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Attempting to clean install xp home on gateway desktop

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I am attempting to do a clean install of xp home on a gateway desktop.
I have the OS cd.
The original problem was that it just doesn't load into windows fully. You see it state starting windows but nothing really happens.

So I attempted to do a clean install, however:

-it freezes at the "searching for previous versions of microsoft windows screen..." STEP in the clean install.

-I attempted to choose R for recovery console however I get as far as selecting option 1 for c:\windows and then again it freezes.

-Thought I would then use the command prompt so i choose that from the advanced startup options, however that doesn't load either. (So the screen with all the advanced startup options does load, but upon selecting any of those options, the PC really doesn't do much)

-Cannot load it into safe mode either.

I checked the CD for damages but it doesn't have any.
Is the Hard drive damaged here???

Thank you for all your Help.
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    Je suis Napoléon!

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it could be the hard drive....or a ram issue...or a thermal issue...

open the machine up and get a can of compressed air...make sure there's no dust bunnies inside of the case...make sure tht the heatsink and processor fan are thouroughly clean..

how many sticks of ram are in the machine? try booting with just one stick in at a time if you have more than one...

do you by chance have another computer that you can test the hard drive in?
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