[ubuntu] Installation failure on HP Pavillion ZE4600 laptop

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http://ubuntuforums.org – Have done successful installs before but now am trying to install Ubuntu on an HP Pavillion ZE4600 laptop that previously had Win XP on it. The installation was failing, so I thought the hard disk was bad. Bought a new one - 80 Gig - but same problem. The installation will not format the drive. Should I format it first on a Mac or PC? I assumed the Ubuntu installer would format it as needed. Thanks! (Hardware)