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Can't boot; restore disc won't work

Hi everyone, I'm resuscitating a T3092 emachine for a kickaround system (practice networking, play old games, etc). Problem is that I can't get an OS installed on it because the disc I need won't work, and the discs that DO work I can't use:

- tried booting from my complete Windows 7 disc just for testing purposes, and it Will boot, but can't install b/c this system doesn't support 64-bit software.

- Recovery disc for my VAIO notebook will boot, but again won't work on the emachine b/c it wants to install above mentioned 64-bit windows 7

- my full windows XP CD (Not a recovery disk for a system, but a full retail disc of XP w/ SP1) will not boot at all.

- the emachine's own recovery disc is no help because even though it will boot and will go through the entire system restore-to-factory-condition process, when it restarts afterwards and I take the disc out I get a "disk read error" :??:

- ubuntu 10.04 disk will boot and go through complete install procedure without a hitch. On restart, though, I get a "disk boot failure, insert system disk and press enter" message.

There is no floppy drive, so can't try a floppy boot disk. The HD I am using (only on plugged in, on CS) is a good HD and works fine in my IDE-to-USB enclosure. There are two optical drives--- a DVD-ROM, and a DVD burner, both on CS. They both show up in BIOS, but I'm not sure if the DVD-ROM reads discs or not.
I tried switching jumpers to HD as master and each, then both opticals as slave; cleared CMOS by shorting the jumper, removing battery (on a sidenote, I thought the computer wasn't supposed to be able to power on when plugged back in with the CMOS jumper switched? mine did :??: ); reformatted HD by plugging into the notebook via USB . . . none of these things have worked.

I've never had this happen to me with a computer before, and can't seem to find anything relevant on Google. Any idea what this means?

Thanks
7 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about boot restore disc work
  1. Oh CS is Cable Select.... funny how you forget that old tech when you don't use it.

    So this is all IDE. Could be a cable issue, or a board issue. Or, it could be an incompatibility with the HD and I/O... is this the original HD?

    You could try running some of the HD tools from the UBCD:
    http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
  2. yeah took me a while to remember some of it too o_O

    Yes, all IDE. Hmm, I don't have any extra ribbon cables to try right now; will have to get a hold of some. The mobo is new, just replaced it over the weekend, same model as the original one (which works for the most part, minus the blown out onboard video). The HD is not original (original one died, but it was a Hitachi anyway so can't say I'm too mournful over it).

    I will take a look at that UBCD--- I've heard of it in the past, but never had occasion to use it . . . I guess this would be a good time, huh?

    Thanks for the suggestions-
  3. It seems to me that the reason you get the "disk boot failure, insert system disk and press enter” message is because your hard disk is not selected as being a boot disk in your BIOS.
  4. Best answer
    pjmelect said:
    It seems to me that the reason you get the "disk boot failure, insert system disk and press enter” message is because your hard disk is not selected as being a boot disk in your BIOS.

    I agree, the hard disk is not being recognised.
    Can you check your BIOS to see if it is showing up there. otherwise a possible cable fault.
    JB
  5. pastit said:
    I agree, the hard disk is not being recognised.
    Can you check your BIOS to see if it is showing up there. otherwise a possible cable fault.
    JB


    Yes, it is recognized by BIOS, and the auto-detect pulls all the correct info on it. I tried changing the boot order, but none of the changes made any difference.

    I am trying the UBCD idea mentioned in another post; at least that one has booted up the system, but we'll see if the tools themselves are of any help . . .

    Thanks for all the input so far!
  6. Go figure! I swapped the IDE cables, said a few cantations, and made a CD copy of the original XP CD, and it all worked! Still don't get why the XP CD wouldn't run from the start, but I won't question it :)

    Thanks for everyone's help! Another case closed in my files . . .
  7. Best answer selected by lotus1922.
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