This is why we suggest getting the restore media from the maker.
If this model (I don't see it in the discussion yet) is one of those Signature models the clean install fails hard. This is well discussed and the maker's restore media is the easy fix.
Next " I tried setting up the partitions myself. I consistently get to just about the end. " is the road to ruin for many. Delete all partitions and let the Windows installer do that work. Start with a blank clean drive. Be sure as few as possible USB connections are plugged in. I've seen failures when an USB printer was plugged in and the owner was miffed it mattered.
I decided tonight to reinstall 8.1. So i did a clean wipe first and tried installing it. I have literally tried everything (at least i hope not). I tried all repair options. I tried setting up the partitions myself. I consistently get to just about the end. Then a blue screen comes up with ATTEMPTED EXECUTE OF NO EXECUTE MEMORY. Any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance.