Boot partition not recognized

Dell ?
February 6, 2009 at 15:33:41
Specs: Windows XP, ?
I put a new cd drive and Wireless internet card in my computer and it wouldn't turn on it just had an orange light so I unplugged it and removed the new stuff and put the old cd drive back in and now it says no boot device found. When I go into the bios the hard drive and cd drive and floppy drive are all recognized but are not available to select in the boot sequence menue. So it seems that the Boot partition of the hard drive is not being recognized. How can I fix this or what might have caused it?

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February 6, 2009 at 15:48:28
You may have the jumper or the cabling set wrong on the CD drive.

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February 6, 2009 at 15:59:29
I have checked all cables. I have even tryed turning it on with no cd drive hooked and still it recognizes the hard drive but it won't let me select it in the Boot sequence. In fact when I open the boot sequence menue there is nothing to select it just says "Unavailable(Not Installed)" for all three options.

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February 6, 2009 at 16:14:43
Did you change the boot order when you installed the new hardware? If not, then there may not be anything wrong with those settings.

Where do you see the hard drive? In the start up screens?

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February 6, 2009 at 17:07:32
No I saw the hard drive on the bios setup screen. In primary drive 0 it says "hard drive". it shows my cd drive and my floppy drive also but when I go to boot sequence it doesn't show any of them. And when I origanaly put the new cd drive in I didn't change any settings it just didn't work thats why I went back to the old one.

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February 6, 2009 at 18:54:50
If the original drives are IDE, and you didn't change their jumpers
- the old CD drive should work fine if you plugged it back in where it was before - the connection on some drive may be loose, or you may have damaged the data cable, or the data cable may not be against it's connections on the connector properly.
- the data cable connection to the hard drive may now be loose, or you may have damaged the data cable, or the data cable may not be against it's connections on the connector properly.

If the CD drives you talk of and the hard drive are IDE....

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittant, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

If any drive is SATA......

Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

On mboards that have SATA, often you can connect a drive to only SOME of the SATA sockets on the mboard and be able to boot from the drive - if so, the sockets may be the same color, or two different colors. See your owner's or user's manual.


"when I origanaly put the new cd drive in I didn't change any settings it just didn't work thats why I went back to the old one."

If it's an IDE drive, new drives are usually jumpered either cable select or master initially. Either of those is fine, IF the CD drive is the only drive on the data cable - if it's jumpered cable select, it should be on the END connector on a 3 connector data cable.
If there is another drive on the same data cable, you must determine whether the other drive on the same cable is using master/slave jumpering or cable select jumpering. You don't mix the two types of jumpering - both must set to cable select, or one uses master, the other slave.
In any case, if the old CD drive was on a data cable that has another drive connected to it, if you jumper the new drive the same way as the old CD drive, it should work fine.

Since you have not stated which model you have - you can look that up on the Dell site if it isn't printed on a label on the outside of the case somewhere - I can only assume your mboard is capable of supporting UDMA66 or greater hard drive or optical drive speeds - if it does, it supports using 80 wire IDE data cables.

If the new "CD" drive is IDE and a DVD combo drive (reads and burns both CDs and DVDs) that is capable of DVD -R or DVD +R 16X or greater, it must be connected to an 80 wire data cable, not a 40 wire one, in order for it to work properly. It will still work if connected to a 40 wire data cable, but it will likely generate data errors at the higher speeds it is capable of.

Other than them having 80 wires
- an 80 wire data cable has a blue connector on one end - that end MUST go to the mboard IDE header.
- the other two connectors on a 3 connector 80 wire cable are often two other colors other than black or blue, but sometimes they are both black, or both are some other color.
- one of the pin holes in all the connectors is often blocked so the connector cannot be installed backwards on the drive or the mboard
- if no pin holes are blocked, the drive can sometimes be connected either way - one way is correct, the other way will not work.

- some data cable connectors have a rectangular projection on one side that fits into a slot in the plastic shroud around the pins on the drive or the mboard socket - those can only be installed one way - but older cables often do not have that projection on the connectors.
- If you can plug them in either way, the stripe on one side of the data cable should be next to the power connector on the hard and optical (CD or DVD) drive, and on the pin 1 end of the mboard header, which is often marked on the mboard with a 1, an arrowhead, or a V; or, both ends can be connected opposite to that; if the connector on one end is on one way, the connector on the other end is on the other way, the drive cannot work.

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February 6, 2009 at 21:55:09
What happens if you turn it on and don't try to fiddle with the boot order? You must get some kind of error message.

Go into cmos/bios setup and make sure both IDE ports are enabled.

Make sure the IDE cables are tightly connected to both the drives and motherboard connections.

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February 8, 2009 at 06:52:10
If I just turn it on and don't mess with anything it goes to the dell screen with the little progress bar on the bottom. As soon as the progress bar fills up the screen goes blank and then it says "No Boot Device found, Press F1 to retry or F2 for setup"
I have tryed hooking up a different hard drive to it and it did the same thing so I am starting to think it is a problem with the bios but I am unsure on how to reinstall the bios.

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February 8, 2009 at 11:55:34
Did you check or try the stuff in response 5?

It would help a lot if you could find out which Dell model you have and tell us what it is.
You can look that up your model on the Dell site if it isn't printed on a label on the outside of the case somewhere - you use the number on the service tag label.
If you're not sure where the service tag and number is, the Dell site shows you possible locations, or the number might be in the bios Setup.
On a Dell desktop, Dimension 3000, made about 2004, I have at the moment, the service tag number is also stated at the top on the bios Setup pages, and so is the Dimension 3000 model it corresponds to.


Sometimes when you change which drives you have installed, the bios changes settings automatically. In your case you probably didn't have the new CD drive jumpered or otherwise connected properly, so when the bios did not find the new CD drive, it changed some setting(s).

"When I go into the bios the hard drive and cd drive and floppy drive are all recognized but are not available to select in the boot sequence menue."

You may not be interpreting what you are seeing correctly.

Are you sure you're using the right keyboard keys? See the bottom of the screen in the bios Setup for which keys do what - a mouse does not work in many bioses.

On the Dell desktop I have at the moment, it has only IDE drive connections.

I can only assume what I see in the bios for the Dell I have is the same or similar to what you see, until I know which Dell model you have.

In that bios, you change the setting by pressing space or + or -
For some settings space does one thing, + and - do another.

In the bios Setup it has...

Drive configuration - ALL of the listings there that you have a drive connected to, must NOT be OFF. If you're not sure what's connected to where, set it to AUTO.
If I have set one to Auto and there's no drive connected to that selection, or it is not being detected, there will be a short delay while booting and a message saying something like "drive at xxxxx not detected", or similar, but I can press a key to continue.
In that bios, if the bios actually detects a drive, when the drive type is highlighted, when you press Space, it shows the model number of the drive, IF AND ONLY IF you have selected the right type of drive, or Auto.
If it DOES NOT show the model number, either you have the type set wrong (e.g. CD drive when it's a hard drive), or there is no drive of that type or no drive at all connectecd to that IDE connection, or there is something wrong with the data cable connection or the way you have the drive jumpered, or the drive is dead or has no power connected to it.

NOTE: In some bioses, you may not see an indication a drive is detected when you change a setting, until AFTER you SAVE bios settings, then go into the bios Setup again.

Hard-Disk Drive Sequence
- in that bios it's set to System Boot Devices, the default. It can be set to USB device, if one is plugged in and it's bootable.
That is NOT where you set the boot order!

Boot Sequence - that is where you set the boot order.
In most bioses you have drive types listed where you set the boot order even if you do NOT have one installed, and even if the bios is NOT detecting a drive!
In that bios there MUST be a checkmark on the left beside the devices you want to be recognized while booting!
In that bios you press Space to toggle the checkmark on/off.
In that bios you press + or - to move a highlighted listed drive type up or down in the list.

If you have a floppy drive, the all purpose way to set the boot order for most people is floppy drive, CD drive, hard drive - if you can set it that way you usually don't need to change it again, unless you want to boot from a USB drive or a network drive first instead, and even then sometimes you set that somewhere else.
(In that bios you use the setting in Hard-Disk Drive Sequence to boot from a USB device.)

In all the bioses I've tried it in, if the floppy drive is listed after the CD drive, a bootable floppy is not recognized while booting.

A CD drive DOES NOT have to be listed first in the boot order in order for you to be able to boot from a bootable CD (or DVD) - it just has to be listed and be listed before any hard drive (or SCSI, if you have a hard drive controller card installed in a slot and you boot from a drive connected to it).

If you have more than one hard drive, the bios may only attempt to boot from the first one it detects, whether it is actually bootable or not. If the other hard drive is not bootable, and the bios detects it first, the bios will NOT find an operating system, if you don't have anything else bootable at the time. If the bios is the type that only attempts to boot from the first hard drive it detects, it will NOT try to boot from any other hard drives if the first one it detects is not bootable.
In that case there is often a separate list of hard drives, often near the boot order settings - the hard drive you want to boot from must be first in the separate list - or - sometimes more than one hard drive is listed in the boot order settings if you have more than one - the hard drive you want to boot from must be first in the list. The drives may be listed by their model numbers, or as hdd0, hdd1, or similar.

If you make changes to bios settings you want to retain, you must SAVE those settings.

In that bios, when I press Esc (I may need to press it more than once) the default is Save Changes and Exit.
That varies - make sure the one that that saves changes is selected.
Then I press Enter to accept the choice (other keys may work too).

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