Start with new (6-month old), bleeding edge stuff: motherboard, Intel D CPU, 80Gbyte hard drive, Sony DVD R/W, 500W supply, WinXP Pro. Major problems:1) "Intel uCode error...press F1 to continue" no boot from the WinXP CD. 2) Update BIOS to latest available (beta): the uCode error goes away; no boot. 3) Go into the BIOS setup, first screen: *nothing* recognized; Primary Master, Primary Slave,Seconsdary Master and Secondary Slave all have the same message, to the effect "nothing available".
But, in booting up, there is a bit of screen fiddling, and the installed hard drive and DVD drive are listed as present. The DVD light has a very short blink after that, but the CD is not accessed.
Now, the interesting part: plop in a PartitionMagic (bootable) CD, and that works! Understand, the PartitionMagic CD is old, way before Micro$uck thought of XP (2002).
Seems to me that M$ has teamed with the BIOS and board makers to make sure that one cannot *install* WinXp from scratch on these new computers.
But..if you happen to have a computer like that with WinXP installed, the WinXP is readable and can be used for updates, etc.
So.... How in the h*ll does one start from scratch?