XP not booting up

  linsxxx 17:33 02 Apr 08
Locked

Hello,
I'm asking this for my FIL who is even more computer illiterate than I am! I have no idea what is going on here so would appreciate some help :-)

When he switched his computer on the other day it said "Disk Read Error" and told him to press Ctrl Alt Del to reboot. This he did repeatedly and nothing happened.

I don't really know a lot about this but googled it and thought to try booting it up from the restore disk that came with his PC. I put the disk in (1 of 2) and tried restarting. This time it comes up with the following screen:

"System Restore Menu
1 Restore Windows XP (could be reinstall - I didn't write it down exactly)
2 Boot to command prompt from CD-Rom"

If I press 1 it wants to reinstall XP and write over everything on his hard-drive which I want to avoid if poss because there's stuff he'd like to try and save if he can.

If I press 2 I get:

a:\>

Which to be honest means nothing to me! I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be typing something in there, or it should do something a bit more...

I did go into the BIOS and change the Boot order to put the CD drive first but that didn't make any difference.

Can anyone tell me what it means and more importnantly what to do next - I've been randomly googling for two nights now!

Cheers lins xxx :-)

  Diemmess 17:39 02 Apr 08

Have you tried tapping F8 from switch-on until you arrive at a screen the offers a selection of alternatives.

Choose "last known working system" or words to that effect

  Jollyjohn 17:43 02 Apr 08

When in the BIOS you need to check under IDE devices and check the Primary Master is present. There should be an AUTO setting. If the hard drive is not present it would suggest a cable has come loose inside the computer, easy enough to check.

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