I just reformatted C:, and reinstalled XP Professional. Works like a charm, but every time I try to install SP2, I lose the screen resolution; it changes to a max of 4 bit color and 480 x xyz pixels as my only choice. I reloaded the monitor drivers for the hp pavilion f50 monitor, but that doesn't help. I finally loaded SP1, and that is fine, but I cant get SP2 to allow decent screen images... and SP3 had some other error when I tried to load it, and it wouldn't even try to install. Any ideas ?
New install? You didn't say if you loaded device drivers or not.
Loading a monitor driver won't do much good at all if the video card driver isn't installed.
Look in Control Panel, system, Hardware, Device manager and see if you see yellow exclamation marks in front of various hardware devices including one in front of Display Adapters. If you do see them, you still need to install the drivers for your computer.