Re: I think I have lost my mind . . .
That's odd with nero. I have 188.8.131.52 installed and just do >nero express ess>Image,project,copy>disc image and it burned 7.04 flawlessly.
Are you positive it's your drive and not motherboard? Loose IDE cable from your optical?
I'd bet it's something simple.
On your vista, I've used the repair function several times and never had it ask for files/drivers.
But if it doesn't work on your other 2 pcs it has to be a drive or cd or burnt image problem.
If you can get that disc to boot in any machine try the "check install media" option...or whatever they call it these days.