On a Dell, after a system crash, I rebooted in safe mode and the starting windows screen hangs and nothing happens, it just keeps saying starting. I restarted in all modes. I rebooted from the windows xp cd-rom and the recovery console does not allow me to type more than one number or letter and when I click enter it freezes. I rebooted again to install windows xp and the message on the bottom of the screen says searching for previous windows. Then it freezes for several hours, nothing happens. I restarted several times.

What needs to be done next? Is another hard drive necessary?

Thank you.

It's a safe bet you've run out of room on HD. Deleting some files would help if you could get that far. Unless you can remove HD to another functioning system as a new drive it means another for you. If you can remove to another system, use it to delete and/or copy unnecessary files on disk. If you have to get another HD the validation files are in X:\windows\system32. MS has a page on the subject, easy to use.