Since the hard drive the XP installation was on had another partition with data I wanted to backup, I used a USB IDE cradle, backed up the data, deleted the partitions, and reinstalled the drive on the desktop.
Desktop specs (custom machine):
3 hard drives (all WD): 2 160GBs and 1 250GB
-HOWEVER, I disconnected the other two hard drives for this reinstallation
-Hard drive currently connected/used for XP install is WD160GB
DVD-RW drive, I forget the brand but it's definitely not the problem at all
1024MB RAM (2 512MB sticks), memory test is always OK
ATI RADEON graphics card (again, I forget the exact model)
Creative SoundBlaster Live! sound card
Athlon 64 x2 3800+
So the computer boots fine, sees the HD and the DVD drive. It recognizes the XP CD as bootable, will boot from it. Windows Setup loads all the drivers, etc. And then, when it gets done with that, it says "Setup is starting Windows". Period. Microsoft says that can stay there for up to 30 minutes... I've let it say that for 45 minutes. I've reinstalled Windows a couple dozen times, it always comes up with the next part in under a minute. CTRL+ALT+DEL does NOT work after it gets stuck there, only the reset (or power off) button on the computer.
I've tried using the WD Data Lifeguard CD to reformat the drive several times, I've tried using two partitions, one about 60GB, one about 100GB. I've tried using the drive with just one large partition.
I've tried disabling the RAID options on my BIOS, in fact I think I've tried every BIOS option there is now.
I'm at my wits end, this project is on its second day. I just don't know what else to do. Can someone please help?