I'm running Ubuntu 10.4 on my sister-in-law's old laptop. It was a freebie as in her opinion it wasn't good anymore; she had been told it needed a new hard drive among other things. So, when I started having problems booting up (I wiped out Windows when I installed Ubuntu, right now Ubuntu is the only OS on the machine), I assumed the problem was the presumed faulty hard drive.
The problem is getting worse though. Now when I turn on the computer, I have to manually turn it off and turn it on again many times before it will actually boot up into Ubuntu. So now I'm wondering if maybe the problem isn't the hard drive but a bad install.
During failed boot-ups, the machine sometimes hangs on a black screen with a flat cursor in the top-left corner, sometimes it hangs after displaying what I assume to be memory address locations and error messages (I wish I could remember what they were right now, but I can't. I'll write them down next time if it's important.), and every once in a while I get a message warning of kernel panic.
So, I'm asking for opinions: Does this sound like a simple hardware problem, or did something go wrong with my installation? Would anybody recommend a complete re-install of Ubuntu?