Post originale di: oldturkey03 ,
david, it does sound like your HDD is at fault and possibly has some read/write issues or a messed up boot sector. To get the files that you need of the drive, I' d try to start up from a rescue disk or your OS disk. You can of course also try one of the many Linux Live disk's (I prefer Ubuntu) and see if you can access the HDD. Copy the files to a USB drive. After that I would think it is time to replace the drive. the service manual is [http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/kcs/document?c=us&l=en&s=gen&docid=DSN_70E49044D05ED597E040AE0AB8E13141&isLegacy=true|available online] Here are a couple of links that may be of interest [http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/tips/4294038|One] and [http://help.artaro.eu/index.php/windows-vista/troubleshooting-windows-vista/recover-files-from-hard-disk-vista.html|one more.] Good Luck to you and let us know how it is progressing.