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The linux kernel comes with most of the driver modules you'll require to get a system server up.
Except maybe, video. so choose a medium resolution VESA (to be safe).
one other problem I see, is
grub and the MBR, may be written taking into account that the
other HDD is there and this will mess up the hdd locations recorded during setup!
Personally, if you can, replace the hd in an other laptop, install the linux system
And put the hd back and boot.
now if working you can resolve the video res issues.
I hope this helps