Well, here's what I did & found:
- The BIOS sees the drive
- The boot drive wasn't first in the sequence, so I made that change
--- When I made it first in the sequence I got a very long delay, followed by a "A Disk Read Error Occurred Press ctrl+alt+delete to restart" message
--- This is repeatable, as is the "Error Loading OS" message when in the other sequence
- I disconnected the subject drive and I get the "Eror Loading OS" message - not surprising since no OS on the ones remaining
- I didn't bother resetting the BIOS by removing the battery since the messages now seem to point to the drive as the problem
I'm hoping for less than the worst here. While awaiting a response I plan to use a retired IDE drive, do a clean Windows XP Pro install to it with no other drives in the system, then see what I can salvage/back up from the troublesome drive... I know, I should have had a current backup
The drive is less than a year old, so there is warranty involved. Naturally I want to capture what I can from it before any possibly destructive activities, then head down the diagnostics, repair, and/or return path.
Please provide recommendations of next steps for dealing with the drive that's causing the troubles.