Damn those 40GB deathstars! Awhile back, I bought 4 at different times for family/friends computers. Only 1 survives today, and I don't trust it for s@#t needless to say, but I still use it to anyway for unimportant stuff.
1 was in my sisters comp, died in little over a year with the click of death, used the drive fitness test from IBM and it fully recovered running fine for quite awhile with no unrecovered sectors, then died fatally a few months ago.
Another was in a friend of mines computer that I built for him couple years ago, just died a few days ago. Have his comp at my house right now doing up his new HDD for him in my spare time. Luckily it still would run in PIO mode so I was able to backup all his stuff. This one acted almost the exact opposite of yours pollushon. This drive WOULDN'T show up in the bios anymore, but it DID run fine in Windows (well, if you call PIO fine.. lol slower than crap, but DMA just would NOT enable). I don't know if running the drive fitness test utilities will recover this one, don't know if I'll even bother trying anyway.
I can't remember who had the 4th one right now but it went crunch too. Ya I hate that freakin drive.
I been buying WD mostly lately, never have a problem with them. Have bought several of them over the years, and I can't think of a single one that has failed for anyone. Maybe I've just been lucky, but WD has been very good to me. I even have some pretty dang old WD drives around that still work perfectly, only retired because theyre just too damn small.