I could post some specs, but I don't know if you will be interested in them anymore since I think I (we) have solved the problem.
As sarah and someone else who's name slips my mind at this moment suggested to me in the chatroom, I should test the ram and try to boot to a live cd. So I tried to boot to ubuntu live, and it booted, but was not stable, whenever I started an app such as firefox, it restarted ubuntu after a few seconds (but not the whole pc as windows more annoyingly does). I was wondering how I could get the browser up for long enough to download memtest and even how I would run it since it would probably crash while doing so, and I doubted I could burn it to a cd bootable since this would also crash. Then to my pleasant suprise I noticed that Ubuntu has a bootable memtest on the cd! So I ran it, and it found 48 errors running for about an hour, then I took the ram out and gave it a hard scrub with the pencil eraser, put it back, memtest for another hour, 1 error... ? I wasn't complaining, tried continuing the windows installation, it worked! However, windows was not stable, kept restarting the pc when I tried to load anything or do anything, or just once it has started fully, Linux seemed perfectly stable at this point off the live cd. So then I went into bios to tinker with the ram settings (not knowing what the [bleep] I was doing). I changed the ram frequency setting from auto to the lowest setting, and the ram voltage from normal to high. Windows is now working normally. I have run all the old things that used to make it crash and it's not crashing. I don't know why the settings I changed made such a difference (because the ram is under lesser load cuz it is performing slower?) or why the magic eraser worked so well. So I guess I need new ram, but it's great that I can still use this for the moment anyway since I have no money right now to buy more.
Now I'll go and check with the ubuntu live cd whether I need both these bios settings in place to make it run stable, and hope that the linux test faithfully represents what will happen with windows. And I'll do another memory test.
PS: The settings I changed were "DRAM Frequency" from Auto to 133mhz (DDR266), and "DRAM Voltage" from normal to high. Someone on another forum suggested I should be careful with these settings and that it could kill the ram quick. What is the problem with these settings, the high voltage? Isn't setting the ram to ddr266 (since I'm pretty sure the ram is ddr333) basically underclocking it? Lightening the load? Obviously I'm no expert, cheers!
Edited by Ldee, 20 August 2006 - 11:55 PM.