Thanks BDAqua, Squishy Tia & MonkeyBoy for your help!
I spent last night trouble shooting using "outside the box" ideas. Here are the steps that I took in their chronological order:
STEP 1: I opened my functioning (ca. 2007) MBP and moved it's HDD over to the non-functioning (ca. 2006) MBP. The 2006 MBP booted without a problem and, when I logged in, it was as if I was now using the 2007 MBP. (I was able to access all of the files/programs without a problem. The only exception being that some programs now asked for a license to be entered.) I believe that the fact that the HDD from the 2007 MBP works fine in the 2006 MBP establishes that there is nothing wrong with the cables/motherboard in the 2006 MBP. Therefore, the problems encountered with attempting to install a new HDD, and subsequently the OS, on the 2006 MBP must have to do with either the HDD, the installation disks or both.
Note: I am the original owner of both MBPs. I kept the original packaging/disks and, until two days ago, had never touched the installation disks that came with the MBPs. (The disks were still cradled in the boxes that the laptops were packaged/shipped in.) When I first sat down to install the HDD and OS on the 2006 MBP, I was not sure which set of disks was the correct set, so I tried both. The first set I tried, immediately gave me an error stating that the OS could not be installed on the laptop. When I tried the 2nd set of disks, I did not encounter any error and the installation proceeded smoothly until I encountered the "select destination" problem that is described in my 1st post at the top of this discussion. Consequently, I believe that I am using the correct installation disks. Please also note that the "original" HDD from the 2007 MBP (which I used to test the cables/motherboard of the 2006 MBP) is a 200GB 7200rpm HGST. In order to reduce as many variables as possible, I am using HGST HDDs exclusively while trying to resolve this problem.
STEP 2: I used free SuperDuper! cloning software to clone the 2007 MBP HDD onto a 500GB 7200rpm HGST. This cloned HDD successfully booted on the 2006 MBP exactly as the source HDD did as described in STEP 1 above. This established that the make/model of the newer HGST HDD was compatible/functional with the 2006 MBP.
STEP 3: With the cloned 2007 HDD installed in the 2006 MBP, I connected a new 500GB 7200rpm HGST HDD (erased/formatted GUID) to the 2006 MBP via a USB/SATA wire connection. (see Image 1)
STEP 4: Next, I ran the OS installation disk on the 2006 MBP and followed the usual steps (select language, agree to terms, etc.). At the "Select Destination" step, the new HDD was listed as "selectable" and marked with a green icon. I selected the HDD and proceeded with installing both OS disks successfully.
Note: Subsequent to installation of the OS, I re-booted the 2006 MBP and followed the prompts for setting up/registering the MBP, etc. Once complete with registration, I successfully logged into the laptop as if it were a new machine. The only unusual thing is that there is no grey "internal" HDD icon on the desktop, instead there is yellow HDD icon in the style of an "external" HDD. (see Image 4) Though there are 2 HDDs (one connected internally and one connected externally via USB/SATA) connected to the 2006 MBP, there is only 1 HDD (the externally connected one) that appears on the list of HDDs. Please also note that immediately after logging in, there is an error message that states "Disk Insertion: The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer." (see Image 4) After a few moments, the message goes away.
STEP 5: I removed the cloned 2007 HDD from inside the 2006 MBP, then disconnected the 2nd HDD (with the recently installed OS) from the USB/SATA cable and placed it inside the 2006 MBP. When attempting to boot the 2006 MBP, the boot starts as normal (see Image 2) but, after a few moments a grey "no" symbol appears (see Image 3). After 1.5 hours of this screen, I did a hard shutdown/restart. The "no" symbol returns every time I restart.
STEP 6: To be certain that the OS was installed on the 2nd HDD (as opposed to the cloned 2007 HDD), I removed the 2nd HDD from inside the 2006 MBP and returned the cloned 2007 HDD to the inside of the 2006 MBP. (Leaving the 2nd HDD unconnected to the USB/SATA cable.) I re-booted the laptop and it behaved exactly as described in STEP 1 above, with no sign of the OS having been accidentally installed on it.
STEP 7: While keeping the cloned 2007 HDD inside the 2006 MBP, I returned the 2nd HDD to the USB/SATA connection and re-booted. The result is a successful boot and the return of the logging in behavior described above at the end of the Note for STEP 4.
At this point, I'm not certain how to simply install 1 HDD in the 2006 MBP. It appears that I need a cloned HDD running on the laptop to be able to get the Installation disk to recognize the 2nd HDD at the "Select Destination" step of the installation process. However, once installation is complete, it appears that the only way to use the 2nd HDD is to leave it connected externally and leave the cloned HDD internally....
Note: I originally started with 500GB 7200rpm WD HDDs. After encountering the same problem listed in my first post, I moved to HGST to eliminate the WD variable. Being that Apple shipped the MBP with an HGST HDD, and given that the 2 WD HDDs behaved no better, I think that it is reasonable to stay with HGST for now.
Any other thoughts or suggestions?? Thanks!
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Last edited by VeritasCinema on Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.