Now when my computer boots up, it got stuck at "PCI devices listing". So then I took out the other sound card (the Creative) and then it rebooted and hung at "Boot from CD/DVD". If I go into my BIOS and swap around the boot order to boot HD before CD, it just goes back to hanging at "PCI devices listing". I've taken out every single PCI card except for the video card because that's my only monitor connection and it still hangs at "PCI devices listing". It can still boot into CD to Ubuntu, however. And it's pretty old - booting it to the list of PCI devices tells me that it still uses USB 1.1. Ran Memtest86 using ubuntu cd boot and results were "Pass complete, no errors". All the hard drives show up in BIOS as expected. Used Ubuntu to check disk integrity and tells me "check finished: no errors found."
Ran, from BIOS, both last known good and fail-safe configurations - neither worked.
In the past two years, I've had to reformat my HD twice for what I THOUGHT were HD corruptions or windows file corruptions - similar problems booting into OS although I don't remember the specific errors - is it possible that my motherboard is just going south? I think in one case it might have blue screen of death'd and then refused to ever boot again and then in the second case, while still running windows, my computer stopped recognizing that a drive was plugged in while it was still in Windows XP (it just... lost a drive when I looked at the "My Computer") and when I rebooted it, it refused to boot back into windows somehow. In both those cases, I was also able to boot from CD to Ubuntu or the Windows reinstall DVD.
I am completely willing to get a new motherboard and/or reformat another HD, but I don't really want to spend the money and effort if those are not even the problems. Seriously, having to dedicate a weekend to reformatting and reinstalling tons of new programs and everything else every 8 months is terrible. If it is not the motherboard, then why are all my hard drives seemingly going south constantly for no reason? They're all Western Digitals within four years of purchase, so I don't get why they would implode for no reason over and over. Note that because I thought they were HD problems, I removed the old HDs and reinstalled windows XP on new ones. Also, if the problem is in the motherboard, why can I still boot to ubuntu?
General: this was almost all bought in 2007
Running Windows XP 86x
Crackly soundcard: M-AUDIO Revolution 5.1 5.1 Channels PCI Interface High-Definition Sound Card
Not-crackly soundcard: Creative sound blaster audigy from like eight years ago
Videocard: SAPPHIRE 100216L Radeon HD 3850 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
Mobo:GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard
Processor:Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
RAM: 2 1GB sticks
3 WD Harddrives (SATA) and one IDE old harddrive from generic manufacturer.