Toshiba laptop with Windows Vista showing disk read error. At first when booted up it tried to do a Windows repair but would never finish. I tried that about 3 times. Then it came up disk read error. I tried using the recovery disk that came with it,it would say loading Windows files and go no farther. Has my hard drive failed?Should I replace my hard drive and install windows10 or just replace the laptop? The laptop is a p205 satellite with core duo processor, 2gb ram ,120gb hdd, bought in 2006.
I have a similar problem with my Satellite L335 of the same vintage. As you did, I tried to recover the drive using Windows repair 4 times. When I got to a certain point it would simply sit and go no further. I found that it has a bad sector via a message I kept overlooking during the repair/restore operations. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as there can be several bad sectors on a disk and it will still be good to use, but if that sector is in a vital part of the disk such as the boot sector or one of the innermost cylinders of sectors on the disk, you are done with that drive. This is another case where location is everything. One thing I can tell you from my years of computer service experience is this - this particular drive is not ever going to be useful. It can't be used to clone the system either, (a way to copy the contents from one drive to another. What ever data is on it is lost at this point and hopefully your files were previously backed up somewhere other than on that drive. IMPORTANT - do not simply dispose of this or any hard drive - certain software on highly specialized hardware platforms can read the trapped files on it and if there is any personal information there, you will be vulnerable to identity theft and other forms of fraud. Make sure you physically destroy the disk inside the drive before getting rid of it. The government uses powerful shredders to ensure their failed drives are destroyed. You can open the drive case and remove the disk. and then drill holes in it - you can't drill too many. Other destruction methods include smashing the internal disk with a hammer, I recommend a small sledge hammer for this - keep pounding it until it breaks into pieces.
As far as a replacement goes, I am fairly certain that there are some options available to you in SATA 2.5" hard drives, and you will find most are at least 250gb - many 1 terabyte drives are the bulk of the offerings out there, and sale prices are less than $100.00. Someone with recent experience with SSD (solid state drives) would be in better position to advise you on their compatibility with your machine. I retired about the time SSDs were coming on the market so I don't feel qualified to give you much information there, but if it will work with an SSD you will be making a good investment regarding performance and durability over a standard hard disk drive.
I have found that the damaged sector/s are in cylinder zero and there isn't any solution for that other than replacement. Apparently there was HDI which caused the damage and once the disk and/or read/write heads have physical damage there is no fixing that. The computer was new in 2006, so I got plenty of use out of the HDD - fortunately all working files that were on it are backed up on other media so they can be reloaded when necessary. Thank you for taking the time and effort to answer this question.