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I have an HP laptop, DV6500 (CTO). It refused to boot one day, so I ran some diagnostics (a friend lent me "Hirens Boot Disk", "UBCD" and "PC DR 6"). Everything passed, except for the hdd. I replaced the HDD with a used drive of unknown condition. Installed windows with no problems. Installed the wireless driver, tried to reboot ... no luck.

So I went to Best Buy, bought a brand new Western Digital 320gb HDD. Put it in the machine, installed windows (vista home premium). Installed the wired networking driver. Tried to reboot. No luck.

Put the first hdd back in the machine, reinstalled windows. Started to install some drivers, went to reboot, and the machine won't come back to life.

Put the second hdd in the machine, rinse wash and repeat.

I've replaced the memory, even though it passed diagnostics. Problem exists with both brand new memory, and old memory.

The BIOS recognizes the hard drive. The computer freezes directly after the bios splash screen, and there is no hard drive activity light.

I've tried two linux live distros (gentoo and ubuntu). Neither would run on this laptop, but will on a different HP laptop. UBCD and Hirens Boot Disk both ran, as did PC Doctor 6 which refuses to test anything (gets stuck at "enumerating hard disks").

Is there anything else I can try?

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Just a thought, but have you verified that the hard disk is included in the boot order in the laptop's BIOS. If it's not in the boot order list, it would explain why you can boot from a CD/DVD, install Windows, then when you reboot it just stops.

The only other thing I can think of is that the HDD controller on the motherboard is failing. If it's that, I'm afraid your only option is replacing the motherboard. Only other thing I can think of that would account for the symptoms, especially when you've tried multiple hard drives.

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I have indeed verified that it's in the boot order. It was third, after CD and USB. I put it first, then second, then back to third. I also considered it being the controller, but I didn't know if that meant replacing the motherboard or not. Thanks – user33579 Apr 8 '10 at 18:02
On most motherboards nowadays, the main HDD controller is almost always part of the motherboard components and not an addon board. If it was a desktop, I'd say add a new controller in an expansion slot and use that. With a laptop that's usually not an option. – BBlake Apr 8 '10 at 18:21

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