I have exactly the same problem with my acer travelmate 8002Lci.
On start nothing other than power light, bluetooth light and wifi light. Have to hard reboot (5s off button), then, randomly the machine boots up.
I work in an IT environment and no-one has a clue what is going on.
Laptop is XP proffesional out of warranty and the fault is completely random! Help files are rubbish. log files hold no error info.
Messing about with the battery and power lead seem to help. But i cant find any scientific reason behind this.
what stumps me is the BIOS is not accesable when this problem happens. This should boot first to kick of the hard drive?
Any XP boot up sequence boffins out there?