Thank you for taking time to read my post. Here is my issue in as concise of terms as possible:
1. Computer is a Sony Vaio VGC-RC110G (not sure about motherboard)
2. About 3 weeks ago computer starts refusing to boot giving errors that make me think the hard drive is bad. Computer will still occasionally boot after 5-10 tries.
3. I bought a new hard drive and tried to create an image of the old drive onto the new using Clonezilla, the process gave a few errors.
4. The computer flatly refused to boot from the new drive (gave disk read errors). However, when I could boot using the old drive, I could get in and explore the image of the new drive and the image copy process seemed to have worked okay.
5. As part of the disk image copy process, my new drive had 2 partitions and about 900 megs of free space. The two partitions were the main windows partition from the old drive and the recovery partition.
6. I combined all partitions and formatted the new drive (using Gparted) because I thought that the disk image copy probably just recreated errors in the old drive onto the new.
7. After the format, my computer then consistently refused to boot from either drive. (in the past I could boot to the old drive after a couple of tries). The error was usually "a disk read error occurred' or "BOOTMGR is missing."
8. Attempts to install windows using windows install DVD failed because computer couldn't write to the new hard drive.
9. Both hard drives would usually appear in bios when I entered into it (I know at least one time where neither appeared in the bios), although sometimes computer would fail allow me to edit bios altogether.
10. I attached the new hard drive to a DIFFERENT COMPUTER and installed a clean version of windows 7 Ultimate x86 to the new drive. The DIFFERENT COMPUTER boots just fine from the new hard drive.
11. But when I move the new hard drive to back to the old computer I consistently now get "a disk read error occurred" error.
12. I don't believe it is a SATA cable issue because power to drive seems to be fine and I had to use the SATA cable from the old computer when hooking the drive up to the DIFFERENT COMPUTER and it worked fine. Also, Gparted recognizes the drive just fine and has no problems formatting partitions etc., so there is communication happening through the SATA cable and the power cable is powering adequately.
TL;DR summary: New hard drive works fine with new computer, but old computer (when connected to same new hard drive) gives me a "disk read error occurred." Based on the evidence, I don't think it's a faulty drive issue. I'm also skeptical that it's a cable issue, but haven't 100% ruled out this possibility. What should I do next in terms of identifying the problem? I've currently exhausted my (admittedly limited) hardware troubleshooting expertise. Thanks again for helping me work on this. I appreciate it.
P.S. Edited for clarity, typos, punctuation, etc.