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I'm reluctant to jump in here with so many others, but I do have a question...what kind of Windows XP CD does this person have? A retail or upgrade CD will allow an installation to the second drive without wiping out the files that are there.
I don't have an OEM disk on me, but it seems to me (I'm feeling a little off this morning) even that will allow installation without format to the second drive.
So, pull the first drive, master the second drive, use the existing partition, and install without formatting--assuming there is room (1.5 gb on disk)
We can then rule out the drive all-together.
It sounds to me like a cascading harddrive failure with clusters giving up the ghost at a rapid pace.
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