Can't boot from CD drive or HDD


Mar 30, 2012
Dell Desktop, Windows XP SP3 installed.

Computer was working ok. Started to slow down significantly. Taking longer and longer to boot up and shutdown.

Then, would no longer boot up from HDD - stuck in "Starting windows". Wouldn't go into safe mode either.

Changed BIOS to boot from CD first. Boot failure. Tried a couple XP install CD's, Linux boot disc. Nothing.

Swapped out CD drive, with another from another machine. Same deal. Disabled HDD, tried again. No joy.

Ideas? Thanks.

It would help if you said what model Dell
or if SATA or ATA interface used for drives

strange things can happen if 2 devices on same data cable (ATA), if one device fails or data cable is damaged

How did you disable hard disk ? (need to disconnect data cable and power cable)

With SATA are there any spare SATA ports on motherboard you could use ?
(may need to be enabled in BIOS)
One recent Intel chipset had limited life SATA II ports in first release
(motherboard should have been recalled, SATA III ports should still work)


Mike Barnes