You could try copying the booting kernel from the install media to your machine's /boot directory, modify the machine's lilo.conf to add that kernel, run lilo with options set to write to the hard drive, and reboot.
The gzipped configuration (.config) of the booted kernel can usually be found in /proc/config.gz (there's a .config option for that). The config files for each installed kernel can be found in /boot. You could boot the install disk, copy the /proc/config.gz to your machine's hard drive, un-gzip it, then use diff tools to find the differences between a booting and non-booting kernel.
Once the booting config is copied to a permanent location you could also boot a livecd to do your diffs, or something like that.
Also, booting from the install disk, mount the machine's hard drive and check the hard drive's /var/log/syslog, /var/log/messages, and /var/log/dmesg files to look for messages or determine the last thing that was going on.
From that point start poking around in the startup scripts to see if you can figure out exactly what it was doing when it stopped. That early in the startup processes I'd look at the files I mentioned then probably concentrate on the first set of suggestions, above.
Last edited by jamesf; 05-27-2011 at 09:51 PM.