Now, while we talk about a "hard disk", the reality is that a drive often consists of a number of disks (called platters) which are accessed with a head shaped like a comb. My replacement was also a 250GB barracuda but one with a single platter instead of two, technology having marched on in the meantime. A computer geek would say: "no logical difference".
However, there is a physical difference, the BIOS does not normally allow for IDE devices with more than 1,024 cylinders. This is normally worked around with software. However, it restricts the boot blocks to the first 8 GB of the disk. This was a problem for the dual boot process. In the end, Gadget couldn't figure out how to get it to work, so we decided to eliminate the Win32 partition. This was only intended for use with Norton Ghost for backups and the old version that it was running couldn't do that either.
For a backup solution, I bought a 1TB LAN disk. Unfortunately, we couldn't get that to work properly either, so it was returned for a refund.
New televison set
I finally knuckled under and bought a new 52" LCD TV, a Sony Bravia The old TV upstairs was send down to Melbourne to live with my parents at Christmastime. This was replaced with the one from the lounge. I rarely watch TV in my room though. (Actually, I remind myself that Allison also has a TV tuner card. I hardly ever watch TV on this machine though.)
For the new TV set I bought a new stand, a glass one, the largest size which could possibly be carried in the car, which means very heavy indeed. It also required a couple of hours to painstakingly assemble. The next task was to hoist the newly-delivered TV atop the stand. This too was accomplished but I'm not sure how. Once atop its stand the TV worked fine and looks very good.
Next was a media centre (codenamed Laura). A case, CPU, and RAM was purchased, and a really cute wireless keyboard. And a TV tuner card. It came with a DVD burner and wireless. The 1TB hard disk was installed in it. The wireless allows it to talk to the wireless access point upstairs, so it can access the internet. Unfortunately, all we had for an OS was Windows Vista Ultimate. (I hope not.) This is a real pain and the machine has suffered a number of mysterious crashes. There is hope that a series of upgrades has remedied this.