Netbook kernel panic

Recently I tried to install 12.04 on a Compaq mini. Previously it had window xp installed and was frozen when it was getting out of hiberation.
I did a clean install of 12.04 but there appears to be kernel errors

If I start it up it goes into a cursor and nothing else. If I try to boot from usb I can get into some ubuntu boot menus but they mostly seem to yield the following:

"[8.088394]Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(0,0)
[8.088459]Pid: 1, comm: swappe/0 Not tainted 3.2.0-23-generic-pae #36-Ubuntu

[8.088510]Call Trace:"
There's some others parts on screen but I think the panic is the most significant.

There is a white light that flashes on the unit in the upper left. It does not respond to the keyboard and results in me having to reset it.
Memory tests and BIOS run fine.

Is there any way to format the hard drive as it is now? --
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