I'm not increadibly computer savvy, but I've thrown together a couple Windows machines before and never had this happen.

In short, I installed a new HD. Installed Windows XP Home, and the DSL software. Got on the internet with no problems and started installing all the XP updates that precede SP2. Rebooted, got on the internet and downloaded SP2. Now during installation, the computer locks. I reboot, uninstall SP2, go on the net and reinstall SP2 with no problems. Then I reboot. Now, I have a Local Area Connection indicated that didn't exist before with a Little or No Connectivity error, and I can't get on the internet. The system is also searching for an IP address.

I thought it might be the Firewall settings. When I checked it, it was indicated as being turned off, and the settings were locked in a Group mode. I don't know if this issue is a result of the other or totally unrelated.

I uninstalled SP2, rebooted and everything worked fine. Reinstalled SP2 and the problem returned.

Then I started over by reinstalling Windows and the same thing occured exactle as described above.

Any thoughts?

Thoughts?-- only that I am well aware (as you may be) that you are by no means the only one (far from it) to have come unstuck with SP2. Some of those people have had to admit defeat and not use SP2 -- opting instead to make do with SP1, a good third-party firewall, up-to-date antivirus and a couple of spyware stoppers/scanners. I was one of them until I changed my system and discovered it was already running SP2 with no problems so far. That's the nature of the PC and the software on it -- no two are the same. A recipe for random problems of the kind that you've experienced.

One thing that you might try is installing SP2 before you install any drivers. I reinstalled a machine last night, and the wireless NIC refused to work unless I removed the driver and reinstalled it after installing SP2. So, for the safest install procedure, download the SP2 installer, get the installer on some type of media that you can load on the machine after the fresh install (burned CD/DVD, flash drive, etc); do a fresh install of XP, install the SP2 update next; install the motherboard, video, audio, network, etc drivers; and proceed from there. It's often the case that a machine will have driver conflicts after the update, but there seem to be fewer if you add the drivers after the SP2 update.

If you install XP to machines frequently, keep the SP2 installer handy. Doing so will save you much grief in the future.