Normally you wouldn't expect installing RAM would affect your hard drive, but if you weren't properly grounded and touched a circuit board, you could have possibly fired a component causing unpredictable results. Were you properly grounded? It's also possible that your hard drive was on the verge of crapping out anyway, had you gotten any warnings? How did you run the SMART self test? Was this some boot option or did you run a disk diagnostic you got from somewhere? What diagnostic was it that you used?
I installed a new 1G RAM to an XP which had 516MB. I afterwards started my computer and got a boot disk failure. I had gone into the BIOS and it read the 1G card. Thinking it might not be compatible; I removed it again and only left in the original RAM. I received the boot disk failure again.
I did a SMART short self-test. It failed at 7 (completed with the read element of test failed).
Is there something I can do to fix this? Do I really have to replace the hard drive? How could I have damaged the HD by inserting new ram?