Just wanted to share my good news. I took the second part of the A+ today and passed! I also wanted to express my appreciation to everyone in the ITProTV family for their combined effort and contribution that helped me reach my goal. I realize that it takes all of the staff here (and the members) to make ITProTV the awesome family that it is. Thank you all!
Now, on to Net+. : )
Thank you all for the advice. I recreated the two error messages and took a picture of them.
-I have backed up all of my files to an external drive (just in case)
-I have created a system image on a separate external hard drive
-I have made a system repair disk on a DVD using the tool within windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
With the failing hard drive in the laptop- I inserted the system repair disk (DVD) and am able to boot from the Recovery environment. I got to the choose language screen, picked US and selected next. I stopped at the next screen because I don't want recover the system image on the failing drive. I did this just to see if the disk was good. I assume it is since I was able to boot from it.
I replaced the failing hard drive with the new one (failing drive 750GB new drive 2TB)
I attached the external hard drive that has the system image on it and started the computer
I went into BIOS and checked the boot order to check that the external hd was first
When the computer tried to boot I got this message
With the new hard drive still installed
I inserted the system repair disk (DVD) and restarted the computer
I went into BIOS and made sure DVD rom was first in boot order
It seemed to be booting from the disk as it had when I had the failing drive. I said windows is loading files, then a cmd box came up as it did when doing this with old drive installed.
Then instead of bringing up the select language screen as it had when the old drive was installed it went to an error screen.
Since I cannot get to the recovery environment booting from the repair disk with the new hard drive installed should I reinstall the old drive and go through the troubleshooting suggestion Adam mentioned and then make a new system image and a new system repair disk?
I created the system image (on a 2TB external hard drive) per the instructions above and also made a system repair disk (on a DVD -R) when I was prompted to do so after making the system image. I then shut down the computer and removed the battery (a correction to my original post I am working on a laptop not a desktop). I then removed the old 750GB hard drive and installed the new 2TB hard drive. I re-installed the battery and restarted the computer, went into BIOS to change the boot order to the usb external hard drive. I got an error message saying something about "No disk that can be used for recovering the system disk can be found". I then tried booting from the repair disk that I made and got an error "non-system disk or disk error". I read something online about someone else having an issue when they had a usb mouse/keyboard plugged in. I unplugged the usb mouse/keyboard and was able to start booting from the repair disk but it only went so far and then I got an error message screen that had BCDEDIT at the top of the screen and ERROR in big red letters in the middle of the screen.
I thought that possibly the repair disk was corrupt so I removed the new hard drive and replace the old drive. I was able to boot from the repair disk so I assume the repair disk isn't the problem.
As I mentioned in my original post, I am a newbie, so please forgive me if I am overlooking something simple or not understanding what you meant. I also understand if this is too difficult (or not appropriate) for this forum.