If the hard drive is recognized at a bios level, I suggest you run a test on the drive to verify it is the drive that is bad instead of a corrupted version of windows. The test I use the most is MHDD instructions below, they are long and can be confusing but this test is quite accurate. You could aslo boot to linux or some other cd/flash drive bootable OS and check for data on the drive, it might be wise to do this before running any diagnostic test if data is important. Linux mint works well.
Since you do not have a dvd drive, you may need to create a bootable flash drive, this can be tricky. Or if you could get an external dvd drive. Another option would be to remove the hard drive from the laptop and attach it to a desktop with a dvd drive then run MHDD on that drive.
EDIT: here are instructions for creating a bootable MHDD flash drive: http://keencode.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-boot-mhdd-from-usb-device.html
MHDD: For now do not use the advanced features. If you let me know the results of the first scan I can advise you whether or not the hdd is bad and if it can be fixed by using remap etc.
Before running this test it would be a good idea to backup any data that you cannot afford to lose. This test uses the hard drive at 100%. If the drive is failing or has problems it is possible for the drive to fail suddenly especially during heavy use as this test will do. It is unlikely but still I recommend backing files up to be safe. Here are the instructions to run the test:
The first step will be to burn MHDD to a disc as an image (cd preferably). MHDD Can be found here: http://hddguru.com/software/2005.10.02-MHDD/ Click the Last version of MHDD, CDROM iso-image download and burn this file directly to a disc.
TO CHANGE SATA OPERATION: (You may need to use your keyboard arrow keys and enter key if you can not click to change settings).
After burning the disc, restart the laptop and start tapping f2 or f1 or delete right away to get into the bios. There you should see System Configuration, expand that by clicking the + button (or using your arrow keys and enter key). In that list there should be something called Sata operation. (Sata Operation may also be by itself in that first screen list)
Click on sata operation and take note of the current setting to the right it will probably be set to AHCI it will need to be switched back to this after MHDD is done running. Select ATA, compatibility or ide mode and then click apply. Save and exit the bios, or if apply was the only option you can use Ctrl+Alt+Delete to restart.
COMMON BOOT MENU/BIOS keys: https://support.fixmestick.com/hc/en-us/articles/201577043-How-to-get-to-your-Boot-Menu-or-your-BIOS-settings
Now with the burned disc in the drive after a restart, start tapping (F12 Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo), (F9 HP), or (Esc HP, Samsung, Sony) on the keyboard (or change your boot options to boot to cd/dvd first). This will bring up the boot options menu. Select cd/dvd/cd-rw drive and hit enter.
If this worked correctly and booted to mhdd you should see a screen that says Microsoft windows 98 startup menu. You can let the timer run out or just hit enter on option (2 . Start computer without SCSI support).
Now you should see a screen with numbers, most of these will not have any device listed behind them but one number should for example on my dell computer number 6 has WDC WD1600BEVT-75A23T0… and at the end a number in white which is the size of the drive.
Example: If your drive is a 500gb I would expect that number in white to be somewhere around 500,107,862,016 or close to. Find the correct drive to test then on the keyboard type the number in front of the drive (in my case it was 6) and then hit enter.
Now you should have a screen with MHDD> and a blinking cursor.
Now hit F4 on the keyboard 2 times and this will start scanning the hard drive.
You should be able to see the computer start scanning, each block represents 255 sectors (130560 bytes) on the hard drive. What we are looking for will show up on the right side of the screen.
There is a list on the right which shows numbers:
Anything below the <150ms is a slow sector or a problem sector. Slow sectors <500 or >500 will slow down the computer. If there are a lot of these one after another (several 1000 or more) the drive should probably be replaced. Also if you have any at the end that were marked as UNC this means the drive has uncorrectable errors and the hard drive should probably be replaced.
Basically if you have any sectors that are below <150 (green) let me know and if possible the total number of them.
If all of the sectors were ok and fell within the range of:
Then the hard drive is ok, if there are only a few that are slow <500 or >500 the hard drive should be ok to use.
NOTE: that if there are many slow sectors one after another or you start having error after error the drive is in bad shape and I recommend ending the test. To end the test hit the Esc key.
After you are done testing you will need to go back into the bios by restarting the computer and tapping F2, F1, Delete (or whatever key gets you into bios). Go back to Sata Operation and change it back to the default which probably was AHCI.
Then restart and the computer should boot again.
(If you are getting a blue screen and the computer restarts go back into the bios and confirm that Sata Operation is set to what it was before changing it to IDE, ATA, or compatibility).
ADVANCED USERS: (USE AT YOUR OWN RISK)
There are options for fixing drives: erase delays and re-map bad blocks, enabling re-map is ok to do for most drives, no data should be lost. DO NOT erase delays if you have not backed up all of your data! These options are available from the F4 menu (only pushing F4 one time from the MHDD> blinking cursor screen.) Use your arrow keys to move up and down to highlight the option and hit enter to open and change the setting. Another useful key to hit at the MHDD blinking cursor screen is F8, this will bring up a drives S.M.A.R.T information.
What re-map does: This option if enabled moves available data from a bad block to a good block and disables the bad block by telling the controller to add it to a black list (list of blocks that the drive will not write to). This is a good option for drives that have available free space that have many bad blocks that can cause many problems including: BSOD bug check 0X7A etc. During a scan with re-map enabled a BLUE block after a bad block indicates succesful re-map.
What erase delays does: This option if enabled will erase blocks (and add them to the black list) that are slower than <500ms, if you have a lot of slow sectors greater than 20% of the total blocks, this is not recommended. If you erase delays on an OS drive or drive with any data, your OS may no longer load, your data may become corrupted. I only recommend this option on a drive that you intend to format and then re-use. Erasing delays can speed up a drive. The logic: 500ms = half a second. Each time windows tries to write or read from that block it takes half a second. Having a file written in 1000 slow blocks at 500ms (each block) would cause that file to take 8.7 minutes to read. 1000 blocks = 124.5 Megabytes. During a scan with erase delays enabled a white W indicates an erased slow sector. Slow sectors >500ms can significantly slow down write/reads depending on the actual read/write time for the block.
Frequently asked questions MHDD> http://forum.hddguru.com/viewtopic.php?t=5
Edited by zingo156, 22 April 2014 - 11:34 AM.