Hard drive not found

My daughter's computer is a Microexpress with an Intel motherboard, P4 1.6 gig proc, 512 mb rdram and Maxtor 60 gig hd.  She is running XP Pro SP1, NAV 2002, Sygate PFP, Cybersitter parental control software and is behind a router.  BootIt NG is also on the computer.  All are updated regularly.  She uses IM, email and goes to kid sites like Neopets.  Her computer stopped working suddenly.  She thought she saw a virus warning but has no details.  Now when the computer is turned on, there are 4-6 clicks that sound like the hard drive, the VGA card (Nvidia GEforce 5200(?)) info shows on the screen but no bios or ram info.  The computer then says "Boot failure, system halted".  I can get to the bios setup via the delete key, and can get it to boot from a setup floppy.  I can get it to boot from the XP cd via F8.  I can't get to advanced startup options at all.  In neither the bios setup nor the XP cd is the hard drive detected.  It also isn't detected by the BootIt NG floppy.  I'm an intermediate user.  I have no experience tweaking the bios and enter the registry with some trepidation.

Help please.

Sincerely,
David
DavidM10Asked:
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CallandorConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Try these instructions to get into the recovery console: http://www.winxpfix.com/page18.htm
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FieldITConnect With a Mentor Commented:
First things first...start with hardware.  Make sure that you're cables are working properly (swap HD for another formated HD and see if it boots)  If the problem persists, then there could be issues with the cabling or the motherboard itself.  If hardware appears to work okay, try to use Ghost software to get onto your hard drive and retrieve crucial data.  I'm led to believe it's a Mobo malfunction since you're failing to see your BIOS or RAM Info.

Good luck!
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CallandorCommented:
Try booting with the WinXP CD and get into the recovery console.  Type FIXMBR, followed by FIXBOOT.  If the problem was with the boot sector, this will fix it without changing programs or data.
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DavidM10Author Commented:
The cables are all in place.  I'll try swapping hard drives.  When booting off the XP cd, when I try to open the recovery console, it gives me no options other than typing exit to restart the computer.  That just leads to the boot failure, system halted state.
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FthaoCommented:
If you can boot to a floppy then it must have passed POST and the motherboard most likely should be ok. Sounds like the HD just bit the dust or a Virus altered your MBR making it un-bootable.
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DavidM10Author Commented:
It was a defective hard drive.  Thanks to Callandor for some great tips on the recovery console.  I took the opportunity to replace the Maxtor 5400 rpm 60 gb with a WD caviar 80 gb.  $40 after rebate at Fry's.

Thanks to all.

Sincerely,
David
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