Possible Bad Sectors on Hard-Drive
Today I tried to install Damn Small Linux on a computer with an Intel Celeron processor from about '98 or '99, about 64 mb of RAM, and about 1 gb of hard drive space, but when I tried to partition the drive using cfdisk, I was told there was a fatal error and the disk could "not be opened". After that, I thought I might be able to format it during an install, but that didn't work. Instead, it wiped the drive and told me it was installing files but then nothing. I can, however, still boot from the live cd.
I've been trying to figure out what to do with this computer for a friend who just arrived from Africa and who cannot afford any new hardware, so I thought a small linux distro might help him out. Still, I read today that a distro like DSL is meant to be run from a CD or from a usb drive and that its hard drive installer is somewhat buggy.
Here's my question:
Should I just try another distro? If so, which one should I try? (I was thinking possibly debian here because the computer's owner really only wants to do word processing and spreadsheet/office stuff for school).
Should I perhaps assume that the hard drive might be bad and find some way of testing it?
Thank you immensely for any help you can offer.