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Hard drive problems?

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Here's the background...
My laptop was on, just sitting there. I came to look at it and had the Blue Screen of death, with the "Dumping Physical Memory" message, so I turned it off. A little while later when I tried to reboot, all I got was the black screen/white writing... "media test failure, check cable" "op system not found". Went through the BIOS and put the HD 1st in the BOOT menu... still no luck.
I opened up the HDD slot on the back, and "wiggled" it and tried to push it together. Sure enough, everything works.

Now I have had this happen in the past, and I ended up taking it to a computer repair shop. I remember them telling me something about the connection with the hard drive, which is why I opened it up and gave it a wiggle. I also remember them saying something about my fan being quirky... not sure if this has any direct affect on my problems.

Anyway, is this a problem with the hard drive itself?...and replacing it would be a good idea? Or is it something else I should be looking into?
It's an older(2004ish) Gateway laptop, so I know it's getting old. I just don't really use it for anything demanding, and would like to keep it functioning as long as possible.

Thanks for any help!
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    Portlock - Oahu

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Hard to say what's causing it. You basically have two choices... hard drive, or motherboard. Actually, maybe three, if there happens to be an interface adapter that sits on the hard drive, as it too could be a problem. Since it's intermittent, and getting on in age, all you can really do is use it until something really dies. If its a motherboard problem, it'll be expensive to fix unless you can purchase one from ebay and do it yourself. Then again, you might get a dud on ebay, so no guarantees there either. If you have any important data on the laptop, it would behoove you to do regular backups from now on as it might be the drive and who knows if you'll be able to access it the next time this happens.
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