Failure to upgrade from WinXp to Win7


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What seemed as a quick and easy upgrade of my friends pc has quickly turned into a disastrous mistake, any ideas / help would be appreciated.

So, basically, my friend has windows XP (Packard Bell 300GB HDD, 3.5GB RAM, 512MB GFX Card) I tried to upgrade his OS to windows 7 (something I have done a few times before on other computers, reformatting etc.). First thing that took me off balance was the CD wouldn't boot from start up, however, I was able to start an install by booting it from windows xp “my computer”. Install commenced and all seemed to be going fine, windows 7 was being installed and occasionally restarted by the install. I set up the user details and all was supposedly ready to go after one more restart, so restart it did.
I got to the boot menu where I selected to boot windows 7 however after selecting this the screen went black and cpu restarted itself, starting an infinite loop of restarts before booting windows 7.
I managed to get to the boot menu again where I was able to select previous operating system, most things had been removed though many things were still present (not what id expected, normally when ive done this everything goes and is replaced by new OS), removing the OS from the inside allowed me to boot windows 7 via the boot menu, however the wireless dongle used was unrecognised (drivers missing?) after some exploring on the windows 7 OS it seemed everything was ok (other than the wifi), then randomly the computer crashes, restarts itself and im stuck in the same infinite loop.
re-installing xp didn't work, crashing quite some way into the installation.
unable to remove windows 7 and install windows xp I hooked the hardrive up to my pc so I could view the hardrive, I formatted it totally wiping it.

I tried re-installing xp, crashing at the same place. I was getting a message at the “boot from CD:…” saying:
PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable
PXE-M0F:Exiting intel boot agent
This shows twice then the third time is followed by : DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER. I insert my xp disk, press enter, installation begins and ends with a crash on the select partition screen, all the partitions say Unknown device, or something, pressing D to delete does nothing, pressing enter or trying to move selection results in a crash with much text followed by Technical Information:
“***STOP: 0x0000008E (0xC0000005, 0xF7419CAD, 0xF6FE97E4, 0x00000000)
***setupdd.sys – Address F7419CAD base at F73ED000, Datestamp 48025277”

After getting this too many times I plugged the HDD back into my PC and extracted the files from disc to HDD hoping booting from HDD might work, it didn't, hooked it back up to my PC, formatted. I plugged my HDD into his PC, which runs Windows 7, his PC booted with my HDD just fine (aside from some graphical issues).

So I'm left unable to install an Operating System on my friends HDD, any ideas? Ive also tried installing windows 98 which apparently has required drivers for xp, I was unable to install windows 98 also.

If anyone has any ideas, solutions, or questions please don't hesitate, im really rather stuck and considering buying a new HDD with OS ready installed.

P.S. It is now decided unnecessary to upgrade to Win7 if staying on WinXP proves easier quicker etc. Thanks
More info about your friends pc would help, Also, what version of Windows 7 are you attempting to install? and is it 32 or a 64 bit operating system?
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