So was the event happening with a different hard drive in there?
Not that I can recall...
However, that alone doesn't entirely isolate it to a hardware issue with the hard drive...
When I swapped it back, I used dd to move the partitions back. IIRC, I also utilized GParted to do some growing / shrinking because the drive I used temporarily while I was trying to rule out the cause of the noise was only 160GB, vs the OEM 250GB that the machine came with.
This laptop isn't new either. I purchased it on eBay for $200 as part of an "as-is" auction. The original owner knew something was wrong with it, tried wiping and re-installing Windows, but still ran sluggish.
I've cleaned out the HSF since I got it, and put some oil in the fan bearings, and it runs just fine over-all. The fan still makes a loud noise though, especially when cold, once it warms up to temp it's barely audible.
IIRC, I only ran it for a couple weeks before swapping out the HDD, and then ran it for a few months before getting around to putting original back in.