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Can't boot from CD or USB anymore

This is a discussion on Can't boot from CD or USB anymore within the Motherboards, Bios|UEFI & CPU forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hello :), I have a Dell Studio 1640 XPS Laptop that was pre-loaded with Win7 64 bit. Dual-core processor 2.8GB.


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Old 07-04-2011, 01:00 PM   #1
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OS: dual boot win7 and ubuntu linux 11.04


Hello :),

I have a Dell Studio 1640 XPS Laptop that was pre-loaded with Win7 64 bit. Dual-core processor 2.8GB. My BIOS is Phoenix with A15 installed (that's the latest). I'm not sure what other specs are needed to answer, but will answer any questions that come up.
I installed Ubuntu as a test with WUBI which doesn't change the partition table, but installs Linux under Windows (That's what I did at first) After I decided that I liked it enough I decided to install it on an external USB drive. At first it worked great and I ran under Linux for about three weeks. Then one morning, after I had to boot to Windows for something I could not boot to my USB HDD (it's a generic 75GB in an enclosure). When I tried to boot to the Ubuntu Live CD it would just bypass it and boot to windows. The same with the USB HDD, it just bypassed it on boot up and loaded windows. My boot order is 1) CD 2) USB Storage 3) USB Removable 4) HDD 5) Network.
In the BIOS Boot tab, when I try to set CD or USB as enabled I only get an exclamation mark. Now, under USB I get Exclamation mark and a '+' sign. Next to HDD is only a '+' sign so that is how it should look.
When I do boot into windows, the CD/DVD R/W and USB ports are all fine. I can plug USB drives or thumb drives and read/write to them just fine. The Device manager shows no issues.
Today I am finally able to run my Linux USB external by installing Ubuntu from the live CD again and installing it while I was in Windows. GRUB recognizes the USB drive and boots to that system just fine. So I'm happy about that. My overall concern is that if this is a problem of deterioration then when/if the BIOS will not recognize my internal HDD I have a fold-up brick.
I called Dell Customer service and could not get help because my Laptop isn't under warranty anymore. The service rep did say it sounds like a software issue. That seems unlikely to me, but I restored the system to factory default after a complete format and flashed my BIOS with the same, latest version. Nothing improved.
I hope I gave enough of the right information. This is driving me crazy because there is nothing wrong with the system. I have read about resetting the CMOS but don't know how to do that and I haven't figured out to do any more than remove the back cover to remove the HDD.
Any help that anyone can give would be greatly appreciated. I don't want this to become a brick, I need it.
Thanks all :)

Is there a way to edit a post? I couldn't find an edit link.
Anyway, solved it a little more now. Apparently reinstalling Linux under windows as dual boot and using GRUB fixed the problem. However, I'm not sure why.
What I did after I determined that I would install on an external HDD was delete the folder. Then I tried to uninstall WUBI through windows control panel. Tried because it was missing something and uninstalled incorrectly. Apparently, formatting the internal HD and reinstalling Grub fixed what the issue was. I still can't boot to CD though. I just get an exclamation mark next to the CD entry in BIOS.
I'm so confused...
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:36 AM   #2
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Are you certain the optical drive is good/working properly?
Does the drive show in the Bios/Device manager?
Have you tried booting from a different disc?



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Old 07-05-2011, 08:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyree View Post
Are you certain the optical drive is good/working properly?
Does the drive show in the Bios/Device manager?
Have you tried booting from a different disc?
Yes, it's working properly to read data, and record to. Either CD or DVD, I tested both media. The drive does show in the BIOS/Device manager, but it does not have the '+' sign next to it when selected, only an exclamation mark. The device manager under Windows control panel displays it too and says it is working properly. All of the troubleshooting diags bundled with the system show it working fine too.
I tried other disks too. I have the windows repair disk that came with the system. It was pristine since I unsealed it on Sunday. The Ubuntu Live CD (which I burned) does boot on another system. Plus I have some "Oh Sh**" applications on bootable disks. None will boot this Dell XPS.
I think the symbols used by Phoenix BIOS v A15 for boot order are '+' for there is a bootable medium installed and ready and exclamation mark '!' if the drive is working but no bootable media recognized. I check the BIOS boot order with a bootable CD installed and ejected and in both conditions only the '!' is displayed.
Also, if I remove the internal HDD the status of the CD/DVD unit stays the same.
I've reformatted the hard drive since my first post and that didn't fix anything. I've tried to repair the MBR (with BCD) but that didn't do anything either. The USB only became bootable, again, after I reinstalled Ubuntu and Grub. I think that when I improperly uninstalled Ubuntu the first time is the cause of my problems. However, knowing that still doesn't help me fix anything. I did think that when I could finally boot to USB again that the CD/DVD would be fixed too, but it wasn't.

Thank you, I hope you or someone has some clearer idea now. I'm at a complete loss.

I just ran across this thread: here, explaining how to repair the MBR and using "MbrFix" and I was wondering if this is something I may need to try to get the CD/DVD bootable? I have no problems booting to Win7 or to Ubuntu through USB anymore so I'm not sure if the MBR is the problem here....
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:25 PM   #4
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Is the optical drive set as "Frst Boot Device" in the Bios?
Try uninstalling the optical drive in Device manager and Windows will reinstall on boot.



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Old 07-06-2011, 05:06 AM   #5
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The CD device is first in the list with an exclamation mark. Why do you use quotes when you say set as "First Boot Device"? Is there an option to choose the CD as first device other than the boot priority list tab? I haven't seen an option like that anywhere.
As for removing the CD in Device Manager I will do that when I replace the internal HDD later today. I haven't tried to do that but it sounds like a reasonable action. I wish I thought of doing that first :).
Thank you, I'll post here if it worked.
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:51 AM   #6
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uninstalling the CD/DVD R/W in device manager did not fix the problem. I rebooted back into Win7 and the unit was re-installed and re-booting after that still skipped the CD/DVD. :(
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