"Boot device not recognised"

Hi all. My partner hasn't used her pc for about a year now as we just use mine and she was having trouble with her hard drive (it just said something along the lines of "boot device not recognised" or ".....failed to load" or something along those lines). We're now giving the pc to a relative (minus the hard drive). Since we wanted to get rid of the HD, we wanted to zero-write it first. So, to do that, i took the HD from her pc and plugged it in to mine to do it from there.

Here's the bit i don't get: I've got Windows 7 and the other HD has XP on it. After plugging it in and forgetting to make sure the boot sequence wasn't changed, i turned on my pc and XP starts loading up. What i want to know is how come it wouldn't work on her computer, (to the point where we thought it was a faulty hard drive because this is the 2nd one she's had where it happened) but it works on mine?

Since I'll be giving my uncle the old pc, i'm worried that it'll show the same problems for him if it wasn't the hard drive that was at fault but i have no idea what it could be.

So what do you think? Is it the hard drive, a connector, the PSU, the motherboard?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

P.s. when the hard drive was plugged in to my pc, i ran error-checking on the disc from Windows 7 and it found and fixed an error on it; i think it was just a bit of space that was free but incorrectly marked as allocated.
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More about boot device recognised
  1. Try downloading Western Digital's WinDLG application and testing the drive. Try a new xp install. If this doesn't work it's got to be one of the other devices you mentioned.

    Bad ram can cause all kinds of symptoms. Run a ram test from any Linux boot CD. Does the bios monitor the voltage settings. Try replacing the SATA cable. Try re flashing the bios.

    If you have gotten this far, it's got to be the mobo.

    Best, Michael
  2. The cable could've came loose. The motherboard port could be going bad. The BIOS could've been reset, changing the controller.
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