(having a second laptop with internet access and an ubuntu bootable CD has kept me from being totally dead in the water - so far)
1) After powering off my Windows XP Home edition laptop via holding down the power button, the next time I powered it on, I was confronted with the blue screen of death (BSOD) with STOP code 0x024. Using any of the 5 boot modes (Safe x 3, Last Known Good, Normally) results in the same BSOD.
2) Booting from an XP Recovery Console CD gets me as far as being able to select "Repair XP installation", but after doing so it says only "Examining ###### MB Dksi 0 at Id 0 on bus 0 on atapi..." and hangs. So I am never presented with an opportunity to try chkdsk or anything else.
3) Under ubuntu booted from a CD, I was apparently able to successfully fix the MBR on the hard disk via ms-sys, and also successfully run ntfsfix on the hard disk (NTFS partition) where every action was listed as successful or OK including "Setting required flags on partition". But upon rebooting from the hard disk, I still get BSOD.
4) Under ubuntu I am able to copy files from the hard disk to a flash drive with no problems, so I don't suspect a general hard drive problem. The hard drive was replaced in my laptop only last November (10 months ago) by the Geek Squad, so it shouldn't be dying this soon.
So without the ability to run Windows chkdsk and there apparently not being a Linux chkdsk available, I don't know what else to try of a DIY nature. Am I faced with paying a shop to reformat my hard drive and reinstall Windows? (after which I will have to reinstall all my software and restore files) And what is it they will actually do - pull out my hard drive, connect it to another computer, and reformat from there?
Thanks for any suggestions or info you might be able to provide.