It has either been a very long time, or this has never happened to me with of all things, a video card. I installed a XFX Radeon 5750 and when XP (SP3) showed that new hardware was detected, the system rebooted. Hardware contention for a PCI-E video card installation? A Google of this issue shows that users of XP, 7, and Vista have had this problem. This should indicate to us that the issue is not the BIOS, motherboard, or OS patch like all of the guesses on the web reference.
XFX has great fast support and recommended a driver scrub routine, so I did it. The next attempted install still crashed the computer. Here is the finagling that I did and I hope it works for you.
I installed the card and booted to safe mode. I ran the ATI driver. It fails on the system detection routine and had to be forced shut. But it must have copied the primary driver in place and allocated resources properly. I booted to windows normally and no error or reboot occurred. I noticed that some of the driver components, like the HD audio, were missing so I re-ran the driver. It copied in place the control panel, audio driver, and the other files that failed to install in safe mode. I may have rebooted after this I cannot remember. Voila, everything is working.
I did have to jump through other hoops: When this contention started the onboard LAN stopped working. Once a LAN driver is corrupt or missing in XP getting it back is tough. I installed another NIC, and the original one then re-appeared. I reran the driver for the onboard NIC, got it working, then removed the PCI NIC.
I must say I am ecstatic with this card. The previous card is an 8800 GT Alpha Dog that may have heat damage due to the fan being at a fixed speed from the factory. (On an over-clocked card? This was a manufacturer error!) The Radeon 5750 is cool, quiet, and the performance in FPS is fifteen to twenty percent faster than the Alpha Dog. I admit the first timedemo I did on the Alpha Dog was after it had started displaying artifacts, however, Toms Hardware does show about a twenty-percent performance increase between the regular 8800 GT and the 5750. I also chose the Radeon because Tom’s Hardware showed the 5750 as using some 30 watts less power and operating cooler than the stock 8800. It is working great.
One should always log the methods for solving these types of crazy issues. Something could come up where this card would have to be re-installed, and I probably will not remember this ad hoc solution, the only way I could get the card to work.