Baffled - HD won't boot in one machine, will in another

working fine, no new installs 
1) had a start-up fail with a 'critical battery error' message. no more starting up
2) with AC plugged in, goes to the screen with safe mode, safe mode with networking etc
3) no matter which I choose, it flashed to energy screen, then blue error screen, then back to safe mode screen
when I stick the hard drive into a T61 it starts up no problem
With the HD in the T61, I have tried all kinds of things to no avail.
I installed the Lenovo System Toolbox, but I get all kinds of errors of things encountering a problem, and program won't start
I tried to start up in the x61, after turning various things turned off in msconfig (using the HD in the T61), but no change 
was unable to get any of the restore points to work 
it seems like this must have something to do either with a HD problem, or a driver problem.
Nothing is showing up in my event viewer, or in my device manager.  i get an error about the 'interface is unknown'

"Critical battery error" refers to a problem with the CMOS battery. Possibly needing replacement. 
Try changing from AHCI to compatibility mode in the BIOS configuration. If already in compatibility mode, try the opposite.
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