Within the last week my DELL Inspiron 1525 running windows vista and my dads toshiba running windows 7 both quit working. I am not sure what happened to my dads laptop other than it froze and is experiencing the same issues as mine.
I was on the internet and my computer froze.
I had to hit the power button to turn off
Windows booted into a screen that says start windows normally or windows repair (recommended).
I did both and each time my screen says loading windows and goes blank with an arrow in the middle.
I have no recovery disk. There was a data partition and a recovery partition that came with the computer installed.
I hit F12 and selected diagnostics
It stated: Hard drive fail. Error Code 2000-0146
MSG: Hard Drive 1 - Self test log contains previous errors
Take that hard disk out, but a caddy to link it to a PC and see if you can recover your data. If the disk will mount and let you do that, it may also last long enough to clone the system on to another disk - means buying two caddies but if the machine is worth it, go for it.
A cheaper - free, actually - before all that is to create a LiveCD of a Linux build. Linux can fequently mount disks that Windows will not and you may be able to recover data that way. Havee a look at http://www.pclinuxos.com for a free download and use something ImgBurn to make a bootable CD.
It would still be worth the cost of a caddy to be able to slave it and run Checkdisk with the switches to find and fix disk errors turned on.
Google for and download Hirens boot disk - that will give you a stripped down version of XP with Command Prompt at which you need to type chkdsk c: /r then hit Enter. That is a partially unlicensed copy of XP which will not install but will give you the functionality you need to see if your disk has a future.