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Toshiba Portege R100...HDD Bad? How to fix?

Started by iansl, December 27, 2007, 20:59 hrs

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It all started when this new-to-me machine, which was dropped several weeks ago to seemingly no ill effect on anything but the case, froze as it seemed to be going into slleep mode. Or maybe hibernation. In any case the Teletubbies-green hills were the only thing on the screen, when I decided to power the machine off...as it had been sitting that way for several minutes, something it had never done. A few seconds later after depressing the power button, it was off. Maybe twenty minutes later, I turned the laptop back on again. But this time no Windows XP Pro SP2 startup screen, just the following error, after and while hearing the hard drive repeatedly do a short seek:
Invalid Boot.ini
Booting from C:\windows\

Or something very similar. At any rate, the machine would restart after a few minutes of showing this and repeat the process: BIOS boot screen, black screen, error screen.

So I have a few questions:
1. Do I have a bad 1.8" 40GB hard disk on my hands? If so, where to get a new one? An iPod? Maybe a $350 classic's 160 gig would work? Or maybe I could run GRC's SpinRite on the drive?
2. How would I access the drive to either fix the boot.ini, scan it with SpinRite or other software, reinstall Windows, etc.? I didn't get an optical or other drive with this eBay purchase and I didn't see anything in the BIOS for USB booting...does that mean on this Toshiba Portege R100 ultralight that I need to get a 1.8" to USB drive adapter or something even more exotic?
3. If I do need to reinstall Windows is there anything special I need to do if I reinstall by slaving the drive in a tower I have sitting around, assuming I can get it out of this two-and-a-half-pound rig? Or should I just disconnect both of the current HDD IDE cables and only connect the 1.8" to the mobo for less software confusion?

This little guy is my main college machine now for taking to classes and such...lovely to carry around an ultraportable with 6+ hours of battery life...and school starts the 9th of January, so help would be appreciated in relatively short order, lest I need to get another laptop (ugh) or use my 15" Dell 1505 (UGH). Thanks in advance!

P.S. Yea I'm double-posting, once at Poasters Computer Forum and once at Helponthe.net.
Dell Inspiron e1505, Core Duo T2050, 1 GB DDR2-533, 160GB WD Scorpio 5400RPM HDD, 8x DVD+\-\DL burner, GMA 950, WXGA panel, Windows Vista Ultimate, Office 2K7 Pro (thx M$)

iMac Aluminum 2.4GHz 20" w\4GB RAM, LP1965 LCD, OS X 10.5.2 + WinXP Pro
Macbook Air 1.6GHz 80GB HDD, OS X 10.5.2 + WinXP Pro, SuperDrive addon

The man, the mac user, the cell phone