A little background on the hardware prior to the questions:
HP Model DV7-1133CL Laptop
2 GHz AMD Turion X2 RM-70 Dual-Core Mobile Processor
ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics RS780M
The laptop started with a clean install of Windows 7 64 bit back in November 2011. I then installed Ubuntu 11.10 and had it working successfully in a dual boot environment for a few months. Last week, I successfully upgraded to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and things were going well. After doing a bunch of reasearch, I decided that I wanted to add Linux Mint 12 to the system. I dowloaded the Mint 12 64 Bit DVD using Bit Torrent and verified the MD5 hash. This is where my problems started. I had trouble burning the ISO image to a DVD on the machine in question. I then used another computer to successfully burn the image. I was able to start Mint 12 as a Live session from the DVD but the optical drive was acting kind of funny during the boot. Eventually I was able to see the Mint 12 desktop and spent some time looking at all of the features. I then clicked the "Install Mint 12" icon on the desktop and the installation began. At the end of the installation,I was promted to removed the installation disk and re-boot. Upon re-boot, I received the grub2 menu with Mint 12 as the first entry. I selected Mint 12 and the computer then locked up with a black screen. Eventually, I did a hard reset to shut off the computer. I am able to boot successfully into Windows 7 but am unable to boot into Mint 12. I am starting to think that my optical drive has gone bad and corrupted the installation. I am going to stop by a store on the way home to see about an external DVD drive and try running the disk again.
Is this a good course of action? Is there something else that I should try first? I am new to the Linux world and need some direction on how to proceed. Thanks in advance for the help and sorry if this post is long-winded.