Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Does my Win XP Home Edition support a bootable CD-ROM?

The answer is "yes", but that may not help you, depending on what you're attempting to do, and what computer you have.

It's not Windows you should be concerned about. It's your PC.

"What's more important is knowing whether your computer supports booting from CD-ROM."

Windows can certainly boot from a CD-ROM. In fact, that's pretty much what happens when you install Windows from a CD-ROM. You boot from the CD-ROM the setup program runs and it installs Windows.

What's more important is knowing whether your computer supports booting from CD-ROM. Most contemporary PC's almost certainly do, but older machines quite often don't include the support necessary - they'll only boot from a floppy, or from the hard disk.

Even if your computer does support booting from CD-ROM, some are not configured to enable that support by default.

The way to tell if you computer supports it, and to enable it if it does, is to boot into the BIOS setup for your computer. Exactly how that's done will vary from one computer to the next, but it's typically done by pressing one of the function keys at the beginning of the boot process, before Windows starts loading. Once in your BIOS setup, you can look for, and alter, boot options. That'll include which devices the computer will look to boot from, and it what order it checks. If "CD-ROM" is included, and it's looked to before the hard disk, then you should be good to go.

Creating a bootable CD-ROM is another story. Windows doesn't really include support for creating a CD-ROM that you can boot from. A popular set of tools for creating a bootable CD-ROM is called Bart PE, for "Bart's Preinstalled Environment". I'll warn you that it's not for the faint of heart - it's targeted at the more technical user.

Article C2443 - October 23, 2005 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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20 Comments
Joel Finch
April 8, 2006 1:20 PM

Hi, I have a Windows XP home edition cd and you know when you put it in the cd drive and after bios it should say 'press any key to boot cd.....' it does. this is a 2004 model laptop and i have set in bios for it to boot from cd. I am 100% sure its a file on the cd that is missing. Do you know what file or files are needed for the cd to boot after bios.

Rejin
October 9, 2006 10:13 AM

When i insert the microsoft xp cd and restart my computer to boot from it, i get to the boot order menu, and give the cd rom as the device to boot from, but it just doesnt boot from there!! instead, it boots from the hard drive, and starts loading the OS....mine is hp pavilion laptop...2006 model....plz help me..

Lewis
February 25, 2007 9:03 AM

When I switch on my laptop I'm instantly presented with the screen asking me to select Start Windows Normally, Safe Mode and Last Know Good Configuration. Whichever option I select, it then says "The file Windows\System\Config32\System is either corrupted or missing. Insert the Windows CD-ROM to attempt to repair this file."

OK, so I insert my Windows XP Pro CD-ROM and my laptop simply doesn't load it. I decide to go into BIOS settings like you said and change boot priority to CD-ROM > HDD > FDD > Lan. After re-booting I found this still did not load my CD-ROM. How am I supposed to fix my XP installation if I can't even boot from the CD-ROM?

Please help! Thanks.

Girish
March 5, 2007 12:52 AM

Hi,
I have a Windows XP home edition cd. I want to do clean installation for XP i.e. format the Hard Disc and erase all data before XP installation.
When I put it in the cd drive and after bios it says 'press any key to boot cd.....'. After that the screen just goes blank. I dont see any menu, nothing. I waited for long (20 min) expecting something will turn up, but in vain.
My system is capable of booting from CD. I have experimented with BIOS options so that it will boot from CD, but no luck.
Then I started the PC with existing OS (older version of Windows) and inserted XP home CD. I could install XP by over-writing existing OS. This is not clean install since during startup I get the message to choose from one of the two operating system even though old OS is defunct. Also I am not able to re-partition the disc due to this problem.
Could you please help.

Regards,

Josef Zammit
May 23, 2007 2:18 PM

Hello Sir,

I have the same problem as the person above who posted this post:

"When i insert the microsoft xp cd and restart my computer to boot from it, i get to the boot order menu, and give the cd rom as the device to boot from, but it just doesnt boot from there!! instead, it boots from the hard drive, and starts loading the OS....mine is hp pavilion laptop...2006 model....plz help me"

Josephzamm
May 24, 2007 12:04 AM

Dear Sir,


I insert my Windows XP Pro CD-ROM and my PC
simply doesn't load it. I decide to go into BIOS settings like you said and change boot priority to CD-ROM > HDD > FDD > Lan. After re-booting I found this still did not load my CD-ROM. How am I supposed to fix my XP installation if I can't even boot from the CD-ROM?
Can you please help me

Thanks
Jos.

Carlos
June 20, 2007 6:33 PM

Hello,

I'm having the same problem that the previous poster have described. I've changed the order the boot devices. How can I boot? Please help.

Thanks,

-Carlos

sumit
July 1, 2007 9:34 AM

sir,
i am not able to boot the the xp from cd ,as i have given the first priority to the cd >> hdd .Actully my laptop is showing fatal error in booting scrren. plz tell me what i have to do.

sandeep
August 31, 2007 6:34 AM

i want to reinstall my os i.e. winxp for which computer shuold boot from xpcd but it won't boot from cd even i have setup the bios boot device priority->cdrom>floppy>removable devices>hdd but it skips all that and boot from hdd everytime i restart my pc my computer is hcl desktop P-III pc

Phat
September 25, 2007 8:00 PM

Hello there Mr. Leo, I have a quick question I would like to ask. I have a HP laptop and I pressed every button on the laptop trying to make the laptop boot from the cd rom drive. Basically I would like to reformat the computer by having the laptop boot from the cd rom drive before it even enters window. I pressed F12, F11, F2, ESC. It takes me to different settings but none that would let me boot from the cd rom drive. Thanks for your help and any advice is greatly appreciated.

Louis Opara
October 13, 2007 4:24 AM

My computer after cycling, shows NTLDR missing and i have tried to insert my xp professiona installation cd to boot from it, gone to setup and changed the booting sequence to CD ROM but yet it does not boot from there but continues telling me NTLDR missing. Pls how can i solve this problem.

titi
November 22, 2007 1:24 PM

pls i need your help, my lPTOP IS DISPLying NTLDR is missing; i've tried to re-install my OS(windows XP) and then it says there is no hard drive available;

this problem started wen someone mistakently started a format of my hard disk but i got there just wen it was 5% formatted and stopped it !
but now its not booting up and i dont know what 2 do,

Leo A. Notenboom
November 24, 2007 8:38 AM

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Hash: SHA1

An aborted format shouldn't make the drive disappear. You may need use the
format and partition steps when booting from your Windows Setup CD to format
the hard drive when you install Windows. Unfortunately doing so will erase the
drive.

If that doesn't work, then I'd investigate BIOS settings to make sure that the
BIOS believes there's a drive, and perhaps investigate it as a coincidental
hardware problem with the drive itself.

Thanks,

Leo


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Kirk
November 27, 2007 12:44 AM

To everyone above having issues with the WinXP install disk skipping over the boot from CD option and going back to the HDD and loading the OS, try it with a wired keyboard. I've been having the same trouble tonight, and have noticed my wireless reciever is active during the BIOS boot screen, but then goes dead again until windows loads...I won't have a chance to try the solution until tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure it's it.

ferdy
February 12, 2008 2:35 AM

@Kirk: I would likely to know whether you succeed on the method. however, can you figure out other way to resolve particular issue for a laptop user? Or shoud they change they keyboard to wired keyboard too?
I'm one of these misfortune can't-boot-from-cd user. your response will be very useful for me, at least.
@M. Leo.: Merci beaucoup pour "le forum"

Lusako
April 25, 2008 7:33 AM

I think windows XP home doesn't concern with possibility of wether or not booting frm CD, It's a machine that support, However i spent 6hrs trying to install OS but i fail to boot from cd,even if i followed the above instruction but still i fail.

Richard W.
December 4, 2008 2:58 PM

Include this non-cd boot w/bios set-up to cd 1st boot priority in WinXP Media Ctr. O.S.
Programs such as windows mem.test mtinst.exe will
not boot from reboot or cold boot up.
Also any other app such as rescueBoot Up CDs.
with hard wired keyboard.
Does anyone have a work-around for XP MCE ?

Lad
January 26, 2010 12:36 PM

I don't see the answer for the people who commented here. I did change the boot set up so it goes to read the CD first, but XP still loads anyway. That is a big deal for a lot of people it seems.

Any resolution ?

GREG JACKSON
December 2, 2010 6:33 PM

I too have had this on-going problem. After a successful cleanwipe of the HDD any attemp to install OEM XP-SP2 home ed "missing MBR" is all I get. I have created active partitions on the HDD (via 2nd computer) and still "missing MBR" . Even tried a disk copy (iso) with various tools (and many partition tools). Also tried "Goddards 'Inside Dell's partitions' "pages on WIKIPEDIA No luck. I have been working this problem since July 2010.

I have decided to install LINUX. But for all others with this issue I two things for you to consider:

1) Purchase adapter for your HDD allowing you to remove it (if you have access to a 2nd computer). Overstock.com sells the for only $8.95.

2) Go to the HDD mfg site for tools to download (already in iso format- ready to burn to a disk copy). This will check the hardware integrity and HDD errors -- and fix them! This was the ONLY THING THAT WOULD RUN ON MY SYSTEM when everything else failed to get past BSOD. So what? Well I now know that the HDD is healthy and BIOS will boot from the DVD/CD drive.

This 5 month ordeal has ended for me --- unsolved (and I hate not resolving problems). I hope to gather all useful thing learned, boil them down to 1 page to pass along. For now, I need a break!

big big
December 18, 2010 11:38 PM

Window xp stop working. used 6 utility disc it is asking for operational disc would it be easier to buy window xp home edition or window 7 home edition?

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