You have not mentioned the laptop model. I had the similar problem and i had done this to recover.
First , try to boot in safe mode by pressing f8 while you switchon. Tab it continuously and if it goes to the screen, then select safe mode and see if it could be booted. if it boots, please i advise you to copy all the files and folders including the mydocuments folder to a pendrive and then try to repair the laptop on the next boot.
If you could not boot in safe mode also, then press f10 to go the bios settings and then select diagnostics. There are two sets in my laptop,memory and start up. Please select HDD repair menu if it is there. Then you wait for some one hour, the laptap will check if it is able to boot, lt will check memory and if it passes, then comprehensive test and if 100% passed choose the appropriate menu to save these settings and try for reboot. If 100% is passed then your problem is some what solved. There will be a tab about system information, please check whether it finds the harddisk details. If it is there , then you could be sure that your computer is reading the hard disk and the problem started because of some malware that crept in to your system.
If this also fails, then you have to fix your MBR that would have been corrupted. This you could fix about knowing the exact operation cd from your friend and try to run it from your dvd drive. Then after copying files and system wants installation screen appears, select R for repair. and in the command prompt that comes please enter 1 and against the password just enter to go to the screen c:windows. in the command prompt. Mind it that you are getting the command prompt from the dvd. Then just enter fixmbr and confirm the warnings to reenter the mbr to have the default MBR. This cd may be from anybody , but suitable to your operating system. Ok. exit from the command prompt and then try to reboot. It should probably work out. If this is not so, then i think , it is better to call the technician.