Question about Dell Latitude C840 24X CD-R W/ DVD Combo (SIDE Unit) - D1361 CD-ROM Drive

2 Answers

Okay, I have a Dell C840 I bought on E-bay. The hard drive was destroyed due to private info. Well, I bought an external hard drive for it (Seagate 320 GB). Problem is, even before attempting to connect this to the Dell, I got an error message after turning it on. It came up to a black screen said "No bootable devices-strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility" I've tried changing boot order to the cd/dvd drive first and still no luck. It still did the same. I found a post about the cmos battery? Thing is, I don't know where it is? Any help? Thanks.

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  • wysn Aug 08, 2010

    I should have mentioned that the old hard drive is not in it (that's why I said destroyed). It did not come with the laptop. I tried booting with a windows cd as well and it did not work. :( Under the BOOT ORDER screen these are the options: cd/dvd/cd-rw/drive, modular bay hdd diskette drive internal hdd onboard nic cardbus nic I don't even know NIC stands for so I didn't mess with those. All of those are enabled also. Could there be a conflict? I know, I doubt it, but thought I'd ask.

  • wysn Aug 10, 2010

    no, problem not solved.
    I mentioned there was no hard drive installed to begin with.

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I doubt if that will help much. The problem is when you first turn it on it does a search for boot devices. Unless you put that USB device as a boot option, which I doubt you can, it will not boot from it. Try partitioning that old hard drive and then formatting it to make it usable. You could also try booting the computer with a Windows CD in the CD drive to get it to boot from CD. Right now the machine isn't recognizing the format of any devices and most likely isn't setup to boot from a USB device. Another option you could try to use to assist in partitioning and formatting the HD is Knoppix. Knoppix is a Linux based operating system that will run from CD/DVD that will give you some tools to use in Partitioning the Harddrive. You can usually get it in a book store with a Manual on how to use it for about $12. I found one in a Half Priced book store for $3 and still use it as a Primary Operating system. Very dependable and very light on resources required to run it.

Posted on Aug 08, 2010

  • 3 more comments 
  • wysn Aug 08, 2010

    I should have mentioned that the old hard drive is not in it (that's why I said destroyed). It did not come with the laptop. I tried booting with a windows cd as well and it did not work. :(
    Under the BOOT ORDER screen these are the options:
    cd/dvd/cd-rw/drive,
    modular bay hdd
    diskette drive
    internal hdd
    onboard nic
    cardbus nic

    I don't even know NIC stands for so I didn't mess with those. All of those are enabled also. Could there be a conflict? I know, I doubt it, but thought I'd ask.

  • James Young Aug 08, 2010

    If you can't boot from the CD there maybe a second setting in bios that needs to be set or the CD drive isn't working correctly. Windows install disk are usually in a DVD format that some machines don't like initially. The knoppix I mentioned is a CD not a DVD and should boot unless you Drive is bad. your last option to format that hard drive so the machine will at least boot to DOS is to remove the drive and put it in a portable case and connect it to another computer through the USB port and format it that way.

  • wysn Aug 08, 2010

    I missed you mentioning about the windows being on dvd or cd. It is on a CD-R disk.

  • James Young Aug 09, 2010

    You say CD-R, do you mean it is a copy? That would explain why the computer didn't boot from it. Windows Installation disk do not copy correctly because of their formatting. It is not a standard format but a format that must have a little file stored in an area of the disk that can't be copied by a standard DVD or CD. Get an original disk and try booting the machine from that and using the included tools to format the Disk during install. If your using a copy of a Windows install disk it's most likely never going to work.

  • wysn Aug 09, 2010

    I have always used the disk before on other computers with no problems, but aside from that, the bios is showing no fixed optical drive installed. Perhaps I should have did more research before purchasing this Dell. :(

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  • Dell Master
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Refer to the "reserve battery" description at this site.

The full service manual for the C840 is available at this site.

If it is not booting from the CD then it is possible the whole system is faulty. What is the CD you are using to boot? Is it a bootable Windows CD?

Try it on a working PC by booting from its CD after changing the boot sequence.

Posted on Aug 08, 2010

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  • wysn Aug 08, 2010

    I will try this now, but since I get nervous working with small parts it may take a bit. I will keep posted. By the way, yes, it is a bootable Windows XP cd and it does work as I've used it before a few times. I did also try it after changing the boot sequence and it still gave me the same error.

  • wysn Aug 08, 2010

    I did that and it did no good.
    The disk is a bootable Windows XP Home Edition and it is on a CD-R
    It is a good copy because I've used it a couple times before. I actually have a couple copies of the same disk. Made them in case I needed them. (Happens with kids)
    Now, I managed to use another laptop with XP on it to load the disk on the external hard drive. Now, how can I get the Dell to recognize it because it still isn't? I thought it would have.

  • Sam Aug 09, 2010

    It looks like there is more than just a faulty internal hard drive on your dell. If the boot with CD is not working then it is a bigger problem. I don't know how you are connecting the external hard drive to it? Unless the BIOS software on the motherboard can recongise the external drive it is not going to boot from it.



    Does the setup utility show USB as a boot sequence?

  • wysn Aug 09, 2010

    This SeaGate external hard drive connects using a USB port. Ugh, no, it does not give USB as an option to boot from. Double checking, it says there is no fixed optical drive installed even though there is.

  • Sam Aug 10, 2010

    As mentioned before your laptop does have some problem with the IDE or whatever it uses to communicate with disk drive and optical drive.



    Best to go to a repair shop and have it checked. You will not be able to do much without the IDE working.

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