Why is my machine hanging up during the boot process

I hope this is the right forum for this question.

This all started while reloading Windows ME.  I left it while it was formating the hard drive, and have no idea what happened after that.  
I have a HP M390N, American Megatrends Bios Date 09/04/03 and at the begining of the boot sequence it makes it all the way to declaring the primary hard drive.
An Ultra DMA Mode-5, S.M.A.R.T Capable and status O.K.. And then it just hangs.
If I hit F1 to run setup it recognizes the key stroke and says it's entering setup but nothing else happens.  It's waiting for something but I have no idea what it is waiting for.

This probably is not enough information, I'll provide whatever info you need.

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Well there's several things that could be said here. The first is that windows ME is no longer supported by Microsoft and is end of life. If you could install windows XP or similar that would be a big help.

Otherwise, you're left trying to troubleshoot the existing setup. The first thing I would do is try to reinstall windows and watch the install process so you can see where it fails out.

If you cannot get into the BIOS by hitting F1, that indicates a more serious problem. I would try removing the hard drive (unplug both cables with the PC powered off and preferably grounded) and see if it boots and if you can get into the BIOS. If that works, I would look at getting a new hard drive, as they are mechanical and it is not unheard of for them to fail in ways that cause weird problems.

If you unplug the computer, and then boot it, do you see any problems with the CMOS saying it is corrupt? It could also be a dead BIOS battery in that case.

Otherwise, you are left with the worst kind of troubleshooting: Remove everything from your computer except for the video card, RAM, and CPU/motherboard and try booting. Does that work? If so, add back in parts one at a time until you find out which one is causing a problem. If it doesn't work in a bare bones configuration, then you have to look at replacing the motherboard, CPU, memory or video card until you figure out what part(s) have failed.

you can also take the disk out (and other devices) to test them on another pc.
Then you can run a disk test on it, or even ram test; so i suggest to download the ubcd and run some tests :  http://www.majorgeeks.com/Ultimate_Boot_CD_Full_d4981.html      

this way you can easily prove what is ok and what bad.
c7c4c7Author Commented:
AndrewCink - That should have been Windows MCE
Nobus - I'll look into ubcd and get back

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c7c4c7Author Commented:
Next Question, what would the symptoms be if the hard drive was larger than the Bios will support and how do I find out what the largest hard drive is that the bios will support?

the easiest way is checking if your system (bios) supports 48 bit LBA,
or just connect a drive, and check in the bios how it is seen - if ok, supported.

>>  the largest hard drive is that the bios will support?   <<   no 48 bit LBA = 128 GB and for some older systems, even 64 GB or less.
if this is your system, it supports 200 GB disks :

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c7c4c7Author Commented:
That did it, the hard drive was too large, formatted it to 2 logical drives, 200 each all my problems went away.

Thanks for the help
no problem - you're welcome !
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