Found the cause to my long time problem
Okay, so I've been through three hard drives already. I finally found out today that it wasn't the hard drive that's causing my computer to randomly crash and fail to boot up for the past 1.5 years.
Here's the skinny. I'm running a modified Compaq (I know they suck). I've had problems ever since the beginning. Their customer service sucked so warranty didn't help out at all.
Anyways, every time I had a problem (failure to boot up, crash etc.), I would just backup my files and do a reformat and reinstall the OS. Eventually, I replaced my first hard drive because I thought that that was causing the issue. After that, I replaced my second hard drive because the problems keep coming back.
Turns out that the system recovery CDs from Compaq were causing the problem. They would create two separate partitions on the drive everytime I reformated and one of the partitions would be corrupted (the partition that all the data are stored on).
To skip to the point, I want to reformat the drive with a Windows XP Home CD and not the stupid recovery CDs. I have the the Windows XP product key. However, where would I get a CD? Would Microsoft send me one if I told them I had a completely valid product key?
Also, now that the drive is partitioned, can I restart fresh again with just one partition?
Admin and mods, not sure if this is exactly the right forum, so move accordingly.