Its been quite a while since I've had to do any hardware debugging like this so I'm a bit rusty and feel that I'm missing something obvious; can anyone help please. Recently our general home PC has been a bit sluggish so I decided to do an offline supervised virus scan. Turns out the automatic updates hadn't been coming in for a while, but I decided to run the scan first, before going back online to get any updates. The Netsky worm was lurking on the system along with the usual rash of tracking cookies. Cleaned that lot out, turned on the cable modem, and went looking for security updates. Thats when things went weird. Started getting those dialog boxes "Your system may be vulnerable to attack. To protect your system download the latest security suite from XYZ" ... yeah right, killed those PDQ. Shortly after that the wallpaper dies and on CTL+ALT+DEL get a message "Task Manager has been disable by your Administrator". So it looks like I've caught a more malevolent virus. Bugger. Shutdown, disconnect main drive (IDE) and jumper it to Slave. I've been building a new SFF for my daughter and I've been meaning to update to XP SP3 and get a bigger HDD anyway, so I decide to get a new HDD and a new XP licence, do a clean build with the latest anti-virus, etc. THEN recover what I can from the old HDD. The system is as follows: Gigabyte GA-8S648FX in a generic tower case 512 MB DDR 400 (CL3) >> Upgraded to 2.5GB DDR 400 Maxtor 60GB (Master on IDE1) >> disconnected for the moment >> Replaced with a new Hitachi DeskStar P7K500 250GB (Master on IDE1 - NB changed jumpers to Master from factory setting of Cable Select) Seagate 10GB (Slave on IDE1) >> disconnected for the moment Liteon CD/DVD combo (Master on IDE2) Gigabyte GV-R9200 AGP (no onboard video, so I can't remove this) Windows XP SP3 OEM CD Boot from the XP CD -- ok Partition & hard format 50GB C: -- ok Start install -- gets 75% through and BSODs Stop Code 0x00000024, problem with Ntfs.sys. Restart (CD boot), soft format C: try again -- same result Restart (CD boot), go to recover & run chkdsk -- no errors found Be anal and hard format D: then restart (CD boot) install with another soft format of C: -- same BSOD Take out original Windows XP SP1a OEM CD and try installing that -- completes first stage install, restarts correctly with XP splash screen, goes to second stage install, gets past Product Activation, Set Time, etc, then BSODs (may have been a different Stop Code, I can't remember) Give up for the time being This is no-longer looking like a virus problem. Googling Stop Code 0x00000024 leads to a bunch of places (e.g. Error message in Windows 2000: "Stop 0x24" or "NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM", Windows XP Stop Messages, Troubleshooting Windows Stop Messages) that say things like: 1 > tools that continually monitor a system such as virus scanners, firewall software, backup programs, disk defragmenters can cause problems, so try disabling them. Heavy hard drive fragmentation or heavy file I/O can also cause problems. 2 > Malfunctioning SCSI and ATA drivers can cause read/write to disk errors. 3 > Malfunctioning SCSI and ATA hardware can also cause read/write to disk errors. 4 > BIOS upgrades can sometimes resolve the problem. Well, #1 would seem to be out as it is a brand new, hard formatted HDD with the only software involved being XP; #2 would seem to be out too as I can't even get to the driver installation phase of the install. So, what are my options for debugging any hardware or BIOS problems? I was going to try: >> Changing the IDE cables with some spares I have. >> Swapping the CD and HDD so that the CD is Master on IDE1 and the HDD is Master on IDE2 -- but the manual for the GA-8S648FX explicitly states that the primary HDD needs to go on IDE1 and the CD on IDE2 >> Abandon the tower for the moment and see if I can use the new HDD to finish off the SFF build -- which will at least verify that the new HDD is OK, but doesn't actually address the problem. >> Get a $20 PCI PATA card to bypass the onboard controller if it is failing -- assuming I can even set the system to use a boot disk hanging off the PCI bus (I can't see any option for this in the BIOS manual). >> I don't really want to flash the BIOS. As I said, I feel that I'm missing something obvious. What should I try first? And are there any other things I should look at? Thanks!!