I recently rebuilt a Windows box with pretty much new everything and it does two wierd things that I can work around but would like to fix in the long run. So if anyone can help with these please post your ideas.
1. The system won't just boot up. I have to leave a Windows XP CD in the drive. It will come up with a message "To boot from CD press any key" I don't press a key and the thing will then boot. If I don't have the CD in the drive it's like it can't find the boot sector. I've looked in the Bios and the hard drive is the choice immediately before the CD/DVD (but after the A drive). There is no choice after the CD/DVD drive.
2. Often when first started up I'll get audio crackles. If I reboot the crackles may (or may not) go away. At some point they will, but it may take a few reboots.
AMD 4200+ processor (dual core)
1 GB memory
250 GB SATA hard drive
the sound card is an old ESI Waveterminal 2496 with the most recent drivers
It sounds like your boot sector may be corrupted or is not set active. Have you tried the repair option from the Windows XP cd? If this doesn't work, then you may need to go into the Recovery Console which is also available from the Windows XP CD. You will need to know the administrator account password when you access the console. It will then dump you to what looks like a DOS command prompt. To fix the boot record type 'fixboot'. The master boot record could also be corrupted. You type 'fixmbr' to repair it.
One other thing before trying the above fixes. Go into your BIOS and check that your hard drive is set to boot. Some BIOS allow you to choose which hard drive to boot from. You need to make sure it is set for the one with your OS on it.
BTW, google.com is your friend for troubleshooting Windows booting issues. You'll hit quite a few sites with answers such as the ones above.
The other problem with crackling could be caused by the latency set too low for your soundcard or it's possible that you're running something that doesn't like multi-processors.
Well I finally found enough time to really dig into this. FWIW it was a BIOS issue. New motherboards will default to botting off a SATA drive. I had a SATA and ATA drive and it wasn't looking on the right drive. Change a few BIOS settings and all is well with booting.