I’ve got to say, it’s been one long, drawn out, frustrating night. After a certain point in setting up the new computer, it would freeze on rebooting. I could get to safe mode, but not boot up in full. It was apparently hanging on Mup.sys, and a Google search showed that I wasn’t the only one who had encountered this issue. The suggestion that ended up working pretty well was resetting the CMOS, which involved popping out the lithium batter, waiting 10 seconds, putting it back in, turning on the computer, and then re-configuring the BIOS. Unfortunately, while it would let me get into Windows with no problem (yay!) it would crap out when I next rebooted. So unless I decided I wanted to clear the CMOS every time I rebooted the computer (uh, no, not really something I wanna do!), I needed a better solution.
I decided to try installing XP on my second drive, and go slowly to see where in the installation process it would finally “hang”. Things went smoothly – and I rebooted every time I made ANY changes – and then I installed the drivers for the on-board Attansic Gigabit Ethernet transciever. Lo and behold, it hung. Aha! Even getting the latest driver online (and transferring it via SneakerNet from the laptop to the new computer) didn’t yield positive results. XP would boot fine if i disabled the device, but wouldn’t work when it was active. Solution: pop the old PCI Ethernet card in from my old-old computer, and disable the on-board ethernet. Bingo. Now the computer works and I’m gonna relax with some TV while I do laundry.