I have 3 hard drives too (no SATA though). One is on a front loading slide which removes in 5 seconds and gets replaced with different drives that I work on. Two drives are partitioned so in all, I have 5 drives according to Windows.
From memory, when XP installs it guides you through the local disks, finds your current Windows and highlights your choices of just where you can install the new OS. You should be choosing the partition where it currently is, and after a few more choices about formatting that partition etc (don't do that please) it starts to download. The default I think is 34 minutes, so clearly something is making it stall.
I have never had a problem like this in the years I have battled with PC's. I am going to suggest a course of action to begin with and see if this helps.
Please unplug the modem so that there is no physical link with the internet. Please disable AVG AV and AS programmes so that they cannot block any processes. If you have a firewall, please also disable it.
Try it again.
If it stalls again, please ensure that you enable all security programmes before reconnecting to the modem.
Can we now try SFC again.
Please run System File Checker, to make sure all of your protected files are not corrupt. The scan will automatically replace any corrupt files that it finds.
At the prompt type sfc /scannow Please note that there is a single space between sfc and /scannow
Typing this will start the programme, and a box should appear telling you how much longer the process should take.
Sometimes the scan will prompt you for your Windows XP disc upon starting the scan. if this happens please make sure that you can view protected files:My Computer
"Uncheck" Hide protected operating system files.
Then rerun the scan.
Once the scan is complete:
Check your Windows Updates! After using the File Protection Service, you might need to reapply some updates.
Please reboot, and let me know if anything has changed.
Also, please rehide the protected files:My Computer
"Check" Hide protected operating system files.
Did this repair the search features?
If not, I will check just one more thing for any lurking malware and enlist one of the OS experts.
Right Click the Zip Folder and Select "Extract All"
Don't use it yet!
Reboot into Safe Mode: please see here
if you are not sure how to do this.
From the WinPFind folder-> Doubleclick WinPFind.exe
and Click "Start Scan"
It will scan the entire System, so please be patient!
Once you see "Scan Complete"-> a log (WinPFind.txt) will be automatically generated in the WinPFind folder.
Restart normally and post the contents of WinPFind.txt