So, yesterday was Friday the Thirteenth, and this now makes sense.
My laptop is under warrenty, which is lucky for me because the issue I was having with it was not a software issue, it was a hardware issue. So fixing it is free.
Unfortunately, data recovery is expensive. I can basically consider all the information that was on it to be gone unless I want to shell out some hard earned cash.
So anyway, I took my laptop in and they ran a diagnostic on it to see how bad it really is. They also took my external hard drive in, the one that I brought up as being shot a few months ago.
Apparently, there is three levels of data recovery. The first one is when you have a computer that you just want to transfer information from, but otherwise everything appears to be in working order. Or something. Quite frankly, from appearances of what I know (and granted, with this sort of thing, it ain't much!) this level seems to be something most people could do themselves.
The second level is system error with the hard drive or some technical terms, but the hard drive can be reformatted or repaired easily enough.
The third level is the hard drive is dead. Kaput. Done. They have to send the thing in to a clean room and crack it open to get the information from it.
My external hard drive appears to be a level 2 data recovery. My laptop hard drive is level three.
Fortunately, I have all the stuff I need to restore my computer so they are going to replace my hard drive, as it is still under warrenty. So I'm just out of a laptop for the time being, and I should get it back in the next couple of days. But it looks like all of the information on the old hard drive will have to stay there until I can fathom shelling out the money required to get the information from it.
And aside from some pictures and a few stories I wrote, I cannot see myself doing this any time soon. Maybe the price will go down a few more hundred dollars, or I'll inherit a bunch of money from a long lost relative (yeah, right), or something. But in the meantime, well, so long hard drive, you will rest in peace at the bottom of my drawer until I can come up with the means to revive you.