Computer won't boot with CDROM attached

July 25, 2009 at 15:25:10
Specs: Windows XP
I recently installed XP on a friend's Dell. Installation goes perfectly, but when it reboots, if I have the CDROM attached, it freezes at the "Windows XP Professional" splash screen. It doesn't even show the progress bar.

I've tried a known good hard drive and a known good CDROM drive and the same thing happens.

Does anybody have a clue what's going on?

See More: Computer wont boot with CDROM attached

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 16:24:05
Not at this point. Does the hdd light show disk activity? Did the Dell originaly come with XP?

Assuming without a CD drive the machine boots just fine?


Report •

July 25, 2009 at 16:54:58
There is no hard drive activity once it's frozen. Yes, the machine originally came with XP. Media Center, I believe.

Sometimes the machine boots fine without the drive and others it freezes at various points (Welcome Screen...).

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 17:17:39
If the drives are IDE then you probably have conflicting jumper settings. Best to use Master and Slave settings if two drives are on the same cable. That way you can connect the boot (Master) to either connector.

Sometimes Dell computers don't like Master/Slave settings. In that case you must configure BOTH drives to CS (cable select). The drive on the end of the cable will be the Master in that case.

Reversing the cable can cause malfunctions. The Colored end (usually blue) goes to the board. Grey and Black are for the drives.

Report •

Related Solutions

July 25, 2009 at 17:20:33
I apologize for not stating so earlier, but the hard drive is SATA and the CDROM is IDE. I left them connected exactly as they were when I got it. I only swapped them out after this problem started.

Also, don't forget that I was able to install Windows just fine.

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 17:43:05
So if the CD drive is not connected the computer will boot to WinXP and run OK?

If so, go to Device Manager and see what is listed under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. Are there any yellow or red exclamation marks in Device Manager?

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 19:04:09
Sometimes. Just really slowly. It gets to the welcome screen and stalls. Then, several minutes later it will say loading your settings (or whatever). Same thing with safe mode.

the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers listing is as follows (with no exclamation points):

Primary IDE Channel
Primary IDE Channel
Secondary IDE Channel
Secondary IDE Channel
Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller

Under Other Devices I have the following (with all exclamation points):

Ethernet Controller
PCI Device
PCI Simple Communications Controller
SM Bus Controller
Universal Serial Bus (USB) Controller
Video Controller (VGA Compatible)

Obviously, I haven't loaded those drivers yet, but I'm not sure if any of them are causing this problem.

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 19:11:02
Well, I deleted the duplicates and plugged in the drive and it actually got past the Splash screen. It's freezing on a black screen with the mouse arrow now, though.

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 19:19:11
It finally loaded. This is the first time I've been able to get it to do that with the CDROM plugged in. However, all of the duplicate drivers are back in the Device Manager.

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 19:36:09
I deleted the duplicates again and this time it didn't get past the splash screen. What the hell?

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 21:50:36
Do you have a setting called AHCI enabled for your hard drive in the BIOS?

Report •

July 26, 2009 at 10:20:02
No AHCI setting.

Report •

July 26, 2009 at 10:39:30
Did you provide and install SATA controller drivers when installing WinXP on the SATA drive?

Your Device Manager controller list doesn't have any type of SATA controllers listed.

At this time I suggest that you install ALL the XPdrivers for that Dell model.

Is this a downgrade from Vista?

Go to the link below and enter the Dell service tag number where requested. Download All the drivers and the manual for that model. Then of course, install them and reboot.

Report •

July 31, 2009 at 17:14:39
Sorry about the delay, but I was out of town for the week.

I installed all of the drivers it came with and it boots with the CDROM attached now, but it takes 5-10 minutes to do so.

Report •

Ask Question