Okay, so here's my biggest problem; I don't know for sure if the problem is the HDD or something else. If it is the HDD, I don't know if the problem is that the disc died, or I got a virus. It's possible, I just switched from norton to a free AV.
The solution I thought of; I've got an old PC sitting about. I take the HDD from that, put it in my current PC, run the recovery media on it so I basically have the vista machine that it was when I first got it. It's not ideal, but at least it'll be enough to get me online and let me know the HDD is the only problem while I wait to be able to get a 7 OEM disc.
Is this a good idea, or will I just make things worse on myself?