My girlfriend's parents gave me their old Mac Mini (with a dead hard drive) after declaring it surplus and deciding it would make for a nice plaything. It's one of the earlier models (A1103, if that helps), back when they were using PowerPC processors. I managed to open it up and I'm *thisclose* to being able to change out the hard drive, but there's one screw that's starting to strip and stopping me from replacing the drive. Naturally, it's the one that's blocked by plastic (looking at it from above, with the connector on your side) so you have to unscrew it at an angle.
Any ideas on how to get this screw loose? Every time I try to turn it, the screwdriver starts stripping the screw head, I'm afraid the screw's too small for my girlfriend's stripped-screw remover, it's a flat head (meaning I can't just turn it with a wrench), and the one hole that looks like you're supposed to use to get at the screw is too thin for my screwdriver. I'd rather not spend the $20 on the iFixit 56-piece driver set, which has a flexible extender, if I can help it.
You wanted the best, you got... the Out of Context Quote of the Week.
It sounds like a hardware problem. I have a drive that showed the exact same symptoms. I cracked the case and have confirmed that there are some solder joints that are shot where the USB connector meets the PCB.