Bizzare reformatting issues, Windows cannot find HDD?

Okay, I've been having the abslute strangest issues regarding a reformat, and have basicly run out of ideas.

My PC has been slowing down for a while, so I decided to do a reformat. Now, before this, I had my CD/DVD rom drive's power unplugged, because I didn't need it. At this point I plugged it back in, put the Windows (XP) CD inside, and changed the boot priority from HDD to CD to Cd to HDD. Ran windows, so far so good.

Here's where it got strange. Windows did not find a previous version of XP installed on my system (I have an upgrade disk.) Knowing this is crazy, I restarted, and didn't hit the key to boot from CD, so after that timed out, it booted from the HD, and I got an error Missing Or Corrupt Hal.dll.

Now I was a little worried, but thought it was odd that my Hardrive and picked just that moment to fail. Instead I unplugged my CD rom drive, and restarted. Windows booted up fine. Then I replugged my CD drive, and changed the boot priority to HDD-CD. Booted fine again. Then I changed it back to CD-HDD and the error occurred again.

So, it seems like for some reason, whenever it's set to boot for CD, it can't find my Hard drive, and windows. Maybe it's trying to boot windows from the CD? I'm not sure, and at this point, I have no idea.
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More about bizzare reformatting issues windows find
  1. Best answer
    are both HDD and CD on the same IDE ribbon cable? I'd peek in your BIOS, and see if you are they are detected correctly as master/slave (depending on your jumpers), or, if the are set to CS (cable select...)

    Is also possible that your CD ROM is semi-corrupting the IDE data port when connected via ribbon, but, not powered on.....
  2. I'll double check, but I don't believe they are. I have two Hard drives, a 120 gig main and 320 backup, as Primary master and slave. The CD rom drive is secondary master.

    I have to confess, I didn't actually KNOW the CD rom was unplugged until recently. I had just forgotten to plug it back the last time I assembled it, and I never use CDs so I never noticed for years. Is it possible the Hard drives and CD rom drive were somehow scrambled in the process? I have a feeling the CD rom USED to be the primary master, but I'm not sure.
  3. Best answer selected by nephrahim.
  4. Alright, managed to figure it out. I've been avoiding tinkering around because I don't have the cash to replace a part I shortcircuit by accident.

    The CD drive was fine, but I have 2 hard drives, and they were somehow set wrong (The one without the OS was set as the master.) I switched the jumpers and it seems to be fine.
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