If any readers could offer me guidance on a hardware problem with my PC I'd be most appreciative, although obviously the anonymous nature of internet readership places you under no obligation to do so. I will try to be succinct.
I build my own PCs and run Windows XP. Four days ago, I had what I believe was a hardware failure. System was unresponsive and unable to boot even in safe mode. I removed the HDD (3 year old WD Raptor, which have a notoriously high burnout rate) and tested it with my laptop via an external HD dock. It appears to be a write off (unable to format, bad sectors, etc). So I grabbed another drive – for some reason I have about 9 laying around my office – formatted it clean, and attempted to do a fresh install of XP with the new drive. No other components changed.
I got halfway through the install and at the first reboot I go into an endless loop of trying to resume the installation but being unable to do so. I can't make any keyboard inputs (unresponsive) even though the generic USB drivers supposedly loaded in the first part of the install. So it just loops through "Press any key to boot from CD/DVD…" to restarting. I disabled all boot options other than 1) the DVD and 2) the HDD.
I'm flummoxed. The reason I'm suspecting a hardware problem (mobo?) is that I've never heard of being unable to do a clean install on a clean hard drive before. WTF?
Any suggestions welcome. Thanks in advance.