By Lincoln Spector, PCWorld Feb 20, 2012 7:46 AM
When Wendell tries to boot his PC, an error message announces a disk read error. It's as if his hard drive--with three year's worth of work on it--doesn't exist.
You could very well have a dead hard drive--or at least a very damaged one. Replacing the drive itself is relatively easy, although the current hard drive shortage will raise the cost.
Since I suspect you don't have a backup, recovering the data will be the hard part. Backing up is like flossing--everyone knows they should do it but few actually bother. And eventually you pay for that oversight.
But let's see what we can do.
Try booting from a PartedMagic CD or flash drive and see if you can access your files through that. PartedMagic is a live Linux variation that comes with a hard drive diagnostic program--something that you may find useful. You download PartedMagic in the form of an .iso file. If you double-click an .iso file, it will likely launch a program that will walk you through the process of turning the contents of that file into a CD (simply copying the file to a CD won't work). If such a program doesn't come up, download and install the ISO Recorder for Windows XP and Server 2003 or ISO Recorder for Vista and Windows 7. Then double-click the .iso file again.
More information at: http://www.pcworld.c....html#tk.hp_new