HDD transfer... error transferred as well?

I have a malfunctioning Toshiba Satellite A110-225 laptop running Windows XP Home Edition - which, upon booting, displays this error:

'Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware.
Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information.'

Since I did not have a Windows XP cd and my copy is a genuine, I downloaded an .iso of another version copy. I used Wintoflash and PowerISO to create a bootable USB. At first I managed to boot Windows through this (with 2nd, GUI mode as part of the boot.ini) but somehow, somewhere I must have messed up since now the only option is to enter the recovery console. I tried bootcfg /rebuild fixboot, fixmbr and also ran Seatool on USB to check the HDD itself - positive results for both the short and long tests there.
Although I don't know if there are any files on the HDD I want to keep, I'd rather not take any risks and try to recover all of it somehow. The entire HDD can be copied to another HDD (external also?), but since the HDD is thus copied in its entirety, will it not also transfer the error?
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More about transfer error transferred well
  1. It's true that errors are also copied when cloning a hard drive, but only if it's a software or OS error. Your error, however, seems to be related to hardware configuration which would not get copied to another hard drive.

    The error points to something being wrong with the way the drive has been physically connected, or, in the case of a PATA drive, the jumper configuration (ie slave or master) may be incorrect
  2. I don't think so, since I never experienced any problems with the system before the error occured. Never opened that laptop.
    I can't recall exactly but for some reason I did something with the original boot.ini, resulting in a notification displayed shortly on black screen at startup; something like: 'could not read original boot.ini. Booting from c:\boot.ini'. Although at that point I got into Windows, I wanted to fix the minor issue related to that notification and ironically that must be the root of the problem.
    I got some 'can't find hal.dll' errors as well as the one I displayed in the earlier post.
    I have the option to perform a clean install but I won't if I know there is a way to retrieve files I might want to keep.
  3. Then try replacing the SATA cable for the hard drive.
  4. It's all over now. I put the supposedly malfunctioning HDD in my netbook and got the same 'Windows could not start because of a...' message so I formatted it and tried to re-install windows through bootable USB... to no avail.
    Not sure what to do now. I'm thinking of purchasing an SSD for it, but I don't know which are the more reliable ones. I have a Transcend TS64GSSD25-M in my Acer Aspire 1642wlmi and surprisingly it's... damned slow.
    So maybe I'd be better off buying a new netbook - which would also include a more recent OS on it.
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