If it's a hardware component fault then there's no reason why the disk should not be readable in an external enclosure.
But before you take out the disk you may want to try tapping F8 repeatedly as soon as the laptop is powered up. This should get you to the "Advanced Startup Options". Use the up/down arrow keys to highlight "Last known good configuration" and press [Enter]
If still no Windows, bring up that menu again using the same method and highlight "Safe Mode", press [Enter]
If that starts Windows, run System Restore (pick a date before the problem started or as far back as is available)
Start->All programs->Accessories->System Tools->System Restore
on some systems (mine included) the standard "Safe Mode" doesn't work. In that event, reboot and try instead
"Safe Mode with Networking" from the same menu (but with the laptop NOT connected to the internet for security reasons).
That works for me anyway.
In safe mode you might think it a good idea to copy your data files to a USB stick or blank CD while you have the chance. Unfortunately neither of
these devices will work in Safe Mode as USB drivers and CD-ROM drivers are not loaded. This is because Safe Mode's primary purpose is to bypass all drivers except vital ones in case one of them is preventing Windows from starting normally. The floppy drive will work but that's unlikely to suffice if you have many files or big files to recover.
Edited by pip22, 27 April 2008 - 03:07 AM.