It's happened unfortunately to many people. You turn on your computer and hear that dreaded click and realize that not only can you not get into windows, you haven't made a backup of your precious files. At this point you have a few options.
**** The following suggestions are offered as FREE advice and should be taken as such. I am in no way responsible if you destroy your hard drive by using any of these methods. ****
1. Put it in the freezer for 24 hours. SEAL IT IN A BAG TO PROTECT IT FROM MOISTURE. Hard drives are electrical devices and sometimes electrical devices overheat. Getting the drive good and cold and then trying to boot it again might make it function just long enough for you to get those precious wedding pictures.
2. Take the handle end of a screwdriver (while the drive is unplugged) and give it a firm but not hard tap on the center of the top of the drive (not the circuit board. ) If you hit it too hard you can permanently destroy the disks. However, if sometimes a firm tap will get the drive spinning again long enough to get your data.
**** NONE OF THESE SUGGESTIONS ARE PERMANENT FIXES. YOUR DRIVE IS DEAD, REPLACE IT!!!!****
3. If the drive is not clicking but you just can't get it to boot into windows try the following. Hook it into another computer as a slave drive. Hopefully you can boot off of the good computer and once in windows get to your data from control panel.
4. Google Knoppix and download the latest . iso. You will need a program like power iso oweriso.com (shareware) to burn the image to a CD. Obviously you need a cd burner too. Reboot your computer into Knoppix (boot from CD) and you'll be in a fully functional linux operating system. I will write another article soon about using Knoppix but its not too entirely different then windows. Just remember to mount the drive and to make it writable. Also you will definetely need a flash drive to transfer your files.
5. If your files are truely irreplaceable and you must absolutely get them back, you can look up data retrieval on the net and find a company that can retrieve pretty much anything. Just be prepared to pay them thousands of dollars with no guarantee. Your the one that didn't do a backup afterall.
John Daniels is a former High School teacher turned computer technician. He has over 6 years of experience in the field and operates a site that gives daily tech tips at http://www.broketech.com It is a part of the John W. Daniels network at http://www.johnwdaniels.com