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Computer is an HP Mini 2140 with a 160gb SATA 5400rpm HDD.

My problem is the computer recently stopped booting Windows for no apparent reason. I wasn't even using the computer at the time (had barely used it at all in recent weeks). It gets to the Windows logo screen with the scrolling marquee/progress bar, then blacks out back to the initial boot screen.

Trying to access the recovery console via a USB external DVD drive with a Windows XP disc inserted and booting from that results in it starting the disc boot, until it says "Starting windows" at the bottom of the setup screen, and then throws a blue-screen with a "STOP: 0x0000007B" error, which I know means "INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE."

Every article I found via Google recommends trying to fix this by way of the recovery console, but I can't even get to that point without getting this error. I'm inclined to think this means the HDD is finished, and would rather not order a new drive for this as it's a fairly cheap netbook and really wouldn't be worth the trouble (unless I can find an ample replacement for very cheap, which I haven't yet).

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can try, if anything, to fix this before resorting to buying a new HDD or buying a new netbook all together?

Thanks!

-B
 

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Additional information: I just tried burning an ISO of the recovery console and trying that. It now allows me to get to the screen where I have the option to press "r", but after doing so, it says that there is no hard drive installed on the computer (there is). Is this what happens with a bum HDD?

I definitely heard the HDD "clicking" when I let it try to start up Windows XP normally (before it cuts back to the initial boot screen), so the computer does recognize it in some way. But recovery console does not.
 

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there is no hard drive installed on the computer.... heard the HDD "clicking"
The hard drive has failed. A clicking drive is a great indication of this. You can test this theory by downloading the ISO image for either Seatools or Drive Fitness in my signature and burning the image to CD with IMGBurn also in my signature and booting off of the disc and running the Quick and the Advanced tests. If either fails, the drive needs to be replaced.
 
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