The hard drive I put in recently also started to fail. I saw the signature symptoms.... for example, it would occasionally say I didn't have permission to write to it. Last night, it started hanging a lot when I did simple tasks like playing World of Warcraft while listening to mp3's. I didn't put the clues together till they hit me right in the face, though.
This morning, Windows couldn't boot. It could get pretty far in the boot process but would always just lock up and fail. Seeing that I would have to reinstall Windows again, I decided to declare it a hardware failure and just went back to Fry's to get a new drive. I decided that since it had only been 2 weeks, I would just return it and buy a new drive of a different brand.
I bought a Maxtor drive of the same size and specs. Little did I realize how similar the specs were. I noticed the packaging was very similar... both drives were made in Thailand... then when I hooked it up, my motherboard identified the drive as STM-3500.... That's odd, that's like a Seagate drive identifier (ST = Seagate Technologies). Finally I decided to check and sure enough: Seagate owns Maxtor now. This isn't breaking news to anybody who follows hard drive manufacturers, but since I don't, it was news to me.
Basically I went to the store with the intention of getting a different model just in case but I ended up with the exact same drive just sold under a different brand name.
Ah well, this is your second chance, Seagate.... don't fail me again.