All of what you've mention could have contributed to the immediate failure of the had drive. Meaning, it was on it's way out, but you/he helped it out a bit faster.1.
The first thing you want to do is to back up your data off of that drive.2.
Until you're ready to backup the drive, I'd highly recommend against starting up the computer and shutting it down. Beleieve me, you'll make it worse and it may not even boot up again.3.
If you have another computer you can connect the laptop to, do so and as long as the other computer has the COMPLETE room for your laptop hd, transfer it over to there.
DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE HD SPACE ON THE OTHER COMPUTER.
Although you reformatted it, you can still get your data off of it. If that's not an issue with the data, I'd suggest this.
To get your old data off of the drive, you can try :Recover My Files
Pc Inspector (FREE)
They can be time consuming, but if you want the data off that hd drive, those are the tools I'd start with.
Do a repartition of the drive. Don't use any software except the OS software to do it, then reformat it.
When you reinstall the Os and if that doesn't work, then chances are the hd is on the blink. And remember this:... if
the hd IS
going south on you, it may very well load up the next time without any problems ever being noticed, then all of a sudden..... well, you know.
Hope that helps!