Sony Support did replace the dodgy/faulty harddrive, and I re-imaged it to Windows 7. Was tempted to keep it there, but I kept getting that intermittent futz error that no one could figure out what was causing it. It was more a necessity, as the computer was Windows 8 ready, but Windows 8 hadn’t been released. There was something with it that wasn’t quite compatible with Windows 7, hence the error I would intermittently get.
So, after updating all software, uninstalling certain items I knew would need to be reinstalled, I made a Windows 7 full system image, girded my loins, and went through the Windows 8 upgrade.
Long tedious with reboots, updating, reinstalling, tweaking, all is set up and working (Yes, Jennifer, I was able fix the issues I was having this morning). Now, just waiting to hear back from certain software makers about new license numbers, as my machine ID changed because of the hardware change.
I seriously hope I never have to do this again, for a long long time.