". My BIOS has wierd characters designating my Maxtor HD"
Now that is a known issue with bad IDE cables, ports or drives. Having seen this too many times over the years I sure hope you try a SHINY NEW 80 CONDUCTOR IDE CABLE today.
While downloading critical XP updates, got the BSD. Tried to reboot & received the message that I had no boot disk. Tried to run the Linux CD bootable version of Partition Wizard & it said it doesn't support servers. My BIOS has wierd characters designating my Maxtor HD & remained when tried to auto-detect it. The same transpired after I unplugged everything, removed my memory & CMOS battery overnight, and tried detecting the HD again. I think I was cracked by a malicious degenerate Hacker. I believe my BIOS is screwed up and needs to be reflashed. Any other suggestions? Where may I find live BIOS flash software and how do I determine the correct BIOS ?