i tired doing what you said, and nothing came up on the external.
i then proceded to take the keyboard off to look inside, and nothing seems to be unpluged or broken.
my guess was that someting had come loose, because when it first happened, the computer would turn on, and it would procede to either the Compact or the Windows XP splash screens, then freeze. once in a blue moon after having jiggled it around, the computer would start up perfect, then freeze if i bumped it or plugged someting in (flash drive, moniter, etc). so i tried opening it, (and back then i didnt think to try and find a manual, so i had even less idea of what i was doing then i do now), and now, i will turn it on, it sounds like its starting up, but no beep to let me know it started, and the fans/hard drive simply runs.
could someting be loose or broken?