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Area51 is ill, won't boot Windows or Ubuntu

Area51 won't boot up correctly, and the behavior is quite odd. I was able to boot off of my handy Ubuntu 10.10 disk, however, which rules out most problems with the motherboard, RAM, video, networking -- it looks like there's some problem reading the hard drive. I want to do some troubleshooting on the hard disk partitions, since that seems to be the most likely source of the problems. This is right after I ran that disk utility, but the computer booted since then. Fortunately, since I can get onto the Internet, I can log my work right here on this blog. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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