|Thanks for the thanks.|
You could try this...
Seagate's SeaTools will test (almost) any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
(If SeaTools can't detect the drive controller, it can't detect the hard drive - you need to use a hard drive diagnostics program that the hard drive brand or the laptop brand provides, if avialable.)
The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools can be used even if Windows is not working properly, or even when the drive has no data on it.
On another computer, go there and download the bootable Dos version - I recommend the older version 1.09
If the laptop has a floppy drive, you can make a bootable SeaTools floppy disk, if the other computer has a 3.5" floppy drive.
Or - you can make a bootable CD from an *.iso file they provide, but you need to use a "burning" program that make a CD from an *.iso file. The one that's built into XP can't do that. There are free burning programs on the web that you can install that can do that.
Boot the laptop from the floppy disk or the CD, run the SeaTools long test.
If it finds more than 99 LBA errors, the test will quit running . There's no hope for fixing the 40 gb drive.
If it finds fewer than 99 LBA errors, you can try using the zerofill utility SeaTools offers after the test has finished to get rid of the errors (bad sectors) .
I have done that several times with drives SeaTools found a small number of LBA errors for in the long test, and SeaTools fixed all the bad sectors, or at least, the result was no bad sectors (LBA errors) on the long SeaTools test showed up after that.
Running the zerofill utility sets all the bits on the drive to 0 - it wipes the existing data off the drive.
You would need to start over from scratch to install an operating system.
Note that there is a major disadvantage these days when you install ME or previous or Windows 2000, regarding using the internet.
Windows 98SE comes with an older Internet Explorer version that no longer works properly on the internet. It must be updated.
Windows 2000 (at least when it has no SP updates) comes with Internet Explorer 5.x, it must be updated for the same reason.
Both 98SE (98 to ME) and 2000 can be updated to Internet Explorer 6 SP1, that works a bit better than Internet Excplorer 6 on the internet,
(Download) Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1
- you cannot install Internet Exploer 7 or 8 in either case, by default
- you cannot install newer versions of the Adobe Flash Player that many web sites use on their web pages in 98SE (98 to ME) beyond a certain version by default
- you get (Java or Windows version of Java or Windows ) script errors on many web pages, and sometimes long delays loading web pages because of those errors, because the script wasn't meant to be used with IE 6 or IE 6 SP1.
You can install a older version of other internet browsers, such as Firefox or Opera, that will work better than IE 6 SP1 on the internet, however you can't install the latest versions, and it probably will still not work 100% properly.
- there is a small open source program that I discovered that you can install in 98SE (98 to ME, maybe 2000 ?) that "fools" a lot of programs into detecting a newer operating system - and you can use that program to emulate the newer Windows version when installing a program yourself . When that has been installed, you can install the latest version or at least a much newer version of an internet browser program in 98SE, and the Adobe Flash program has no problem installing versions of it newer than 98SE (98 to ME. maybe 2000) can normally have installed in it
I installed a much newer version of Opera on 98, although not the latest one, the same can be done for 98SE. That is the same situation for the latest or a much newer version of FireFox on that Win 98 computer.
(I don't know if you can install Internet Explorer 7 or 8 when you use that open source program - I didn't try that. - I doubt it. )
That open source program can probably also be installed in 2000.
If you need more info about that open source program and which versions of other internet browsers work in 98SE before and after installing it, I can find that info on the Win 98 computer. work.
I have no working Windows 2000 installation on any of my computers to test the open source program and newer internet browsers with.
Windows 2000 should be updated with SP4 updates if they're not built into it.