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big problem with new laptop

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Okay. I just got my Alienware Area 51m 7700 laptop. Windows Xp, gig of ram, hitachi 40 gig hard drive, etc. Nothing special. So everythings working fine, and then Windows update kicks on, downloads and installs, and screws over the system. No windows, I'm locked out. And I probably made it worse. it has now reached the point where my Windows cd--after I reached the point of just trying to reinstall it--will not recognize my hard drive; it say it can't find any drives to install to. I've tried alienwares helppage, and couldn;t find anyhting, and i don't want to wait to call them tomorrow, because I need this laptop for school. Any ideas how to get windows to recognize my hard disk ?

Oh yeah, the hard disk is set to ATA, but I think i accidently swapped it to RAID and the back again once I realized. ALthough it was after the bios had rebooted
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