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Can't access BIOS to reformat older Dell

Last response: in Motherboards
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July 4, 2011 2:23:29 AM

Hello, everyone.

I'm having an annoying problem trying to reinstall Windows on a friends' Dell Dimension 5150. It's running Windows XP Pro. I was asked to look at it because none of the USB ports were working. It appears that it is in fact the onboard ports. That's not a problem since I have a PCI USB card that I installed. The card works fine, but since it doesn't start recognizing any devices until Windows is just about started, I'm unable to access the boot menu so I can boot from the Windows XP CDROM. The computer does not have a PS/2 port, so I can't use a different keyboard. What I'd like to know is, can I force the PC to boot from the CDROM drive WITHOUT entering the BIOS? I have tried everything and have scoured the internet looking for information, but I have come across nothing useful. The BIOS is fully updated and so is the chipset. I'm at my wits end with this computer. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks in advance!!
a b V Motherboard
July 4, 2011 3:54:18 AM

That's difficult.

You could try disconnecting the hard drive - some systems will boot from CD if the hard drive is not found. Of course, that makes it hard to reformat the hard drive :) 

If you removed the hard drive, connected it to another machine, and reformatted it, then reconnected it to the troublesome machine, then it might boot from CD. Then again, it might be easier just to reformat the hard drive and install Windows on it on the other machine, THEN move it to the Dell, boot from the clean install, and continue, installing the necessary drivers, etc.
July 4, 2011 4:07:30 AM

I did try disconnecting the hard drive, but was unsuccessful. I was thinking about taking out the drive and putting it in an enclosure I have, but I'm leery of that. If I connect it to my laptop and reformat/reinstall Windows, will that affect my current installation of Windows 7? I really just want this fixed, but not at the cost of messing up my own PC.
!