Make sure that in yuor BIOS setup, the First Boot Device is NOT the Hard Drive. Most BIOS default settings keep the HDD as the First Boot Drive.
I am trying to reinstal xp from an emachines restore cd's. The only thing that I can think of that I haven't tried is flashing the bios. Currently when I boot with the cd in the drive it pauses during startup but continues to windows. I have removed the battery for a few hours, reset the bios to default, changed the boot sequence repeatly. I installed a different cdrom drive after an emachine tech recommending it and also tried formating a different drive to start as boot drive but no luck with anything so far. Has anyone experienced this before? I also tried booting from my own xp pro cd but had the same result. My friends emachine is seriously screwed up and needs a fresh start - your input is appreciated. Thanks