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Windows XP Install fails - Invalid Boot.ini NTdetect failed

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It is a Dell Dimension 4700. I was having issues with the machine, it is four years old and had too much crap on it and the network stuff was messed up. So anyway, I set about re-loading XP complete with reformatting the hard drive. It got through the install to the point where it says to remove the disk for it to re-boot and then it shows the Dell screen and ever so briefly flashes on the screen the following messages:
Invalid boot.ini file
Booting from c:\windows
Ntdetect failed.

It then loops there until I turn the machine off.

I have gone through the normally suggested things such as using the bootcfg /reduild utility. I have run scandsk and it showed no errors. I have gone in and deleted the boot.ini file to re-build it, I have manually copied the ntdetect.com file from the cd-rom, I have tried four different versions of XP CD installs (home edition, professional, w/SP1, and w/SP2) all with the same results. I have tried with formatting and without, with removing the old installation and not. I have probably run through the process of installing about 14 times trying different options. I even typed the dreaded format c: just for fun in the recovery mode. It didn't really change anything other than convince me there were no vestiges of a previous installation there.

The machine has a DVD drive, CD drive, floppy drive and SATA hard drive. I have only tried loading from the DVD drive.

Any suggestions?
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