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Have you let the machine complete the install? There are a couple of reboots with the disk installed. Don't press any buttons during the reboot the disk will transfer to the harddrive when appropriate.
You also may have a corrupt boot record. Next time try booting from the CD. When the system comes up, select recovery console (R). When you are asked for a system to login, press enter. Enter the administrator's password if asked. At the prompt, "c:\windows>", type fixmbr.
Hi there. When it get to the point where it cannot install the service packs, if it gives you an option to skip the files then do that and let XP install as usual, when its installed perform a Microsoft update and update the machine, this will no doubt take hours because if the disk is 4 years old it will want service packs 2 and 3 installing so make sure you set the computer to never shut down or go to sleep.
Do you mean that you are re-loading windows? if you are when it reboots after re-loading and it says boot/start with cd-rom support do not press enter again or anything else for that matter because if you do it will keep taking you through the whole process again. Once it has loaded and reboots do not press anything it will start windows( even though it gives you the option to start with cd-rom support - just ignore it), itself and take you to the welcome screen etc... once this happens you can take the disk out.
Seems like your VISTA upgrade didn't sucessfully upgrade itself from XP to VISTA. Seems like M$ update program detects your OS as XP and tries to install the SP3 for XP. VISTA only has SP1 released. Its currently stuck in a loop that it doesn't know what to do. Restart your laptop into safe mode by pressing F8 before the VISTA loading page comes up and go to Safe mode and backup your data and use the ACER RESTORE CD OR ACER RESTORE METHOD to help you reload your system back to factory defaults then upgrade back to vista without install any updates or connecting it to the internet.
This is my best solution to get you out of this weird and unusual situation.
Windows service pack 2 is a huge update and takes a long time to complete, I will suggest walking away from your computer and having lunch, go to sleep, watch a movie, etc... while the update finishes. If you have already done this with the same result? I would look for a Windows XP SP2 disk (XP with service pack 2 integrated) and try that. Otherwise Microsoft sent out many disks containing the SP2 update itself on a disk, and you could try the SP2 update from one of those (if you can find one) after your clean install. Good luck.