And want to add that the exact same thing is happening to me in a series of IBM Thinkpads, that being WDC 250GB and 320GB disks working for a while then giving me the blank screen with the cursor in the upper left. I have recovered by re-cloning using Acronis True Image 11 from a 100GB disk, and restoring from a separate backup drive.
Many asked how to create secondary (logical) partitions - I use windows built in DISKPART, or Acronis Disk Director 10. I will re-size the disk tonite before shutdown and re-allocate the remainder as a D: or E: drive. I will report back if anyone is interested.
I used disk director 10 to re-size the boot partition to 128GB (137,438,953,472 bytes) and rebooted it and it works just fine. I partitioned the rest of the disk to a logical partition.
Then i cloned it onto my two 320GB HDDs and these have been working just fine. Evidently ThinkPad T30s even with IBMs last made BIOS do not have the 48bit LBA support needed to overcome this. Not a worry since i can just store the large files on the extended partition. Plus i bought a SATA 500GB HDD for the ultrabay and got a dock with its own ultrabay for the DVD/ CDRW, so i have plenty of storage.
It would have been nice to know this earlier. I have been re-cloning the drives to correct this for SIX MONTHS since this first happened! Of course that's my fault for not looking it up.
Thanks to the original posters in the referenced thread in my OP!