I was able to pick up another P3 from someone who had switched to laptop and didn't need it anymore. It was running Windows 98, so I popped in the Windows XP Upgrade (the same one I had used on my computer) and upgraded it. No problem. This is where it starts to get weird. I wanted to recover my files from my hard drive. The new P3 had a 10GB drive and a 2GB drive. I removed the 2GB drive and replaced it with mine (15GB, these are all old computers). The system wouldn't boot. At all. It gave one long beep and three short ones. That turns out to mean DRAM problems. Huh? Never touched it. I put the 2GB drive back in so everything was just the way it was before I started, but it still wouldn' work. I experimented further, but got nowhere, so I decided to take out the 10GB drive and try booting it on my old computer.
When I powered up, I immediately got a screen saying that Windows was unable to start and, after a lot of text, offering me five options, three safe mode starts, a last good config start, and a normal start which was the default. And a 30-second countdown for some reason. When the start failed again, I went into the BIOS screen and told it to auto-detect the hard drive and tried again. Same thing. I tried all five modes, but it just came back to the same screen. I wanted to try booting from the Upgrade CD, but it is an old BIOS and you can't put it before the HD.
Is any of this ringing any alarm bells with anyone? I am completely confused. The only other thing I can even think of to try is hooking in the 2GB drive (with no OS), letting it fall through to the CD, quickly swapping in the 10GB drive and trying to do, I don't know, SOMETHING. But that sounds a little crazy. Any ideas? Thanks for listening.