From: Daave on
Comments inline. (And cross-posting to
microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware .)

Charlie wrote:
> This is about an older lap top with XP home.
> There were numerous errors showing up and a diagnostic routine
> implicated the HD.
> I removed the HD and set it up as an external usb drive on another
> machine. This way I was able to save the user's files to a flash
> drive. The plan was to clean the HD and reinstall the OS from the
> manufacturer's supplied CD.

If there were numerous errors and since this drive is from "an older
laptop," it's quite possible the drive is physically faulty, which means
a clean isntall (formatting the drive) won't help you.

> Then I set out to do this, recognizing that typically this action
> would first format the HD before the reinstall.
> Now a new problem showed up. With the CD in its drive I was ready to
> go. This is when stuff hit the proverbial fan. The CD drive came up,
> took a look at the CD and decided it couldn't read anything and shut
> down.

What exactly does this mean? That is, please list everything that

Did you configure the BIOS to boot off the CD? If so, what did you see
on the screen? Were there any messages like "press any key to boot off
the CD"? And if so, did you press any key?

> I had thought that if push came to shove, a new HD was less than $70
> and that was a consideration rather than a whole new PC.

Sometimes this is a good idea. Then again, with older PCs (especially
laptops), you never know whic part will go next.

> But if the
> CD won't read that will not work.

If you need to replace *both* the hard drive and the CD-ROM drive,
perhaps you better replace the entire laptop. :-)

> Question: is there enough of a driver in BIOS to run the CD drive or
> is this just a case of a dirty or otherwise malfunctioning drive?

Drivers are OS-specific. So if you are booting into the BIOS and off the
CD, drivers are irrelevant. Are you able to at least boot into the BIOS?

> I tried another CD that should have been bootable and the result was
> the same.

Either you're doing it incorrectly or there is a problem with the CD-ROM
drive (or a connection).

> This laptop does not have a floppy drive. ( I mention this because I
> still have an old floppy that had the Win98 recovery files on it.
> This would have at least installed CD drivers) It does have USB ports
> but I don't know if this machine will boot from a usb port.

If it's an old laptop, maybe not. If you provide the make and model,
perhaps someone who has experience with it will chime in. Or you could
post to a hardware newsgroup (just did that for you).

> Another question: If I were to take this a new HD and hang it on my
> own PC (which is running XPpro) and I put the XPhome CD into my CD
> drive, is there a way to install the OS from the original restore
> disk to a this proposed new HD which shows up on My Computer as a
> local HD with its own drive letter. That is instead of installing to
> the C: drive can I install to the F: drive?

Sort of. But you will need to use a third-party program to migrate it to
the old laptop and you may eventually need to perform a Repair Install.
And if the CD-ROM drive is bad, that will be difficult. :-)

> Suggestions please. The owner of this unhappy laptop is a retiree
> who only uses it for email and web browsing and is not enamored of
> the thought of springing for a new system.

Determine the hardware status of both the hard drive and CD-ROM drive
befor going any further because all your effort might wind up to be a
waste of time.