Disk Boot Failure on startup?

So I came home from work today and fired up my comp and I get DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER. my limited computer knowledge is worried that my hard drive has failed. I went into the BIOS and checked the startup priority which is floppy, HD, and CD. Still nothing works? Opened up the case then reconnected all of the wires. About tapped out on my limited tech support abilities. Now my girlfriend is freaking out that her thousands of pictures might be lost? Anyone have any ideas? I've worn my office apart looking for my windows this which I have not seen in over 3 years so can't boot from that either. . . Help?
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  1. Don't freak out yet as the data can usually be recovered if it's a bad HD.

    I know this sounds odd but some folks have had success by removing the HD, placing it in a zip lock baggie, then placing it in the freezer for a couple hours. Then remove it from the freezer, plug in the cables and try booting it. If it works I'd suggest immediately doing a drive copy to a new HD as soon as you can get a replacement HD.

    Obviously if you find your copy of Windoze you could try a "repair" but if the HD is failing this will not correct the problem for long if at all.
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