I recently was re-installing WinXP on my folks computer and instead of blowing away their existing disk used an extra one that I had lying around.
When I went to run the WinXP set up disk I chose to boot from the CD and then got the "Setup is inspecting your computer’s configuration" message. And then just a black screen. The CD drive spun down and then nothing.
Turns out that since I was trying to use a disk that was formatted as ext3 that the Setup program couldn’t continue.
I solved the problem by dropping the disk in an external enclosure and reformatted it as ntfs. Once I did that it worked like a charm