I have had hard drives hit the ground and lose everything. However if you want to verify that is the case here is what I would do- download the newest version of ubuntu and burn the ISO on to a CD. Then run it from the CD. You can then recover (if anything is on there) your files from your harddrive. Just run a search on how to recover files from ubuntu live. This is a strong community so they may be other answers but I have used this method in the past.