Artrooks. Just now saw your post, ten minutes after apparently fixing my laptop. Here's a post I left at a site with all of the "ISO stuff." Thanks for the hints Artrooks.
My HP wouldn't boot and I got the exact error described here : http://www.articlesbase.com/data-recovery-articles/resolving-boot-configuration-data-error-0xc000000d-in-windows-7-2449965.html
I called HP tech support. Since the bleepers don't give you a repair disk with your purchase, your only option using their patented (no doubt) recovery console is to WIPE THE ENTIRE DISK.
Certain I would lose important files, I painstakingly backed up the entire hard drive using a friend's SATA / USB adapter. (hours of work). Then it occurred to me to see if there was a way to get my hands on a Recovery Disk.... Bravo! Found a site, but I won't give it here because I get the feeling it's one of those things you don't talk about. Anyway, on a different computer, I burned it using Free ISO Burner (http://www.bootfromcd.com/burn-iso-to-cd/#comment-439
) (click around there a little if you'd like) and didn't have to go through any menus. The new disk immediately identified and fixed the boot file and I'm back up and running. I think the fan may even be working, but it is quiet. Thought I heard it come on for just a few second. In any case, no data lost, can't tell I ever had a problem, and wasted days obtaining the adapter etc when all I needed was that recovery disk. Thanks HP:-( What a company (hate to admit it but I like my entertainment laptop.)
It's off right now waiting for me to move it back to the living room where I can watch the Rangers and check it out further (and surf the web!).
Thanks for all the help Artrooks. Once I see that it isn't overheating, I think I'll do a system backup, then run ckdisk. (Always wondered about those ckdisk options - never used them. Now I know.)