Well, my mind is blown. Running it from the disk allowed me to pass 16gb of the memory. I will test the other 16gb when I go to work. Also, ironically, my mobo only supports 4gb sticks of memory but I am running 8gb sticks. We'll see what happens when I try to populate all four slots with 8gb but that won't be until tomorrow assuming the other 16gb passes.
Now, the HDD. I assume this means that it is bad. I'll test with SeaTools and report back.