@AutumnFox - first, let me say that oldfred is the expert, not me. You should give priority to his advice; I'm just trying to be of some limited assistance. second, I don't think you mentioned which Ubuntu you tried to Live-boot your old notebook with. Is it the same version you had on the old notebook, or are you trying a newer version? The reason I bring this up is that the newer versions of Ubuntu have changed their support for hardware, which could prevent you from booting the newer version on older hardware. Your best bet would try to Live-boot your old notebook with the same version of Ubuntu you originally had on your HDD before you give up on the old notebook entirely. Cheaper than another notebook to try anyway!