Many Thanks to James, the wonder boyfriend, for a successful operation. The computer now zips along with a hard drive transplant. Just how hard is it to get to my hard drive? Well, assuming your new hard drive is ready to go in (mine had to be re-cloned and that took over five hours), here's a hint.
The keyboard comes off. The upper portion also needs to be lifted. If I'd done this myself, I probably would have broken two little plastic tabs alongside the right and bottom (1/3 in from the bottom right corner) of my laptop. These little tabs help hold the top in. Here's the inside of my Sony notebook.
He also cleaned the fan area while he was there. And my keyboard was also lavished with some canned air. Hey, maybe the hair in there was wool... it didn't look like mine.
So many screws came out of my little notebook. I think they look like hampster droppings.
Sidenote: I generally maintain and fix my own systems. In this case, the old notebook drive had several bad sectors, has a recovery partition that is difficult to clone, and the hard drive is under the keyboard. It was definitely time to take it to a computer technician for an operation. Luckily, my boyfriend happens to be a technician and kindly did a replacement he'd have charged megabucks for at work. And he came to me :) THANK YOU!