I agree it sounds like a hard ware problem, but if there is another reason you want to format the hard drive, take the hard drive out, attach it to an external device, or attach it internally, to a working PC and reformat that way.
First, are you comfortable working with the hardware? If not, get a qualified friend to help you. If the PC will not boot at all, start checking the basics: is it getting power? Is the screen getting power? Is the screen connected? Does the screen work? Test it on another PC. Once you have eliminated all the basic stuff, you then start getting you hands dirty on the stuff inside. Email me if you need a full list of steps to solve this problem. Best of luck
set the bios to boot from hdd(hard disk drive) if it isn't helps then set the bios to boot from cd/dvd and put the op-system disk and format with that....after formatting that hard disk all of your data will be lost....
Definitely a hardware problem. If you are okay with working on the hardware you could try this: remove power from the tower, remove the cover of the PC, disconnect the cables from the HDD and CD/DVD drives....both cable from each. Take note of the orientation of the cables makes it easier to put back. Plug the tower back in and then power it up. When it says no bootable media turn off via power button. Disconnect from the power again, plug the cables back in and then power up. If you still can't boot up try resetting the CMOS, you will need to check your motherboard manual for the correct jumper settings. Make sure that you are discinnected from the power before you do this.
Well I am assuming by Mashestomatoes post that the HDD is not seen by the bios at post. In which case hardware problem. Really should have more info...when booting with XP cd how far does it go i.e does it say there is no HDD...or will it even boot from the CD?
One can only go by the info given.
I have had instances where the CD drive is the problem.....among a myriad of other problems software and hardware related.
Well, if it boots from Setup CD to the point of checking for installed windows (which comes BEFORE options to format the drive or repair console) and then freezes, then it is most definitely data corruption issue. Not hardware. Well.. at least for a booting part.
Now, reason why the data corruption possibly occurred, that's another issue.
(That's how far my imagination goes based on given facts).
I think that we need to know what is meant by "doesn't boot". The boot process consists of a lot of pieces. Things such as loading BIOS, memory checks/tests, detecting boot devices, loading device drivers, etc. See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457123.aspx for more information.
Need to make sure that the boot order in the BIOS is correct. The option should be set to boot off of CD/DVD BEFORE it tries to boot from hard drive.
Press the "Esc" key as soon as the computer starts to boot to see the screens. Do you see anything on the screen? Does it pass the memory test?