|I initially assumed that the BIOS *must* be run from Vista, now I'm not so sure.|
"when I did flash it, it was like a year and a half ago, and since then the Gateway site has changed. I can't even download the file anymore."
I don't know what you're doing wrong, but I just downloaded it to my XP desktop, unzipped it & have a folder named "6804" full of files. And in the README file, there's a description of what this new BIOS is for:
"This BIOS update includes updates needed for Windows Vista to function properly."
So if you're not running Vista, updating to this BIOS is probably pointless. I highly doubt there's anything wrong with your current BIOS unless you somehow mucked it up.
"I was having way too many problems running the Gateway Windows MCE Restore Operating system and at the time, thought that the only thing that could be the problem was the BIOS because I had just purchased some 3rd party software to format the hard drive"
Why would you need 3rd party software to format? And why on earth would you pay for it?? There are just way too many good, free, open source programs available these days that there's really very little need to purchase software anymore. You also could have used the HDD manufacturer's software.
Which 3rd party program did you buy? And why were you unable to partition & format using the Windows CD? Is it possible the 3rd party program wiped the hidden Windows installation partition & that's why the MCE disc wouldn't work properly?
"I am using a friends laptops manufacturer system restore dis (Windows XP Home) and am getting better results"
Technically, you're not supposed to do that...in fact, I'm surprised it worked at all.
The bottomline is this: unless you botched the BIOS update, the BIOS is probably not your problem. Start looking in other directions...overheating, bad RAM, etc.
Check your PMs for the contents of the README file from the BIOS download.