Unique Windows XP Installation Issue - Can you help?

Hello all - first time writer, long time visitor. My Dell Vostro 1520 laptop (got it in 2009) was working fine on Friday. It was off all weekend. Yesterday, I turned it on and it did a reboot cycle. I Googled solutions, but I made things worse.

From what I recall, I:
Used my Windows XP Home CD to enter recovery console and do chkdsk, fixmbr, fixboot commands.
Used my Windows XP Home CD to Repair.

After one of these methods, I came back to a default Windows desktop with my icons on there. No "my computer," "my docs," or any other files.

I then formatted the harddrive. When it came back on it booted from the cd and started to install Windows. However, it restarted and hung on "Press any key to boot from CD. _" << The underscore was blinking. I let it be for 20 minutes and still nothing. I created a bootable cd thinking it might be the CD and it also hung on Press any key...I created a bootable USB (in case it was my CD drive) and it hung on "Press any key to boot from USB._"

Please help! I need this laptop for an exam on Thursday!
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  1. If there's more than one RAM (memory) stick under the hatch on the base, remove one and see if it starts. If not, put it back and remove the other. They're held in by tiny clips on either side - flip the clips and the stick pops up to be pulled out gently.
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