I used my Dell reinstallation disk (it didn't come with an original XP disk) and tried to reinstall XP while in safe mode. The installation seemed to go well until I got to a black screen with the Windows logo in the middle with "please wait..." under it. It remained at that screen for over an hour. I couldn't do anything to get out of that screen (ESC, Ctl-Alt-Del, etc.) so I powered it off.
Now when I boot it up, it tells me that I have to activate Windows before I log in. When I click OK it continues to boot until it gets to the point where the wallpaper loads, and it tries to open an "Activate Windows" window. The outline of this window appears, but none of the content. It doesn't progress beyond this point. I tried powering off and booting up into safe mode, but I get a message that says I cannot log in without activating Windows, and I cannot activate Windows from safe mode.
I am not sure how to proceed at this point. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.