Dead HDD in a Vista laptop

  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

A neighbor brought me a laptop that their room mate is considering buying from someone. It's not very old, but the SATA drive appears to be dead. When I look through the BIOS and try the built-in HDD test, it goes on for a few seconds, then gives me a FAIL message. Just trying to let it boot Windows Vista obviously gives me a disk error message as well.

When they handed it to me the power cord was sticking out of the side, when I went to pull the cord out I noticed the cord wiggles around in the slot quite a bit. I plugged it in, and the little light beside the plug-in comes on, so I'm guessing it "works", but it was lose enough that I immediately mentioned it so it couldn't be said that it was my fault since they planned on leaving this thing with me for a week while they wait to get paid.

Considering the laptop isn't very old, and looking at a few minor scratches on the otherwise glassy-finish lid, along with the dead HDD and the wobbly power cord, I'm thinking someone dropped this thing and that's what killed the HDD.

At this point, I'm thinking I can just go to CompUSA, buy a replacement SATA drive, use my Vista disk to install the OS, and activate everything with the Vista license key that's plastered on the bottom of this laptop.

Then I get the kicker. Apparently, this thing "fell off the back of a truck". The story this person told them, is that this was a floor model in a store and one of the managers just "took it home" or something. There's plenty of room for interpretation, I've know managers who will sell or give away floor models, but since they want to sound cool they might make it sound like they "jacked it". In any event, this has me a little worried about doing anything with this laptop. The last thing I need is to be on the phone with Microsoft going through activation due to a new HDD, and start getting asked questions about myself before Johnny Law comes knocking on my door for having stolen property.

Now, I already explained to this person that technology-wise, the laptop doesn't seem to have anything wrong with it. (other than the previously mentioned ailments) However, if it really did "fall off the back of a truck" and the HDD was bricked remotely, rather than being the result of a drop, I'd like to let this person know that the laptop is NOT sound technology-wise (if they bricked it once, they'll brick it again)

What do you guys think ? I've got about a week from today to get this ordeal sorted out.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • grinch2171
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think you will be fine. God only knows what the real story of the laptop is and if you get any grief from Microsoft just tell them you are the "IT Guy" for your neighborhood and you are just helping someone out. But I can pretty much guarantee that you will not have any problems with activation.

I've done some shady stuff in the past and never had any problems with getting things activated.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I got ahold of an SATA power adapter so I was finally able to double-check the drive in another computer. I've got another laptop drive that for some reason doesn't work as a primary drive (disk error on boot), but works just fine as a secondary drive, so I wanted to make sure it wasn't something similar with this latest drive.

The drive doesn't show up in any of the BIOS screens when I connect it. When it was in the laptop, I couldn't find it in any of the BIOS screens there either, (there was just a simple HDD test option) so I'm sticking with my conclusion that it's a hardware failure, probably caused by the laptop being dropped. I found what looked like a crack, but turned out to be a gnarly gash in the case going across the hinge today.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I just had to check the date on this thread to see how long this thing's been sitting in my living room. It's been here almost a month already! lol

So I get a call today, "I'm gong to come by and pick up the computer, then bring it back Friday".

Yeah, right. You're going to come here when it's pouring rain outside to pickup a laptop, but so you can what, let it sit somewhere else for three days then bring it back to me? :lol:
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Post 3+ Months Ago

After replacing a harddrive in an HP laptop that typically has a system recovery partition and/or recovery disks, do I have to have an HP recovery disk to get the laptop working again, or can I use a regular Windows DVD ?

I'm trying the regular Windows disk now, but it doesn't seem to make the laptop do anything. It just sits on a black screen while the hdd/optical light blinks rapidly to signify something is being read. I can pop a non-operating-system disk in and the system immediately tells me it's not a bootable disk, so I'm guessing the DVD drive can read.
Moderator Remark: merged
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

So HP support tells me to get a recovery kit, yet when I click the links to get any of the recovery kits, let alone the one I need, I get an error page! :lol:

Code: [ Select ]
error '80004005'

/driver/dr_country_select.asp, line 37
  1. error '80004005'
  2. /driver/dr_country_select.asp, line 37


I'm glad this isn't my computer.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Amazing. The hp recovery kit links completely croak, giving me nothing other than the above error if I use Opera. However, if I use Chrome it takes me to a form.

I'm not sure whether it's an uninterpretable or missing HTTP header, a cookie I don't allow Opera to set, or a Javascript form validation error. I have a good feeling it's something along those lines though.

For a company the size of hp, me getting the site to croak like that just by using Opera is flat out pathetic. I just don't have a nice way to describe it. Whoever is in charge of the website over there should be locked in a room with nothing but a dripping faucet sound playing softly in the background for an hour a day for a month straight for punishment.

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