below is a copy of the nitty-gritty of a post sent to xandros tech support:
the full text of the "Initializing kernel... " process is given below.
the last line of text before the hang, in the Custom or Rescue options, reads:
"checking if image is initramfs...it isn't (no cpio magic); looks like an initrd."

just hoping some of this looks familiar to someone.
i have no idea what it means.
this is a clean install (no other oses on hd).
hd is formatted ntsf and shows to be good hd on another machine.
xandros tech support says, "a response may take 5 days"

~~~^^^mercury^^^~~~

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7. New install on the following system:
(aware xos 3.0 smp switch is turned off)
system: abit bp6 w/dual celerons (2X366@66FSB)
award bios
384 MB RAM
ATI Rage IIC 8MB
IBM Deskstar 13.6GB ATA/66 HDD
NEC 3002-A ATAPI CD-Rom
3.5" A: FDD
to try to get started, the PCI sound and modem cards have been removed.
Problem: with Xandros 3.0 Installation Disk in CDRom drive,
disk is recognized,
"Switch" line appears (have tried all options here, no luck)
"Loading kernel... Done."
"Initializing kernel... " >HANGS<

8. Using Rescue option, the following lines of text appear:
"Kernel command line: BOOT_IMAGE=Rescue_Console rw root=100 INSTALL_TYPE=console"
"acpi=on"
"Initializing CPU#0"
"PID hash table entries: 2048 (order: 11, 32768 bytes)"
"Detected 367.643 MHz processor."
"Using tsc for high-res timesource"
"Console: colour VGA+ 80X25"
"Dentry cashe hash table entries: 65536 (order: 6, 262144 bytes)"
"Inode-cache hash table entries: 32768 (order: 5, 131072 bytes)"
"Memory: 385352k/393216k available (1583k kernelcode, 7388k reserved, 749k data,
136k unit, 0k highmem)"
"Checking if this processor honours the WP bit even in supervisor mode... OK."
"Security Scaffold v1.0.0 initialized"
"SELinux: Initializing."
"SELinux: Starting in permissive mode"
"Mount-cache hash table entries: 512 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)"
"CPU: L1 I cache: 16k, L1 D cache: 16k"
"CPU: L2 cache: 128k"
"Intel machine check architecture supported."
"Intel machine check reporting enabled on CPU#0."
"CPU: Intel Celeron (Mendocino) stepping 05"
"Enabling fast FPU save and restore... done."
"Checking "hlt" instruction... OK."
"checking if image is initramfs...it isn't (no cpio magic); looks like an initrd."
end (have seen identical last line doing custom setup on previous attempt)

thanks,
~~~^^^mercury^^^~~~