cannot boot from cd to reinstall xp

July 8, 2011 at 20:01:37
Specs: Windows XP , pentium 4 2.73ghz/ 1gb of ram

Trying to reinstall windows xp, and i got it to boot from cd first, but i get a invalid boot .ini file, and it boots to windows. thank you very much for any help and im not very good with computers by the way.
edit: i also got 2 cd drives one and the original will not open but the other one does and is labled cd-rw drive (E:) and the original is cd drive (D:) if that changes anything

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#1
July 8, 2011 at 21:41:18

Tell us the make and model of brand name computer, or if you have a generic desktop computer, the make and model of the mboard.

If you have a SATA hard drive, not an IDE hard drive, there are additional things you need to be made aware of.

Were you having a problem with an existing Windows installation ?
If so, describe your problem(s).

"Trying to reinstall windows xp, and i got it to boot from cd first"

Did you want to run a Repair installation of Windows, or install Windows from scratch ?

Installing Windows from scratch will delete all the personal data you have added to the partition Windows is installed on, and is only the first step of many you will need to do.

If Windows is already on the hard drive but it's not working properly, you can try to run a Repair installation of Windows, which does NOT delete the personal data you have added to the partition Windows is installed on .
In order to have that choice, the Windows CD must be for the same version, Home or Pro, as that of the Windows installation.

To get the computer to boot from the Windows CD, the Boot Order or similar in the bios Setup of the mboard must be set so CD drive or similar is listed before Hard drive or similar - CD drive or similar does not necessarily need to be listed first, it just has to be before hard drive or similar. , Save bios settings if you changed that.

You DO NOT run the CD in Windows itself.

If that was set correctly,
- if the only hard drive has no operating system installed on it, the Windows CD will boot automatically
- if the hard drive already has an operating system on it, you see a line while booting "Press any key to boot from CD . " or similar - you must press a key while that line is on the screen to boot from the CD.

The Windows CD will load it's initial files for a while, then you'll see a screen where you can choose to Repair Windows or to Continue on to Setup. If you want to run a Repair installation of Windows, choose to Continue on to Settup, and you will be asked if you want to Repair an existing Windows installation later.

If your problem is the "invalid boot.ini" error when you attempt to boot normally, you can press R at that first screen, and try using the Recovery Console interface to run a command or a few of them and try to repair the problem, If you want to try that, we can supply more info. That takes the least time to try.
....

"i get a invalid boot .ini"

That's not a normal error message that you would get when you boot the computer from the Windows CD during the initial loading of the files .
If the drive has no operating system on it, the CD hasn't made boot.ini until the operating system has been loaded on the hard drive.
If the hard drive DOES have an operating system istalled on it, that's still not a normal message you would get when you boot the computer from the Windows CD during the initial loading of the files
.....

"i also got 2 cd drives one and the original will not open but the other one does and is labled cd-rw drive (E:) and the original is cd drive (D:) if that changes anything"

Does the led on the front of the drive that won't open light up when you press the button on the front of it ?
Can you hear the mechanism inside the drive doing something when you press the button ? Does the tray move a bit or not at all ?

"if that changes anything"

It might.

Some bios versions will only boot from a bootable disk in a drive if the disk is in the first optical drive the bios detects, or is set to detect. If that applies to your situation, if default drive letters assigned were not changed in Windows, the bios will probably attempt to boot from the drive that won't open, and when it finds no bootable disk, will attempt to boot from the next drive in the Boot Order list, probably the hard drive If the hard drive already has an operating system on it but it's not working properly, then that will attempt to load and that's what is generating the " invalid boot .ini " error message.
In that case, you will NOT see "Press any key to boot from CD" or similar while booting if the hard drive has an operating system on it.
In that case, you need to go into the bios Setup and find either
- a list of optical drives - the drive you want to boot a bootable optical disk from must be listed first, Save bios settings. Usually the models of the drives are listed
- or - less commonly - there is more than one optical drive listed in the Boot Order or similar list - the drive you want to boot a bootable optical disk from must be listed first, Save bios settings The models of the drives may be listed, or they may be listed generically, according to the order they are detected by the bios because of the way they are connected to the mboard, or the way they are jumpered on the back of the drrives if they're IDE drives.

Other bios versions wiil boot from a bootable disk in any optical drive a bootable optical disk is detected in. If only one bootable disk is inserted then it will boot from that one You WILL see "Press any key to boot from CD" or similar while booting if the hard drive has an operating system on it



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#2
July 8, 2011 at 23:11:05

its a dell 2400 dimension ,and its a desktop.i also dont know how to check that and what ive tryed keeps pointing to dimension 2400 dell. i believe it says IDE hard drive when i boot or do anything im not sure though. i am trying to install it from scratch. also i got the cd drive to run before the hard drive. and there is a os on the it but there is still no press any butten to boot from disk just "invalid boot .ini file." pressing r at the first screen did nothing. The disk drive does light up and moves a bit but the shuts off took it out and checked it nothing is broken and put it back in and worked for about 5 min the stopped again and there is only one optical drive listed in the boot sequence

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#3
July 9, 2011 at 06:52:30

You're not booting off the CD.

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#4
July 9, 2011 at 08:23:36

how do i boot from the cd cause i got the bios set to boot from the cd first is there another step?

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#5
July 9, 2011 at 09:34:37

1st of all, the CD must be bootable. Do you have a retail XP disc, a Dell XP disc, or a Recovery disc?

2nd, you must have the boot order correct with the CD/DVD drive listed before the HDD.

3rd, you must "Press any key to boot from CD...." when you see the prompt.

The fact that you're getting an error message about boot.ini means that you're not booting from the CD.


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#6
July 9, 2011 at 10:26:31

You haven't provided any new info since that in response 2.

Please answer the other questions I asked, make comments about what I said in response 1.
......

An Upgrade XP CD is probably not bootable.
A copy of a bootable XP CD is not bootable unless "disk at once" or similar was used to copy the original , because the *.img file that makes the CD bootable is NOT visible in Windows, even when you set your Folder Options - View settings to show all hidden and system files in Windows. If you copy only what Windows sees, the copy will not be bootable.
"Disk at once" or similar copies the entire contents of the CD, including the invisible to Windows *.img file.
...

If the CD is bootable..... .

- it should be found bootable on other computers when the bios is set to boot from a CD drive or similar before a hard drive.

You see "Press any key to boot from CD" or similar while booting ONLY if that is working AND if the bios finds a hard drive connected to the computer that has a 2000 or up operating system installed on it.

If the bios detects no hard drive that has a 2000 or up operating system installed on it, if that is working, the CD will automatically boot the computer and load it's initial files - you WILL NOT see "Press any key to boot from CD" or similar while booting.

If it isn't found to be bootable on your computer....

The laser lens may be "dirty".

Try using a laser lens cleaning CD in the drive. If you don't have one you SHOULD have one. Most places that sell CDs or DVDs sell them, and even some "dollar" stores have them for a buck or two.
....

If that doesn't help....

See the last part of response 1.

You probably need to change a setting in the bios Setup so that it attempts to boot from the CD in the drive you're calling E rather than the one that doesn't open you're calling D.

OR you could disconnect the data cable of drive that won't open you're calling D, but if it's an IDE drive and /or if the other optical drive is an IDE drive, you may need to change the jumper setting on the back of the optical drive that's still connected.
In that case, there would be only one optical drive the bios can detect a bootable optical disk in. .
....

If that doesn't help.....
sometimes if the optical drive is really old or if it has been used a lot, it doesn't have or it has lost the ability to detect a bootable disk.

You could

- replace the drive with a new one - they're not all that expensive, especially if you buy a "bulk" drive (just the drive in an anti-static bag, usually comes with a CD or DVD with a free version of burning software on it).

- if the computer has a conventional floppy drive, or if it doesn't but you can borrow one and a floppy data cable (most desktop mboards have the floppy data cable header), Microsoft has several downloads to make sets of 6 floppy disks that load the same initial files that are loaded when you are able to boot from the XP CD, for computers that can't boot the computer from a bootable optical disk .
You download the appropriate download, make the floppies, boot the computer from the first floppy disk, load all 6, then you can prepare the drive if you need to and run Setup from the XP CD.

("prepare the drive if you need to" = delete (a) partition(s) or make (a) new one(s) or format (an) existing partition(s) - any of those will delete ALL the data on the existing partition(s) that you mess with. If you want to try to get an existing Windows installation working, do NOT do any of those things ! See response 1 for more info. )


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#7
July 9, 2011 at 12:00:49

its a recovery disk the cd drive is listed before the hdd or any drive. and it will not give the the press any key to boot from disk at all ive restarted and looked about a dozen times. and i cannot find the cd drive that opens on the bios all it lists is the the one that doesn't open.

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#8
July 9, 2011 at 12:14:49

both of the cd drive are ide and they are old and got alot of use. but ill see about changing the jumper setting. and sorry about not replaying to your first message im new to this site

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#9
July 9, 2011 at 13:01:40

Try this:

http://support.dell.com/support/top...


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#10
July 9, 2011 at 13:51:26

You haven't said what is wrong with your present Windows installation, if that applies.
If that does apply, it is MUCH MORE WORK for you to install Windows from scratch or run the Recovery procedure and load the original software installation if that applies , than it is to try some things to try to fix what is wrong, because doing one of the former is only the first step of many time consuming steps, the latter retains the personal data you have added to the hard drive and takes as little as a few minutes to try, and trying a Repair installation of XP takes less than an hour.

In other words, it's very short sighted to do the former if you don't need to.
.....

See the last part of response 1.

Either you have a bios that will only boot from a bootable CD that's in the first optical drive the bios detects, or that the bios is set to detect, (or you don't and there's something else wrong).
Obviously, if the drive that does not open is the first one the bios is detecting, in that situation, if the bios behaves that way, it won't boot from a bootable disk if it's in the drive that does open.

If both optical drives were showing up in Windows there's probably nothing wrong with the way they are connected to the data cable(s) or the jumper settings on the back of the drives.

Most modern bioses list only one CD drive or similar (and only one hard drive or similar) in the Boot Order or similar settings.

When you have more than one optical drive, in most bioses, there is a list of optical drives in the bios, usually listed by their model.
The drive you want a bootable CD to be detected in should be listed first.
It may NEED to be listed first.

Similar applies when you have more than one hard drive, only in that case, if the bios detects more than one hard drive, the bios will NEVER try to boot from another hard drive if the first one it detects, or is set to detect first, is not bootable.


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#11
July 10, 2011 at 12:04:42

i think i got it to work what was srong with it is a bunch of drivers werent working but i downloaded an antivirus and put some recovery disks in and it works exept the sound but im still messing with that but it works better. i also still cant boot from a cd but i really dont need to anymore

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