That error message was 1002.
A friend of mine called me and told me he was getting a new computer. I asked him why, as I had done work for him on his box and it was relatively new. He said he had gotten a virus and rather than bother me, he had called HP Support. They charged him for a set of restore discs and sent them to him. He tried to do an install, with HP's support, and it failed. They then told him that he had a bad hard drive and had to send his tower in and they would replace the drive for $250 or they would sell him a factory restored model of his same computer for $350. I had him cancel the order. I tried to do an install and got the same error messages, even after a full wipe of the HD. I then pulled out an original MS version of his OS (Vista Home Premium) and it installed without a hitch using his product key. To sum it up, there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with his computer. It has since been upgraded to Windows 7 and has been running without a hitch. When I did an online search of the error (I'm sorry I can't recall the number of the error at the moment) I saw messages going back for at least a year. HP was maintaining that it was HD errors. At one point during my friend's support session with HP, they asked him for the numbers on the back of the sleeve for his Restore Discs, then assured him that that batch was OK. When we looked in the root folder of the Restore Discs after the fact, we saw that they contained patches. I maintain that this has been an ongoing problem with HP of which they are fully aware yet continue to deny, preferring to sell unsuspecting customers refurbished computers instead. I did contact their head office regarding this and was thanked and told it would be dealt with internally. Right! It sounds to me like HP has quite the scam going. Sell people corrupted Restore Discs, then upgrade them to a new computer when the discs fail to install. It sounds like a great way to move all of those returns. By the way, did I mention that my friend is 90 years old and homebound? His computer is his lifeline to the outside world.
Thanks for listening. I was extremely frustrated over this matter. It's nice to have a venue in which to air it out. We're not looking for any compensation of any kind, I just hate to see corporations get away with this kind of abuse.