I had the same boot problem. I searched other fora and found that this can occur if the hard drive you are installing on is not connected as ide drive 1. On my system (compaq 5000 series) I saw that the 2 cdroms were seen as disks 1 and 2, and my hard drive was disk 4. So I removed the ide cable from cdroms and connected it to hard drive and then took ide cable that was on hard drive and connected it to cdroms. on booting system, I saw that hard disk was drive 2 and cdroms were drives 3 and 4. Install failed. I then disconnected hard drive from ide cable and connected it to the other connector on same ide cable. I rebooted and saw that hard drive was now disk1 and cdroms were disks 3 and 4. I now reinstalled and system installed and booted fine. net... one of the causes of this "NTLDR:couldn't open..." error is that hard drive is connected to wrong connector of IDE cable. as an aside, this problem arose when someone installed new hard drive, and disconnected and reconnected everyting in the machine. Further, I found it interesting that in the 'bad' configuration, I was able to install various LINUX systems and windows 2000 perfectly fine... only had problem installing Windows XP Home Edition.