i get to the bottom of the boot screen read out, just below the boot from cd option, in the sequence that pumps out the OS choice screen next, but it hangs before it gets there.
tried everything, at wits end...
Try setting your hard disk as the first boot device, in your BIOS menu. Look for "boot order" or something similar. If you don't know how to do this, check the manual.
thanks, good advice, found it myself shortly after posting actually, turns out it was more than my bios having two places for boot order, once they matched, & as it turns out more importantly, i swapped drives, no problem...
it was blowing my mind because i could see, read & write to the drive in the 'cmd' facility used off of the OS install disk, i could boot from CD, but it still would not boot the HD no matter what.
so i want to make the point that confusing the issue was that the MBR on the original HD had failed, which was different than if just the BCD had gotten hosed (which i managed to replace in 'cmd'), if you will see, having the MBR failure made it so the motherboard never even "saw" the BCD in order to point it at the OS on the drive, i know for sure now because the original HD works fine as a slave, it just won't boot as first device.
i hope this helps someone else!
i had an EXTREMELY hard time finding applicable help for this problem~
it seems most people would have replaced the drive right away, but i wouldn't because i could access it thru subsystems, it was only after researching what the MBR is & how it works that gave me the clue it could partially fail, rendering the drive not completely useless, but unable to boot an OS.