Also, I'm not sure whether this is related or not, but i've been doing attempting some amatuer problem solving on these, and whilst in the device manager some strange things have been happening.
Scanning for hardware changes, one of my Secondary IDE channels in the IDe ATA/ATAPI Controllers part of the tree had a yellow exclamation mark symbol, i tried troubleshooting but got 'blued' with a message similar to "a thread that is crucial to the system was corrupted or something so the computer has crashed itself to prevent further damage". I then rebooted, scanned for a hardware change again, this time it blued with a kernel-related error which im gonna try to sort out in the software forum now. Since the second crash i have only got one Secondary IDE channel instead of the usual 2.
Does this sound correctable without any spending of money? I have plenty of time, but no money :-)