At the start of December, my Xbox 360 Super Elite (Standard) was working fine. After not being turned on for a week or so, just before Christmas it suddenly became incredibly slow - start-up time went from 10-20 seconds to around 3 minutes, and entering/exiting games or apps is also now very slow. Games freeze, usually when entering or exiting a menu. Today I was playing a game downloaded from XBLA onto my hard-drive (the game was fine before these problems started), and an error message appeared telling me that the 'disc was unreadable' and to 'clean it with a soft cloth'. Obviously there's something very wrong with the hard-drive. I have transferred all data off it onto a USB drive (only about 20GB worth of data on a 250GB hard-drive), then transferred it all back onto the hard-drive - this made no difference. I cleared the system cache, again with no effect. When the console is booted without the hard-drive, it starts up pretty much immediately.
As such I have come to the conclusion that I probably need to get a new hard-drive. Therefore I post here for a couple of reasons:
1) Is there anything I can do to fix the problems that doesn't involve buying a new hard-drive?
2) If not, can I transfer all my data from this hard-drive to a new one via my USB drive (1TB), or do I have to get a transfer cable to do so?
3) If I can use my USB drive, will I unwittingly transfer any 'corrupt data' or whatever else is making this hard-drive so slow?
Many thanks in advance for any help or advice (or sympathy),