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Try this first - open up the BIOS part of the system. To do this, shut the computer off; wait at least 10 seconds; turn the computer back on and then press F2 when the Dell logo appears. Press continually until the message Entering Setup appears. In the Boot Order section, remove the CD/DVD drive from the boot order by clicking on Disable from the drop-down menu. If this doesn't fix it, please resubmit your question
The blinking dash is the way in which the BIOS is telling you that it was unable to find an operating system - the screen blanks out because it goes in stand-by.
If even after you have changed the boot order from the BIOS you can't load the Recovery Disc then this is a hardware problem - the chip that controls the disks (hard and optical) is defective. That means that the motherboard is defective and you will have to replace it.
Check the BIOS to make sure that the CD rom is the first boot devices in the bootup sequence, also make sure that the cd rom does show up in the BIOS.
Make sure that the CD Rom itself is good or the boot cd you are using is good, try it on other PC.
Boot to the BIOS, turn on Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, Numlock. Then press ALT+E (You should hear one beep) then ALT+F (You should hear one beep) if you have no floppy disk drive, turn off the Floppy Drive and the diskette controller the ALT+B to save and reboot.
Download the six winxp install floppies,,from bootdisk.com and install that way.
Your PC was not meant for XP it was meant for Millenium at most.
But if you load through floppies and then use the cd you should be OK