The laptop was purchased used in April 2007. It worked well until the hard drive died in May 2011. I replaced the hard drive with a Samsung HM160HC 160 GB hard drive and it worked well until very recently.
The owner complained that it would no longer boot and was getting some sort of hard drive error. When I received it, I could not get the system to show a boot error message but the screen came up discolored and flashed on and off and would not boot. The power was on but there was no display.
As time went on the flash lasted for shorter and shorter duration. I attached an external monitor and was able to get the f8 screen of boot choices. Both regular and safe mode failed and repeatedly recycled to try to boot. I also tried the last known good boot and it also failed.
There seems to be some life in the drive because the safe boot brings up a long list of files until it hangs for a bit on mup.sys.
I was able to once get it to not attempt a repeat on failure and it produced an unmountable boot device failure.
I booted it off of a UBCDWin CD and it could not see the hard drive.
In summary, it looks like the video is gone and the hard drive may have some problems.
What is the next step in zeroing in on the system problems?