Originally Posted by twiggy4243
it won't let me into the bios.
After you power on the computer, but before it starts to load the OS, there is a short time during which pressing a certain key will enter the BIOS menu. Which key depends on the BIOS. It may be set up to display that information for a moment while it powers up. If not, then tell us the manufacturer of the computer and any info you do see from the BIOS during power up and someone will tell you the key code you need to press to get into BIOS setup.
Your main problem sounds like one of two issues, one of which requires BIOS setup.
The hard disk mode set in the BIOS menu might be something the XP installer doesn't understand. If so, you need to change the hard drive mode (in the BIOS menu) to some legacy IDE mode while installing XP. Once XP is installed and Windows update has downloaded the correct hard disk driver for your brand/model motherboard, you could set the hard disk mode back to the faster default.
The other possible problem has never happened to me, though I've often done exactly what others have described as a cause of this problem. The XP installer is supposedly confused by something Linux has left in the partition table of the hard drive. Using a Linux bootable CD or USB and the dd command, you can write zeroes on the first track of the hard drive, wiping out all the partitioning and RAID info, making the XP installer think you have a new hard disk on which it will create a new partition table without trying to read the old partition table.
The first hit on a google search for that dd command gave me this page:
That one suggests a count of 1 on the dd command, which is fine if the confusion is entirely in the partition table. In some cases I have seen confusion over "fake RAID" data that must be cleaned out by a slightly larger count. A larger count just leaves less of a chance of salvaging the data that we are assuming you don't want to salvage from your Linux install.