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best thing to do is connect the hard drive to another computer and copy over your important data and then put the hard drive back in the laptop and format the hard drive and then reinstall xp.. I do computers for a living and your problem is best solved the way i told you..
XP is a windows based operating system. XP is client OS which file format is Fat32 and NTFS.Some time for user fault, unauthorised operation, improper shutdown, viruses or any other cause may corrupt this file system and it may crash your windows also. Formatting and reloading of windows can solve your problem easily. But maybe there formatting is not possible for important data or for product key. So there repair of OS is only way to recover.
I have facing almost the same problem once. There customer have a confidential file in his system's desktop. Desktop belongs in C: drive where the OS resides. First I tried to recover the data but nothing is possible there. Then I started to repair the Widows. I insert the XP CD in DVD-Rom drive boot from it. Start the windows setup after loading files it ask for a repair (R key) I have ignore it by pressing Enter then the license agreement screen appeared. Then the OS instruct to press F8 to agree with the license and continue setup. After pressing F8 it will find the previous version of OS, if setup found any previous version then it will give you option to repair the OS again. But that day I don't get this option. It shows total disk space of C: drive have remain free space. So that there was not any file to recover the OS.
Then I go to boot the system again but formatting is not possible so after loading files at the first while the first repairing option appeared I have accept this repairing option. This option is from dos repairing option. After pressing "R" while appear the dos screen. Then press Enter to continue. Then I run the command "chkdsk" in C: drive to check the disk. After complete the disk checking and fixing the error I reboot the system again. After that I have Boot the system and after completing the whole process I choose the second repairing option. Then I got the previous version of OS and start to repair the previous OS. It now just loads the file and get started XP after booting. I got success to repair the OS and recover the data. So it is a secure and easy process of recovery.
Put the windows cd in the cd drive. Restart your computer while pressin Del or F2 to go to the system BIOS and go to Advanced BIOS settings and go to boot order or boot sequence, select Cd/Dvd to be the 1st device on the list. Hit F10 to exit. Your computer will restart and boot from the cd. On the first screen, just press enter. Then F8 to accept license agreement. Then you will press esc. Select the partition that you want to clean up! Select the first option (quick NTFS), then press F to start formating! Wait and follow the instructions on the screen.
If you are wanting to reformat the hard drive and reinstall your OS, then insert the OS CD and restart your computer. It will boot from the CD to the Windows Setup Menu. At the welcome screen hit enter. Press F8 to accept the License Agreement. If you have an existing OS you can repair it or skip this by hitting ESC. Use the Arrow key to select Select the drive or partition you want to format. Choose NTFS and press enter. After the format follow the instructions to reinstall Windows.
Note: Format would delete all of the data(like pictures, documents.) from the computer.
Make sure, you back up all of your important data before formating the hard drive.
1. Insert operating system disk.
2. Shut down and restart the computer.As soon as, you restart the computer, start tapping 'Spacebar' key. Now, this would start loading from disk.
3.Hit F8 to accept the license agreement.
5. Enter Enter again and follow the on screen instruction and this would format your hard drive.
Note: once you format the hard drive, you would need to install drivers as well. Make sure you have the drivers and utilities disk as well.
Back up your data. Before formatting your hard drive, it is essential that you back up all of the data you would like to access after the format is completed.
Insert your Windows XP sp2 CD and restart your computer. If you own an Acer laptop, you most likely will be running Windows XP.
Press "enter" when the welcome to setup page appears. Press the F8 key to accept the Windows licensing agreement.
Select your CD drive as your boot device. You will want to boot your computer through the Windows start-up CD instead of booting from your hard drive.
Follow the on-screen prompts and click "yes" when you are asked if you would like to format your C drive. If you click "yes," the formatting process will finish, and you will have successfully formatted your hard drive.
Generally this occurs when F12 is pressed multiple times causing the keyboard to stop responding because the keyboard buffer is full.
At boot, when the Dell Splash Screen Appears press the F12 key once when the progress bar is 70% across the screen (System should beep ONCE) then select the optical drive and press spacebar when prompted. The keyboard should work fine after that.
After you click accept does the light on the CD rom start flickering again or does it stay off? There is a possiblity that the F8 key on your keyboard doesn't work. Never seen a computer hang on that screen before. Maybe try another keyboard. If the CD rom does flicker after hitting F8 and looks like it's trying to access the cdrom then the cd may be damaged or dirty and it can't read from the cdrom to go on with the installation. In fixing thousands of computers I've never seen one hang at the Licensing agreement or I was asleep with it did so.