My friend has an HP Pavillion and recently the computer stopped booting to windows. When you turn it on it just shows a screen with a flashing command prompt-style cursor. I was able to get into the system set-up and re-arranged the boot order and therefore could boot a Windows XP SP1 installation disk. I was able to re-partition and format the drive without any problems, but once I started installing setup repeatedly reported various files that could not be installed. I kept ignoring these problems hoping that it would still be able to install, however once all files were copied it told me that setup could not continue because setup.inf could not be found.
I am beginning to believe that there must be physical hard drive damage because I cannot understand what else would prevent files from being copied to a newly formatted hard drive, however any other insight or additional suggestions on this problem would be greatly appreciated.