Dell Laptop only attempts to boot from HD

Morning. So I have a Dell 1545. CI.dll error on bootup from HD. No option given to launch startup repair. Trying to load from DVD to either launch start up repair, run Hirens Boot CD, run SFC or as last resort reinstall from scratch but the catch is no matter what options I choose in Bios for bootup order, no dice, only attempts to boot from HD. DVD is recognized in BIOS btw.

Tried USB DVD, tried replacing internal DVD with another internal DVD player, tried Bios route for boot order and tried F12. Tried disabling HD in Bios. Tried removing HD and trying to get DVD or CD to bootup. Message I get when doing this is no bootable devices.

I have not tried pulling the CMOS battery. Would have to take laptop entirely apart. Any other ideas to get it to recognize DVD at boot?

As far as alternate means to fix the original CI.DLL is backed up...thinking about putting this laptop drive in a similar Dell laptop and running the repair from there, then moving drive back to this laptop but not sure if I'd just compound original issue.

Thoughts please?

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  1. I don't suppose you can boot to Safe Mode either via F8 menu?
    I saw the Dell forum suggestion to try booting without the HDD installed.
  2. I actually got ahold of the owner and found out I was fighting two issues. The board had already been repaired by Dell and the DVD drive had never worked since she got it back from Dell. In fact, they forgot to put the drive back in and she had to request to get her dvd drive mailed back to her.

    The software issue was resolved by me taking her HD and putting it in my similar modeled laptop, running a repair from my laptop and putting the HD back into hers.

    I never did find out though why I could not force her laptop to boot from USB external optical drive but as that board had already been refurbed I'm guessing it was a lingering effect.
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