If anyone can help, I would love suggestions... Usually I can solve my own computer issues but the one I currently face has me perplexed.
My computer is ~5 years old and was built by ABS PC. It is an Athlon (not 64) 3200+ with ASUS motherboard and 1 GB RAM. The peripherals include a Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS, GeForce FX 5200 with 128 MB RAM, and a video capture card. The hard drive is a Seagate 120 GB SATA 150. It came preloaded with Windows XP and prior to this point (about 2 years ago) I had to format the hard drive and use the recovery CD to install it all over again (plus upgrading to service pack 2 before and after the recovery). The only issue it has had before now recently is that every 2-3 days it would tell me that it had to use an alternate copy of the registry.
Last week I went to boot up as usual and when it was right at the point of going from the Black Windows loading screen to the blue Welcome screen, the computer flashed the blue screen of death (so quickly that I couldn't read the error message) and the computer restarted. It continued to do this except it stopped even showing the Windows loading screen. If I try to enter safe mode (any type including just command prompt), it shows all of the drivers loading as they are supposed to and then it suddenly restarts. If I choose last good configuration, it doesn't work.
One time it happened the BIOS popped up after rebooting and said that the processor speed might be set too fast but it was still set at 2167 MHz the way it is supposed to be. Setting it for 1300 MHz (the lowest setting) did not help. Because it said this, I wondered if the BIOS might be broken, especially because the next time I tried to boot, the system hung on the POST screen and I couldn't enter into the BIOS editing utility.
So I pulled out my other PC (self built with Celeron 2.93 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM with integrated videocard) that currently has Windows 98 SE running on it. I put the hard drive from my other computer into the spare computer and disconnected the Hard drive with Windows 98 and the same thing happened when Windows tried to load. As long as I had the Windows 98 hard drive disconnected, I put it into the faster computer and it loaded without any problem.
So I figured it must be something wrong with my installation of Windows XP that wasn't even letting it get into Safe Mode. I happened to have an old 17 GB hard drive so I installed that into my faster computer and booted up with the recovery CD (only works with my computer's specific BIOS). It did everything it was supposed to, going through the process of formatting the drive (and repartioning) and copying the Windows XP files and then prompted to restart the machine to complete the installation.
However, when the machine restarts, it says that there is no system disk. Putting the drive into the other computer doesn't work either, but this time it just says that it can't read the drive, not that it isn't a system disk. Going back to the original computer, trying the recovery program doesn't help (including trying FIXBOOT). Reinstalling again doesn't help.
Now I'm left with a computer that seems to be fully functional from a hardware standpoint. Two different hard drives, one with an old installation of Windows XP and one with a completely new installation of Windows XP, that can't load. Plus one hard drive with Windows 98 SE that works on both computers.
Any suggestions of where the problem might be? My next step will be to take the original hard drive to another computer with WinXP on it so I can try to get my files off of it.