ok, so i tried redhat 9 install and it also died on my machine. so i pulled otu the winXP CD and tried to see if ti would install again. I figured it would die also, because the HD must be going...
you know, funny, it sounds like I am having a similar problem myself. Windows XP runs fine on my box, and so does knoppix booted from CD (RAMDISK). But when I tried installing Mandrake 9.0 or 9.1 It dies with an "error writing to hard drive". I even tried an older Redhat 7.2 install and got a similar error. It happens everytime on the file copy process. The hardware detection works fine.
I thought it might be the MBR left over from windows, but I wiped that out and still get the error. I chalked it up to a dead/dying hard drive. Now I am wondering if there is a kernel bug.
NOPE! It installed fine...i partictioned and reformatted again with redhat and tried another install, and it STILL WONT WORK! I don't know what else could be happening.