Can't boot from CD-Drive Toshiba XM-1702B - LED light flashes orange continuously - (Inspiron 3200)

Discussion in 'Dell' started by jovunik, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. jovunik

    jovunik Guest

    Hello all, I know this is going to be quite long, but I really am
    stuck, and would truly appreciate any kind of help please.

    Until recently, my CD-Drive worked normally. Then I decided my
    Inspiron 3200 laptop needed to be refreshed so I chose to put on
    Windows 2000. I reformatted and partitioned the hard-drive using a
    bootable floppy using fdisk and the format commands. At this point,
    the laptop was now without any OS. Switching the internal drive bay
    from the floppy-drive to the Toshiba XM-1702B CD-Drive (which came
    with laptop originally), I restarted the laptop, inserted the Windows
    2000 CD, and went into the BIOS to change the boot sequence. I also
    noted that the CD-drive was detected within the BIOS (like usual), and
    restarted the laptop again.

    Upon reboot, it just came up with the message "Invalid system disk,
    Replace the disk, and then press any key". This message of course
    comes up because there is no OS on the drive. I thought to myself, why
    does it skip over the CD-drive and not boot from the Windows 2000 CD?

    Well, I eliminated the usual suspects. I rechecked the BIOS, the boot
    sequence was being saved, and the CD-Drive was listed first. The
    CD-Drive was being detected on startup and in the BIOS. I ensured that
    the CD was in fact bootable. The system was able to boot using the
    floppy drive with a bootable diskette, but I can only have one
    internal drive connected at one particular time (i.e. either the
    CD-Drive or the Floppy-drive, but not both). I also upgraded the BIOS
    from A10 to A11 from Dell's website. Nothing helped. It just wasn't
    booting from the CD-Drive, skips it or doesn't recognize it, for
    whatever reason.

    It did work before I started this. Instead, the drive just sits there
    with its LED light continuously flashing orange, as long as the laptop
    is powered up. Strange, I never noticed this behavior before with the
    LED light. What does that constant flashing actually mean? A point to
    note, it flashes and continues to do so as soon as the laptop is
    powered up, with or without a CD in the drive. It also appears that
    the CD never spins when inside. I do not have another drive to test
    this with to eliminate the possibility that there is something wrong
    with the CD-Drive, (but I highly doubt this as it worked before).

    Then I thought, I can connect the floppy externally while leaving the
    CD-Drive within the internal bay, boot from a floppy that provides
    CD-Drive support, and run the setup of win2k from there. Great plan I
    thought! So, the next steps I took was to connect the floppy-drive
    EXTERNALLY using the cable provided by DELL for connecting it
    externally (a parallel cable, similar to a printer cable). However,
    the BIOS and system on boot-up failed to see or recognize the floppy
    connected in this way. Instead, it booted up to the same Invalid
    system disk message. Another dead-end? How do I make the system see it
    or boot from it? In a BIOS setting? I played around with it, but to no

    Could it be that because there is no OS currently on the hard-drive,
    that a connection through a parallel port is undetectable? Could this
    also be why the CD-Drive in the internal bay is not initially working
    (no OS)? Consequently, I went to a store to get an external CD/floppy
    drive that can connect externally through USB. But, I was told by the
    store tech guy that with no OS, you don't have USB support, you need
    Windows98 or higher. My options were getting smaller.

    As a last resort, I tried another floppy-drive (from a different
    laptop) connected externally through the parallel port, again no luck!
    So what do I don now, I need to get an OS on this, this is frustrating
    beyond belief. How do I do it?

    That's the background, I realize it's long but I hope someone has read
    this far. Now, here are my questions, any help is much appreciated:

    1. What does the orange LED light on the CD-Drive continuously
    flashing mean?

    2. Can I create such a floppy that can boot using the floppy-drive
    internally, and then have some process to write to the blank
    hard-drive a bootable sequence program, that enables CD support? This
    way, I can boot to the hard-drive and then run the setup from CD. Is
    this at all possible?

    3. Does not having an OS on a system not allow support for CD-Drives
    to be bootable? So, even if they are detected within BIOS, because
    there is no OS, it just cannot be booted from? Sounds weird to me,
    just a theory. Maybe laptops or my laptop in particular (Inspiron 3200
    with a Toshiba XM-1702B CD-Drive)?

    4. Why does the system or BIOS not detect the floppy when it is
    connected externally via the Parallel port cables? Same deal as
    question 3, no OS, no support?

    Agh! What do I do, please help me. I know it's been lengthy, but I
    needed to let y'all know how far I've come along and the solutions
    I've already tried, just to avoid any answers I've already attempted
    myself. Thanks in advance.

    jovunik, Mar 1, 2004
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  2. jovunik

    Tom Scales Guest

    Well, something's wrong, which I can't easily diagnose without the system in
    front of me.

    So, here's the work around.

    Go to

    Download the Win98SE boot disk and make the required floppy.

    Boot to that floppy.

    Issue the following command:

    SYS C:

    that installs the bootable 98SE kernal on the harddrive.

    Copy the Autoexec.bat and Config.sys to the hard drive.

    Copy all the other files to the C:\DOS directory.

    Make the appropriate changes in the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat to point to
    C:\dos rather than a:

    Shut down the machine, put the CD drive in and reboot. It should boot to a
    C: prompt and have a letter accessible CD drive (likely Q: or D:).

    Change to the drive and navigate to the Windows 2000 setup directory and run
    the setup program from there.

    By the way, not all W2K CDs were bootable.

    Tom Scales, Mar 1, 2004
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  3. from a working computer, browse your win2k cd and look for the 'makeboot'
    folder... there is a utility there that will create a set of four bootable
    win2k floppy disks that will in turn reconize your cd rom and allow you to
    install win2k.
    Christopher Muto, Mar 2, 2004
  4. jovunik

    jovunik Guest

    Thanks Tom for your reponse, much appreciated. Following exactly what
    you suggested, I've SYSed the hard-drive, copied over neccesary files
    from the floppy, along with CD-Drive drivers, etc. After making the
    neccessary adjustments, the laptop is booting from the harddrive. It
    detects the CD-Drive, installs the drivers for the Toshiba XM-1702B.
    So far so good,

    ....but, after having navigated to the D:\ (drive letter assigned to
    CD-ROM), I typed dir to list the directory of any CD, but the reponse
    I got was:

    Not ready reading drive D
    Abort, Retry, Fail?

    The Orange LED light on the drive still blinking away non-stop. This
    is leading me to think that there coould actually be something wrong
    with the drive.

    Any other thoughts ?
    jovunik, Mar 3, 2004
  5. jovunik

    Tom Scales Guest


    1) The CD is bad
    2) The Drive is bad

    I'd try another CD and rule out number 1.

    Tom Scales, Mar 3, 2004
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