Prior to beginning the repairs I flashed the latest BIOS for the affected computer. I do not know if the machine would have booted off the installation CD prior to the upgrade. It did boot off the Seagate diagnostics CD. I have checked the boot order and the CD drive is first. The installation CD for my wife's computer is legitimate and goes with the XP Pro SP 3 that is on her machine.
When attempting to start off the installation CD I will get a message prompting me to press any key to boot from from the CD. Then a brief message tells me that "setup is inspecting your computer hardware configuration." After that the screen remains black and nothing else happens except the CD stops running.
My problem, then, is getting my machine to boot off the CD before I can begin working on the first "disk read error" problem. Having said all this, is the first problem related to the second one? Is there anyone who can lend a hand? If so it will be most appreciated.