here is the order of things i did today. i hooked up the problem PC and here's what i did:
F8 - last known good config - enter - nothing happened, it just froze on the last screen
with recovery CD in, i followed the directions to type R - start recovery - the bar came up across the bottom and said 'preparing system recovery options' and then nothing else happened it just froze on that screen.
restarted and tried last step again, only this time instead of getting the bar across the bottom with "preparing system recovery options" it said
Disk I/O error
Press a key to restart
Boot from CD:
Non-system disk or disk error
Press any key to continue (when any key is pressed, system restarts and freezes)
Instead of typing R to start recovery, i tried the F11 option to start recovery and got a black screen and had to restart
figured out at this point that using CTL ALT Del to restart yields a frozen computer so I had to manually shut down and restart, tried F8 again this time selected Safe Mode. when i did this, the following lines showed up
and then it restarts on its own after a minute or so.
tried F8 again, and got this message
Disk read error occured
Press Ctl + Alt + Del to restart
tried last step again, without recovery cd in, but with same results.