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Hard Drive Crash (beginner)

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I have a drive full of audio samples which has just crashed. I haven't been using PC's very long so excuse my naivete but at the moment windows is running checkdisc, and the screen is full of "insufficient space for hotfix." - is that basically saying the drive was too full? It's been going for a while now - anyone know what happens after the checkdisc has gone through all the drives?

What should I do from here? Is it worth trying to back up the drive or does it sound like it's definitely gone? Does this mean I have to take my PC apart and put a new drive in?....I have a friend who is usually my tech support but I really want to try and learn how to do it on my own, so any help would be much appreciated.
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Can you get into Windows at all? Can you burn your files to a cd or move them to another disk? If you can't get into windows you may be able to remove the drive and put it in as slave in another machne and move all the files off. Then you can try to run scandisk and check the drives condition.

Please give us some more info about the situation so someone can advise you of the best course.
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