Don't install the catalyst control center. I have yet to see that thing not break a computer.
If you aren't installing control center then I don't really know what it could be. I'd stick with 4.8 or earlier for a while though. It gives a better 3dmark, for me at least.
If you can't boot after installing sp2 then either your windows install is broken or some drivers on your machine are not compatible with sp2. I have the 4.8 ati drivers right now so if you have at least that you shouldn't have a problem with those drivers. Make sure every other driver on your machine is updated to the latest drivers.
I have updated everything that I know of. I have done upgrades and clean installs reformatted and tried multiple HD's. Nothing will get me past the WIN XP logo screen. The only thing that ever changes is sometimes after I install XP the blue bar that strobes wont make it all the way across even one time before locking up and other times after installing XP it will make it across 2 or 3 times before locking up. I flashed the current BIOS update also. The 2 things that I keep reading about that seem to be the more likely problems are ATI drivers causing a conflict and not having an up to date BIOS. My BIOS shouldnt be the problem.
Have you installed .Net on your machine? My machine freaked out when I tried installing it but maybe your machine is new enough to need it. You might as well try installing .Net and then installing the latest ati drivers with the control center.
I'm not a programmer so I couldn't tell ya exactly what it is but as far as I know it gives support for newer better programs and it can be installed via windows update. It is listed as .NET Framework version 1.1 in windows update. You need it for catalyst control center.
I don't know if this is too late and you guys have resolved your problems but I felt I had to say a word. With regard to the system that hangs at the XP logo I've just had exactly the same problem. I've had the system for 3 years and it has had an ATI All in Wonder 8500DV all that time, trying to get drivers sorted for it has been a nightmare and if I didn't need to capture analogue video I would have dumped it years ago. I've just rebuilt the system with a new motherboard and installed XP Pro SP2 2005 and all went well unil the point where the XP ligo fades to a black screen with just the mouse pointer at the centre and there it stopped, nothing would induce it to go further even though I tried several times. I just knew it was the driver XP had installed for the ATI that was to blame, it opened in Safe Mode ok but of course wouldn't load the ATI drivers I had that I knew would work... not in Safe Mode. I didn't even bother trying to find a way round it, I took out the ATI and put in a spare Matrox card I had that I knew wasn't so fussy about drivers as ATI, that did the trick and it was fine. I looked into which ATI display driver xP had and it was one from the middle of 2005, my ATI card just will not work with the newer ones, and also it's fairly vital that an ATI display driver be installed with the WDM driver from the same Catalyst release, XP hadn't done that either so the whole thing was doomed. I was going to sort out the ATI drivers once I'd got it up and running and put the card back later but I'm not going to bother now. I've had 3 long years of yje ATI mad driver situation, they've brought one ever increasing in size Catalyst pack out every month since I've had my card and before that too, how long does it take to get it right ? When ATI drivers go wrong they don't just affect the card's performance but can cause major problems including total system failures that can take hours to sort out.
LordPaludis I would say almost definitely they're at the root of your problems, I'd recommend that you bin the thing and get an nVidia, which is what I'm going to do. 3 years is enough for anyone.
Apologies if this turned into a bit of a rant but I hope it has been of some help.
PS. The Control panels that will require .NET are the ones from Catalyst 5.1 onwards.