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First, thanks for this great forum with so many helpful people! I know responding to people's troubles takes time and effort you could probably be spending elsewhere!

Last night, my laptop was working fine. At one point I came back to it (after it had been sitting on unused for a while) and thought that part of it was unusually hot. But I experienced no problems so thought nothing of it. I shut down the laptop before bed, but when I turned it on this morning, a bad noise came from the hard drive area and the laptop wouldn't recognize any operating system. I tried to boot several more times with the same results.

Troubleshooting procedures:

I have a USB case for a laptop hard drive and one for a regular hard drive. I put the broken hard drive into the laptop USB case. I ran a Knoppix 3.7 live CD on another laptop with both hard drive cases plugged in. The large hard drive (is it called a SATA drive?) was recognized and accessible with no problem. The laptop hard drive wasn't recognized at all.

I restarted the live CD with the large hard drive case unplugged and the laptop drive plugged into the USB port that the large hard drive case was using. The laptop drive still was not recognized at all. I then put a GOOD laptop hard drive into the USB case (to rule out some component of the hard drive case or cable being bad), but it was recognized by the live CD just fine.

Side note about the noise--the drive did make bad noises while the laptop was trying to boot from it, but it didn't make any bad noise while hooked up to the USB case. And it was spinning (a quiet whirring noise) all the time it was hooked up to the USB case and the live CD was in use.

Also, while the drive was in the USB case with the live CD in use (5 min. max), the drive itself never got hot or even particularly warm.

Does this sound like a hardware problem?

Would the freezer trick help? Reference-- http://www.daniweb.com/techtalkforums/thread9069.html

I need to get the data off of the drive. If it is a hardware problem, what are my options for retrieving the data?

Thank you very much in advance for any help!

P.S. I didn't mention any of the laptop specifications because I didn't think they were relevant. If they are, let me know and I will post them. Thanks!

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