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I replaced a failed hard drive, setup Windows XP from the SP3 CD and began updating it, but even though my Dell BIOS is set to boot from the SATA drive and I can F12 and manually select and boot from the SATA drive or the CD drive, I can't get the normal boot process to select the SATA drive. It goes straight to PXE network boot. F2 setup boot order is CD, SATA, then network.

diskmgmt.msc doesn't show anything unusual. I did a "fixboot" and "fixmbr" from the Recovery Console. Any ideas?

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Did you verify the jumpers are set correctly? –  CharlieRB Aug 23 '12 at 14:07

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If you can boot it manually thru the menu, then everything on the HD side is configured correctly (boot sector, windows config, etc). So the problem seems to be getting having the BIOS recognize the drive as bootable during its boot scan. It almost seems time related from your description. SATA drives have two jumper switches. One, the RPS - Reduced Power Spinup, seems like its worth investigating with the idea that the drive is has not fully been powered up and spinning fast enough, before the BIOS gives up on it as a bootable device. (The other SATA jumper, SSC controls radio frequency emissions.) Also - I assume that you built the drive directly on this machine with the windows install CD, instead of cloning it. A newly cloned drives can exhibit a similar problem.

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