Any help would be much appreciated... Came back to my laptop to find "OS could not be located" message or something similar. I tried restarting a few times only to return to the setup screen after attempting to start in safe mode, most recent know good mode, and normally each time returning to said screen. I then tried to reinstall windows xp trying both the repair and reboot options eventually getting offered to reformat my disk. I don't want to do this as I have all my information on this hard drive and haven't back up recently. Following this I removed the hard drive and replaced it with an older one which works fine. I then tried to connect the corrupt hard drive via USB. My laptop found and installed the new hardware for the USB device howeever I am unable to locate the disk. Is there any hope for recovery of the data on the Hard drive and is it possible to do myself?
Yeah, still no luck. Borrowed a recovery CD from a friend and used it to check the disk and repair any bad sectors. Having done this I was able to use the repair console. Now it just keeps freezing when trying to repair XP or even when trying to reinstall XP. I really don't know what else to do? Contemplating the drastic action of formatting the disk and hoping to recover the information somehow?
If you format the drive you will make the data very difficult, possibly impossible to access.
Ideally you should try to recover data using a working system, and either a USB connection or on a desktop system with an adapter (to allow laptop drives to be used on desktop connectors), and the drive connected as a slave, or on the second IDE cable.
If you drive can't be recognised in either of these situations, it is likely failed beyond economical repair.
If you can get at the drive when used as a slave/USB drive, then you may be able to copy from some parts of it - or you may be able to run one of the data recovery programs around.
The moral of this is - always have an up to date backup.
When I had that problem I managed to access my data by running live CD of Ubuntu which also proved to me that the hard drive was not total loss. managed to sort by downloading, burning to disc and running drive diagnostic tool from drive maker.