OK. So PC will not boot for love nor money, (have attempted XP recovery process to no avail). During the boot up process, a series of white lines appear on the bottom of the screen and proceed to fill up. They stop doing anything after a few minutes and PC seems to switch off/on again and start the boot process all over again.
Question 1: (curiosity mainly) Do these white lines indicate something like scandisk is running?
Question 2: (the important one) If I were to install a new hardrive, make it the primary drive, and load XP onto it, what chance have I got at recovering the files on my original hardrive (now the slave?)
when you download the startup disk, copy the files to a blank floppy, switch the problem pc on with floppy in, when prompted select the option to start computer without cd rom. Once done and your at the command prompt type "fixmbr", without the quotations.