Eventually, it came up with the following error message:
STOP:C0000221 (Bad Image check sum error) The image comdlg32.dll is possibly corrupt. The header checksum does not match the completed checksum.
I used the recovery/dell disk that came with the computer and attempted to reinstall Windows XP (included reformatting of hard drive). It was successful only up to a point and then when the computer rebooted itself this error message came up again. I heard the drive clicking and suddenly I ended up with a black screen telling me no optical devices of drives found.
At this point I could do nothing and assumed that my hard drive had crashed so I bought a new one.
When I tried to install the Windows XP again (with the dell disk that came with my computer) it did the exact same thing, it let me format, and went through proceess of checking files and setting up the system files. But when it rebooted the comdlg32.dll error message came up again. Now it is the only thing I see when I turn on the laptop.
What is going on and how do I fix it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.