Hard Drive Failure
Okay, here's the deal:
A few weeks ago I was playing Need for Speed Most Wanted: Black Edition. It's normally always worked fine for me, but this particular day it was very buggy. I restarted. Nothing changed. Waited a couple of days, tried it again, same problem. I would have tried to go more in depth, but I figured it was time for a reformat, anyway (I'd been meaning to do it for quite some time), so I figured no time like the present, right..? Yeah. After deleting my HD's partition and creating a new one, I went to format it, and... it froze. Every. Time. Once it went as high as 88% before freezing and would go no further, another time it wouldn't even get to 1%. Finally, out of desperation, I deleted the partition, AGAIN, and used the quick format option. This time it worked, and everything installed nicely. The next day, as I was reinstalling my programs, the pc froze. I turned it off and when I turned it back on, it would not recognize the hard drive. The exact message is this:
Primary hard disk drive 0 not found. Strike the f1 key to continue, f2 to run the setup utility.
Basically, it thinks my hard drive isn't there. I checked all the cables, everything was secure (I thought something may have come loose after I added some more RAM and a new video card a couple months before, though why it would start to give me problems now I couldn't even begin to guess at). As I sit here typing this, it occured to me that I didn't try swapping out the cables for my secondary hdd (I don't have one, but the connectors are there, just in case) just to make sure that wasn't it, but I doubt it, considering the problems I had while reformatting, which I think was essentially the beginning of the end for my hdd.
So my question is, what exactly is involved with installing a new hdd? Can I basically swap out the old one for the new one, reinstall my old OS (Windows XP), and it'll be like starting from scratch? Or is it more involved than that?
My PC is a Dell Dimension 8200. Yes, I know it's old, but a new HDD would only cost me $50, as compared to $300-$400 for one of the cheapest new PC available - which I really don't want, if I'm going to upgrade, I'm at least going to get something decent, and I'm going to be a poor college student until May anyway, so in the short term, less expensive is better. The HDD is IDE Ultra ATA100. I have 768 mb RAM and a Radeon 9550.