I restored a system from a years-old near-as-shipped clone of my Dell D600 a few days ago using a brand-new hard drive and have been slowly rebuilding and reinstalling applications. This does have the benefit of possibly being the only way to get rid of the massive amount of junk that piles up on your hard drive over time. (I do not trust registry cleaners anymore as they seem more likely to destroy my computer than to clean it up.) But after three days, the will-read-but-won't-boot problem started again. And it's getting worse, in that the drive fails to boot after only three or four cycles. This may mean that the problem lies elsewhere, and alas, I think the motherboard of the machine into which it's installed is the next likely-looking culprit. Installing a new motherboard into the laptop is a bit beyond my abilities, and I definitely can't afford a new computer, not with The Largest Check I've Every Held in my hands right now for delivery to the title company on Tuesday. Therefore, I have bids in on eBay for otherwise-working but no-hard-drive Dell D600s. It looks like they can be had for less than $100. If so, I may possibly be able to just rebuild (from the old as-shipped copy, cloned up again) onto a hard drive and start over. I hope.
I'm on my way up to Fernley to work from there this coming week, having stopped in Colfax (last Starbucks before Reno) for a late lunch.