Computer won't boot past blinking underscore

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rallyben

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it looks at the floppy and it doesn't find anything, then it looks at the cd and still gets nothing...
 
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Are you sure it's a good floppy? It's understandable that it might not boot from a floppy made on a different machine---that is not unusual. But not booting from the CD is another matter. It should do that in any case.

If you made that startup floppy on another machine, try making another on yet a 3rd machine if you have one available. The head alignment on modern, flimsy, floppy drives is not uniform.
Startup floppy--->

Try setting all the BIOS settings to default. There is usually a message at the bottom of the first screen about pressing some F key to set all settings back to "default", "setup defaults", or something to that effect. Then save those settings. The only setting you may have to change after that in order to get the machine to boot is the boot order, of course.

Be sure that both IDE channels are enabled in the BIOS, in case the CD is on the second. Is the CD-ROM recognized normally by BIOS?

Is there any other bootable CD you could try? Though it seems unlikely that you would have problems with both a CD and floppy at the same time, bigger coincidences have happened.

Does that drive come any closer to booting in another machine? Is there any way you could try it?

I really don't think there's much you can do about the MBR on that drive when it is set up as a secondary on another machine, but you could try the fdisk /mbr command on that drive in another machine from a boot floppy, but just be sure that fdisk is looking at the right drive since you don't want to mess with the wrong one.
 

rallyben

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I'm positive that the drives work, and that the disks work cause I've used them both. This started happening after I tried it in a new computer. Because it didn't work, I tried to put it back in its old computer but I came to this error. Here's a bit more information about the bios: Amibios Simple Setup Utility Ver. 1.21.06. I tried to boot from other media (as stated in the bios) and it tried to boot from the network port (integrated). Do you think upgrading the bios might help anything?? I'll try restoring the defaults in the bios and try that, then I'll get back to you.
 

rallyben

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when I said tried it (second sentence), I mean just trying to boot up off the new computer with the old hard drive.
 
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Well, the drive may well have its own problems after being moved, and you may well be right that the MBR needs fixing, but there is something wrong with a machine that won't boot from floppy or CD when that drive is not even connected.

Upgrading the BIOS may help, but is a risk, and without the floppy boot, not even possible at this point.

What is the make/model of the machine? Some BIOS can be upgraded from a floppy without booting by loading the BIOS ROM directly from the floppy on power-on.

And be sure to check all the connections inside the box, especially of the IDE cables to the motherboard. Even the best of us get a little ham-handed in those close spaces when trying to connect things.
 
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I really don't know where to go from here. You can even test hardware if you can't boot from the floppy.

The only other thing I can think of is that there may be a loose card in the AGP or PCI slot. I've had that prevent me from booting before.

All I can suggest is checking and double-checking everything and possibly removing all non-essential hardware in case something is preventing that BIOS from recognizing a bootable device.

Did you have any luck finding a way to set the BIOS to defaults?

There is also a "Clear CMOS" jumper on that board that you could try. Maybe if the BIOS had a small case of amnesia, it would see things more clearly.
 

rallyben

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well, I already tried to reset the bios taking the battery out for a couple minutes and it's reset but it seems that the more I research this board on google, the more problems come up for it. I didn't see a default settings reset in the bios, but I did do the optimal settings. It didn't change anything. Thank you again for your help. Maybe I'll research a bit more tomorrow to see about flashing the bios. I'll check the cards too to make sure they're properly seated. ok, signing off for now.
 
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