Laptop dropped, weird noises followed, disk read error...tell-tale signs of a hard drive crash.
As for recovery of files, one option has worked for me in the past. Take the hard drive out of the laptop, zip it up in a freezer bag (put it in another one for good measure if you desire), and let it sit in your freezer for 24 hours. Sounds crazy right? Well it is, but it works sometimes.
While your hard drive is chilling out, make a list of all of the files you wouldn't want to lose. Also, get your external hard drive ready to receive the data you want off. Get yourself ready to do some mad typing and clicking, as your window of opportunity doesn't last long.
Pop the hard drive back in and see if it will boot up. Hopefully all the preparation will be worthwhile. At most, you could get 20 minutes, but I'd try to be in and out under 10.
Your other option is to take it out and set it as the slave drive for another computer. You could then try to get the data off the drive through that computer.
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