thanks for replying whappo, the drive i am trying to install an os on is the 60gig as mentioned above, the orginal 120gig is shot, i have at my disposal a xp os disk, a win 98 os disk, a vista recovery disk, an a couple of random boot disks. the laptop is running a phoenix bios version f.27, and yes the bios sees and self tests the hdd, but on the second, more in depth scan it brings up that error code which apparently means hard disk failure im quite sure this is incorrect as one of the independent hdd test cd ive used says that its fine. when i say xp runs on the disk, i mean the xp cd boots up and runs through till it is meant to ask you about where to install xp, or recover previous, or delete partions etc. all i get is 'not hard drive was found.. setup will now exit. grrrrr!