Dropped laptop- restore via external drive?

Hello so I have what may or may not be an interesting situation. I dropped my wife's laptop the other day and on starting it up it went to the startup repair prompt (before "starting windows") however whether I select to go through the startup repair or try to start windows, the result us the same: I get back to the prompt. I have gone through the whole F8 list of starup options, none of which got me anywhere. It's an HP 625 and has some diagnostics so I ran them and it came up with a hard drive error. So my question is: is the hard drive just completely dead? Or would I be able to perform any semblance of a recovery if I were to put it in an external enclosure?

HP 625 Notebook
Seagate momentus 5400.6 320GB hard drive.
This is actually the exact model: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834157545
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More about dropped laptop restore external drive
  1. It depends...was it on at the time? Perhaps only a cable to the drive came loose.

    If it was on then the drive might be toast. But do get it out of the machine and try hooking it to a desktop temporarily to see if the drive is readable.
  2. It was on and I already opened the bottom up and pulled out the hard drive and put it back in to no avail. So my question is, say I plug it into another computer and it's readable, would there be any way to do all the things a system recovery would do while it's being used as an external drive?
  3. So I've actually got the hard drive out and hooked up as an external drive, is there anything I can do to recover/restore the main partition? Making it bootable again would be nice but really as long as I can access it long enough to get it off I should be ok.
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