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SATA HARD DRIVE - XP INSTALLATION The problem is that XP installation CD does not have a SATA driver, unless you have a SATA drive on a disk etc. and can install the driver when XP asks for a hard drive driver then, XP cannot detect the hard disk and therefore won't install XP. The FIX. Go into the BIOS and disable the SATA drive (enable IDE emulation), this will make XP think it is a IDE/PATA hard disk. Then you can install XP normally. When Windows has been installed then install all the device drivers (including the SATA driver), then shut down and boot up and got into the BIOS and enable the SATA drive.
Try this method it may work. If you can boot up with the external USB hard drive on your Acer, then use a working computer and copy the Windows installation CD onto the external hard disk then connect the USB externak hard disk to the USB port on your Acer and boot up using the external hard drive.
The specs show an 80 GB hard drive. Probably ATA (you can tell by looking at the end of the drive--if it has a bunch of pins on it, it's ATA. If there are only two connectors, it's a SATA. You can probably go to 150 GB or so. Don't go too large or you'll be bound to have problems. Mostly there are 120 GB and larger drives out there now. They don't make 80 GB any more.