Ok, now we have some good discourse! While I'd always prefer to use a friend's laptop to test my fringe hypotheses, having your own is a fine option too. And it sounds like you have an enclosure too, so you are pretty much all set.
It's really sounding like the entire computer is having problems at boot. The drivers for the CD drive are built into the computer, so you don't have to worry about replacing them. That's how it can boot from a CD even before starting windows.
I think you are doing everything perfectly so far, so the question is how much more you want to do before selling it As-Is on Craigslist or claiming it lost in a terrorist attack to your home owners' insurance.
more choices though: if you want to keep fiddling with it, try these few suggestions.
If the green light goes on when you put the burned Windows CD into the drive there are a couple things that might be going on. If you can hear the drive start up and spin then stop then try again, then it sounds like either the CD is bad or the drive isn't working properly. Make sure the version of Windows you burned is a bootable version (full OEM or Restore CD and not an upgrade). Just a thought. Also, when you press F12 with the CD in the drive, does it show a boot from CD drive option? If so, I'm guessing that you try it, it spins the disk then nothing for a bit then the error message. If so, what's happening is that it's checking the CD for boot information, can't find it and then tries to boot "normally" which for it isn't.
If you ALWAYS see the 60GB Primary drive when you press F12, then the computer really believes that there is a drive there and maybe there are problems with the drive AND the CD rom.
The idea with the enclosure is that you can pull the hard drive from your D600 and put it in the enclosure to be read by your HP. This way, even if part of the drive isn't good - for instance it might be that the "boot sector" of the drive is corrupted - your HP should be able to read the rest and allow you to get back all your music and pictures.
Sheesh, don't be sorry about not understanding this all on the first pass. You're already doing a great job of diagnosing and repairing what you can. Get back to me after you've run yourself into another dead end. Good luck!!
Here are a few places to check out. Dell's D600 Service Manual
- to help you remove any tasty parts you need to (like the hard drive)D600 Hard drive removal instructions
- PDF format so get ready for download!
There's also a chance that you already have a Restore Partition on the existing hard drive. The problem being that your computer isn't reading the hard drive properly may make this a non-issue, but if you want, try this: BUT WARNING THIS WILL DESTROY ALL DATA ON THE HARD DRIVE so only do this AFTER you have removed all your important stuff from it by plugging it into your HP.
Taken from Dell's Technical Support page
and should be followed from there: 1 Turn on the computer.
2 When the Dell
splash screen appears during the computer startup process, press and
hold <Ctrl> and then press <F11>. Then, release both keys
at the same time.
3 In the Dell PC Restore by Symantec window, click Restore. Alternatively, press <Tab> to highlight Restore, and then press <Enter>.
4 When a warning message appears stating that all data will be lost, click Confirm, or press <Tab> to highlight Confirm and then press <Enter>.
The Progress window will appear. Once the restore process starts, Dell PC Restore by Symantec usually takes about 8 to 10 minutes to finish.
When the restore process is complete, the following message will appear:
The system recovery process was successful.
5 Click Finish or press <Tab> to highlight Finish and then press <Enter> to restart the computer.
The software is now installed as it was when the computer was first received.