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This is usually a software problem. Drivers are loading during the time that the Windows start up bar is on screen. Try booting the machine and tapping the F8 key. Select 'Safe Mode'. If the system boots up into safe mode, then you have a bad driver. Reboot and tap the F8 key. This time select 'Last known good configuration' See if it boots all the way. If it does, then you should be good to go. If Safe Mode fails to boot, then you need to reload windows.
Can you F7 or F8 or whatever your system uses to get into the bios setup screen? If you can accesss that, you can install an operating system. If not, you have an issue. Put an operating system CD in to see if it is recognized for starters.
Bad news, this most likely indicates a problem in the charging circuit on the mainboard. To be sure, remove the battery and try again, if the same thing happens, then the problem is on the mainboard, if not, replace the battery. I have encountered this problem on an older Dell laptop before, removing the battery did not help and replacing the charger did not help. If the problem is on the mainboard, replacement is rarely practical. The cost of the board and the labor to replace it usually exceeds the cost of replacing the laptop.
Most laptops go into standby mode when the lid is closed. To stop this, (Windows XP) click Start, Control Panel, Performance and Maintenance, Power Options, then click on the Advanced tab, select "Do nothing" in the drop-down for "When I close the lid of my portable computer"