Hard drive dst failure

Hello. I have an error message that read "hard drive dst test results: fail." I have a dell vostro 1710 that I purchased in 2009 so it is not under warranty. When I turned the computer on it would not let me log on. I have 2 of these and my husband was using the one that malfunctioned but someone else used it before him. We don't need any of the information on that computer, it was mainly for non business purposes. Can anyone give me information that will help because I am a novice at this. Thanks.
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More about hard drive failure
  1. 'DST' stands for Disk Self Test. If you get an error message, that means the file system is corrupt and there may be bad sectors on the hard drive. Some of the errors are repairable, others are not. Try and run 'CHKDSK' - Info provided here will be useful: http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=1583&page=5 (this is for XP; Win7 is similar).

    In order not to lose data files, a conservative approach would be to first backup the computer, and then 'clone' the drive in question on to a new drive of the same or higher capacity.

    The directions are quite useful and detailed. Remember, backup (to an external disk) first.
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