I will try freedos, but I'm just posting to say a full format with FAT did not work. If dos doesn't work on FAT32, that may be why, BUT I sucessfully installed DOS on a computer previously running Windows NT, nothing but the original DOS disks. That had to be NTFS, FAT32 at least.
EDIT - I reread your post and realized I never tried installing DOS after deleting partitions without formatting with WinXP. Will try.
Windows XP is currently on it, but I'd rather have DOS lol. Three other computers down there are running DOS 6.22, Win3.1 and Tabworks. I made a network and I have friends over to celebrate the classics (doom mainly) with multiplayer. That's my motivation, if anyone was wondering. Plus I've never ever have DOS or Win3.1 crash on me, and it's kindof nostalgic working with that stuff
To go into greater detail, formatting with the boot disks makes the drive make weird clicking noises... When formatting under the XP cd takes 20 minutes longer, but no clicks.... and it actually works.