers on the thing?

All I want to do is boot from a CD and format the PC.

Could I put the laptop harddrive in my laptop and install a fresh version of XP on it, then transfer it back to the broken one?

Could I put my harddrive in the broken one and somehow fix the drivers in the BIO?

share|improve this question

You haven't mentioned how old the box you are using is? If you have USB support for USB-boot devices in BIOS, that needs to be set and you could attach an external DVD drive or simply buy a new internal drive. Sounds like a bad optical drive to me.

You mention that: "I booted the machine I am typing this on with the CD in question. It tries, but fails." .. What tries and fails? If you cannot boot with CD then what do you mean by last quote? You booted off hard drive? When booting CD you should get a prompt right at end of POST (the text screen at boot time you see) to 'Press Enter to boot from CD" if you do not see this, then more than likely your optical drive is malfunctioning. You will not boot into windows directly using a CD. You can reinstall, or repair, or enter a command line repair mode. Nothing else. If you booted into the windows OS then you are not booting "from the CD".

"What can I do to fix it?"

Rewrite your post so it makes sense and add more details. We can go from there.

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@bshea thanks for your feedback, I have edited my question. – danixd Aug 27 '10 at 8:44
@danixd - Yeah - Did you try the disk on another machine to rule out bad DVD disk? If the disk isn't bad, then you (probably) have a malfunctioning drive. The only other option (aside from replacing drive) would be to boot off USB "drive". You have to enable this in BIOS. Is there any option under the BIOS to use USB boot devices/etc? (Try "drive boot order" and things like that) Some BIOS's let you hit ESC key and pick boot device. – bshea Sep 15 '10 at 23:09

Given that the CD drive can be seen the next obvious thing to check is the the CD is included in the the list of devices to boot from.

You'll need to go into the BIOS and check that.

Also check that the CD you've got is bootable by putting into another computer.

share|improve this answer
I booted the machine I am typing this on with the CD. When I click on device manager, or add hardware, nothing comes up. I can select boot from CD in the bios. It tries, but fails. – danixd Aug 26 '10 at 21:34
@danixd - sorry, out of ideas at the moment. – ChrisF Aug 26 '10 at 21:38
@ChrisF ok thanks anyway dude. – danixd Aug 26 '10 at 21:45
@danixd - is the CD you're trying to use actually bootable? Have you tried it in another machine, just in case? – DMA57361 Aug 27 '10 at 9:00
@DMA57361 yes, well it is a DVD and I booted a different machine from it last week. (Yes the machine in question has a DVD drive!) – danixd Aug 27 '10 at 9:53

If a BIOS that used to detect USB devices before booting is now failing, that is a hardware problem. If possible, get the laptop fixed under warranty. Otherwise ... well, maybe you can get a replacement motherboard on eBay?

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