@ Dobermann - yes, I had removed the CD, LOL!
And it was never a dual boot kind of thing. Just a Live CD to boot from. Normally removing the CD is enough to get back to your system without a problem and no files / entries are written to your normal bootsystem (Vista in my case).
Offtopic - I used to have a Dobermann years ago. Lovely dogs and very photogenic (unlike my current black bunch ...)
@ drifta - that's how I got in this morning > read on :)
@ Lighthouse - F11 got me into the BIOS, but because of the wireless keyboard I have to be very, very, vééérrry fast otherwise it won't get acknowleged in time and I have to start all over again.
My default startup was USB, CD, HDD. Looked ok, so I set to optimized defaults, because I didn't know what to change.
That didn't help at all.
So I set it to safety defaults. Didn't help either.
Then I replaced the USB with my HDD and voila I got in in a breeze.
I'll go back there next boot, because I want to try if it works CD first and then HDD.
I had such trouble getting in this morning that I think it's the USB boot option that gives the problem.
No idea as to why, but when I put in my VistaPE CD it also didn't boot and neither would the Knoppix CD.
I guess it tries the USB device and when no boot item is found it stops there.
I didn't have a look at the BIOS before all this, but my guess is the USB wasn't set as boot device when I got the PC and it somehow got changed, causing my trouble.
But I shouldn't go all happy yet - can do that after my next boot and I know for sure things are back to normal again LOL.
A very cheerful Sarah on a very windy and rainy sundaymorning;-D