|"ran chkdsk /r. it said /f was a bad command."|
CHKDSK in the Recovery Console is different from the one in Windows - it has no /f switch option.
"the last thing i see loading is WINDOWS/System32/DRIVERS/kmxstart.sys"
That last line on the screen that you see when you boot the computer in Safe mode doesn't necessarily have anything to do with whatever is causing your problem.
"i wound up at my original problem where it only goes so far and then restarts"
Win XP is set by default to automatically Restart when it encounters an unrecoverable error.
Remove any bootable CDs or DVDs you have in drives.
Boot the computer and starting very early, press F8 repeatedly, do not hold down the key, and when the boot choices menu appears, choose
Disable automatic restart on system failure.
That will attempt to load Windows normally.
If a blue screen appears it will stay on the screen.
Copy down the things that are unique in the message and post them here.
STOP: 0Xx00000xx (we don't need the stuff in brackets beside that)
There may be a problem file named at the end of the text.
There may be a link to More info or similar - if so, click on it to see if it names a problem file.
There may be a mention of a MINIDUMP file having been made - if so, copy down the name and location of it - you may need to click on a link to find that. That MINIDUMP file can be analyzed.
If that Disable automatic restart on system failure mode won't work, your hard drive at the very least has data corruption problems.
Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.
Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.