Can’t boot an HP xw6400 from CD or USB (4123 Views)
Occasional Visitor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-29-2012
Message 1 of 6 (4,123 Views)
Accepted Solution

Can’t boot an HP xw6400 from CD or USB


I have an HP xw6400 and can’t boot it from anything but the internal HDD.


Would anyone be able to suggest how I could boot with a CD or USB flash drive?

I need to install a new O/S.


I’ve tried its standard CD drive with multiple original and downloaded discs, a bootable USB flash drive (which worked on another computer), and have even tried an old IDE CD drive with multiple boot CDs. No luck – it won’t boot from any of them.

I’ve checked the BIOS settings. It’s set to boot with an optical drive first, USB second, IDE HDD third and SATA HDD fourth.

I’ve tried resetting the BIOS to factory defaults. Nothing much changes.


I’ve tried F9 during boot to see the boot options. It only ever allows me to select the internal HDD – I’ve never seen a CD or USB drive there.


I’ve noticed that the system doesn’t actually appear to access the CD/DVD drive on boot. It looks like it’s not trying to boot from the CD drive at all. Odd.


Is there something else I’m missing that seems to have stopped the system trying to boot from anything but the internal HDD?




Occasional Visitor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-29-2012
Message 2 of 6 (4,111 Views)

Re: Can’t boot an HP xw6400 from CD or USB

I think I should add one point to clarify: The CD/DVD and USB work fine once the system has booted. I can access external drives, access USB flash drives, and write DVDs. But I can't boot from any of them no matter what BIOS settings I use.

If someone can suggest what I might have done to stop booting from anything but the internal hard disc it'd be much appreciated.



HP Pro
Posts: 422
Registered: ‎04-25-2011
Message 3 of 6 (4,107 Views)

Re: Can’t boot an HP xw6400 from CD or USB

Please try to remove a power cord > remove a CMOS Battery > wait for 30 seconds > reinsert the CMOS battery > reconnect the power cord > power on.

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Honored Contributor
Posts: 659
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 4 of 6 (4,103 Views)

Re: Can’t boot an HP xw6400 from CD or USB

[ Edited ]

I turn off USB and Network boot in BIOS via the method below for my xw6400's usually, and just did a test...... if I also turn off the optical disc boot in BIOS the only option that shows up during boot (after hitting the F9 key) is the hard drive.  Someone too compulsive may have done that, or desired to keep all boot options unavailable except from the hard drive, and then locked the case for security.  If that is your situation here is how to tell, and fix:


Reboot, F10 into BIOS, go over to Storage menu, go down to Boot Order.   Are things like Network, USB, Optical Disc grayed out?  If so, the way that was done was to navigate to that and hit F5.  Same to reverse the situation..... use the down arrow to bring the arrohead next to Floppy and then Optical, and hit F5 for each, to re-enable them.  Then, F10, then Escape to get over to where you can Save Changes and Exit.  Then F10 to reboot, and then F9 to change the boot order from the BIOS setting that is in there.  If you turn off the boot capability this way you can still use the device, but not boot from it.


Let us know what worked.  Resetting the BIOS via John's method likely will fix this ahead of you getting to see if the other boot devices had been F5-disabled (grayed out).  When I did that it replicated your description on my xw6400 here, perfectly.





Occasional Visitor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-29-2012
Message 5 of 6 (4,093 Views)

Re: Can’t boot an HP xw6400 from CD or USB

Thanks guys. Wiping CMOS fixed it John.

Scott - thanks. I'd checked the boot order and what was available. Optical drive and USB were not greyed out (i.e.: Were available) but still it didn't work.

It seems to have been some sort of corruption in the BIOS - either that, or I changed an unknown parameter. Either way, restoring back to factory defaults through a complete CMOS refresh (remove the battery) fixed it.



Occasional Visitor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-10-2014
Message 6 of 6 (2,460 Views)

Re: Can’t boot an HP xw6400 from CD or USB

[ Edited ]

And how do you go about removing the battery?  Isn't there a better solution?  Sorry to trouble you, but the HP BIOS is the weirdest I've ever seen.  I own 25 computers.


I got a HP6400 Xeon and am experiencing the same problem as this old thread, when trying to find out why suddenly, the DVDRW drive is no longer working, though I've only briefly used it.  It's been a nightmare. The drive keeps chirping, too.


Now, I see that there is no BIOS 'gray out' of the Optical and USB options, but never do they actually work, even when set to work (enabled, not disabled).  It's as if those options, have no value.


So how can I be sure that my Macrium Reflect 5 Pro PE environment will work, if I can't get the USB boot to work?  Let alone, the fact I can't write to my DVDRW which suddenly doesn't work and there's no diagnostic?


Or is the 6400 incapable of reading pen drives, like Patriot Axle?  See, if Windows goes bad, any other machine I've ever used, can boot from these drives in Linux.  But not, the HP 6400.  Despite the boot menu saying Optical or USB first, it just bypasses them.  I made sure in Windows (XP) to stay in pre-Windows environment, first, for a good 60 seconds to allow the USB to be recognized.   But alas, it just ignores the USB pen drive, no matter what USB port I use.


Am thinking of throwing the HP6400 away, and avoiding HP from now on.  I've never had problems like these on my Dell machines.  This is my first HP machine.  And if this is the only solution to enabling the Optical and USB ports pre-Windows, to remove the CMOS battery, this will be my LAST HP machine.


I own a business.  I can't afford the downtime;  that's why I have 25 machines for only myself, so I can go from one to the next when the inevitable (usually Windows) glitches, occur.  Sorry for the heat, but feedback is important for future sales.


The vendor from whom I purchased it custom-built last year, known as craving savings in Amazon, was totally unhelpful.


So is there some other solution?  Thank you for your time, in reply!

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