Convoluted hard drive and computer problem - a diary

Someone gave me a HP Pavilion 751n. It had some kind of hard drive problem that caused the boot up to SMART warn me that the drive was at imminent failure. It's a Maxtor with 80GB. It only had around 10gb being used, so I had this plan to take a 30gb Quantum Fireball with 30gb, format it, image copy the Maxtor, and run from the Quantum, then either fix the Maxtor and reverse the above, or just use the Maxtor for storage (they're both 5400 speed). The Quantum was partitioned into roughly 3gb and 27gb (for an old Compaq), and those showed up as different drives. Fine - I formatted them as NTFS drives. Then I went to copy the Maxtor and discovered that it had some funky partition that wasn't a partition, in that the part of the drive that was C was in FAT32, but the bulk of the rest was in NTFS. They are on the same drive somehow - I didn't think that was possible. So you'd think I'd just reformat the small partition to take the small FAT32, right? Well, the small FAT32 section is around 5gb, while the small partition is 3gb as I said. I have a lot of options:
1) repartition the Quantum and reformat, then image copy - but I don't know if that will work
2) keep using the crappy drive and hitting F2 every time I boot up, ignoring the crash warning
3) format them both, use this 95 disk I have, then upgrade with this 98 disk I have, then buy an XP upgrade copy, or
4) Do 3 with a completely new drive.

Complicating the whole thing is that this has an uber-powerful 150V power supply, and I just got a new 256mb nvidia 5200 for this (didn't deserve more, but deserved more than the 64mb onboard). Everything works great until it gets hot unless I keep the case door off.

Does anyone have any kind of useful suggestion using only what I already have? Or if not, the cheapest solution possible?
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More about convoluted hard drive computer problem diary
  1. Throw away the Maxtor (as it's about to die), install the Quantum, and do a full reformat on the Quantum.
    If you don't have decent partitioning software, boot off the freely downloadble Ubuntu 8.10 "Live" CD (doesn't install itself unless you ask it to), and use gparted to partition/format your hard drive.
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