|"I would like my machine to just boot into the OS like it used to before the hard drive failed.."|
If you edited boot.ini correctly, there will no longer be a screen that asks you which choice you want to load while initially loading stuff from the hard drive - it will automatically load the only remaining choice.
If you didn't edit boot.ini correctly, that may not be your situation - you may need to quote exactly what it says in boot.ini, as I asked you to.
If you do what I told you to do, boot.ini is displayed in Notepad - it's easy to copy all of it, and paste into a post .
"Why did you make such a big deal about whether I selected the updates or they run automatically. ??"
Obviously, because I've never heard of them installing automatically, in any situation.
We can only go by what the person who originally started the topic tells us.
Apparently, your initial info about that was not correct.
""In my computer properties, it has SP3 installed !"
If you gave permission for them to be installed, of course they were installed.
"the HD is one large partition"
Good. That makes it less complicated what you need to remove in boot.ini .
However, it's a good idea to have at least one other partition on the hard drive if it's your only hard drive, at the very least so that you have some place convenient to copy data to you don't want to lose if you ever need to load Windows from scratch, and if the hard drive capacity is relatively huge, it's NOT a good idea for it to have only one partition in some circumstances.You can install most programs that did not come with Windows on any other partition other than the one Windows was installed on.
You can't make the partition smaller in Windows XP and previous itself without losing all the data on the partition, but you CAN use a third party "partition manipulation" program to make an existing partition smaller, without losing the data that's already on it, and make one or more additional partitions in the un-allocated space freed up by doing that, in the program, or in Windows
E.g. the freeware Easesus Partition Master Home Edition.
(You CAN make an existing partition smaller in Vista or Windows 7 itself without losing the data already on the partition, in Disk Management.)
"I have inserted the line I removed below.
C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows XP Professional Setup" "
That's an oddball line for boot.ini.
"I got the disk from one of our technicians at work(i work in a college), "
It's probably due to something a technician modified from the defaults. Ask the technician who gave you the disk about that.
"The setup option fails while looking for a file called jraid.sys I think."
That is probably due to to something a technician modified from the defaults, or added as a custom thing. Certain files can be modified or added when a technician wants to be able to use the same source custom (burned) disk to install Windows on many computers.
Ask the technician who gave you the disk about that.
XP has no built in SATA drive controller drivers. It could be something was trying to install jraid.sys or whatever it was for a SATA controller, but it wasn't on the DVD, or it was but wasn't copied to the hard drive, or it was supposed to be on a floppy disk in a floppy drive when the program ran.
Under normal circumstances, SATA drive controller drivers have to be provided on a floppy disk after pressing F6; the initial files loaded from the XP CD won't recognize them being on anything else,
or the SATA drive controller drivers have to be custom integrated into the original contents of the Windows CD.
XP recognizes only a small number of USB floppy drive models by default, so usually the floppy disk must be in a conventional floppy drive.
Whether the SATA drive controller drivers need to be provided while loading the contents of the XP CD depends on what mode the SATA controllers are set to in the mboard's bios Setup, and whether you're trying to install XP on a SATA hard drive that's connected to the mboard.
Installing XP and SATA drive controllers, SATA drives; the SATA drive controller bios settings.
See response 2: