When you turn on your laptop you hear the hard drive spinning but you see nothing on the display

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Please try this first, if you have any USB devices plugged into your system (especially a wireless Mouse or keyboard receiver), unplug them. Then try booting your system and see if it boots correctly. If it does, you can plug your Devices back in.

If your system does not boot, try some of these recovery options:

Start your System, then just after the Manufacturers logo disappears and Windows 10 tries to boot, press and hold the power button down for 5 - 10 seconds to perform a hard shut down

Do this Twice

On the third boot attempt, Windows will boot into the Windows 10 Repair Environment, from there you can access Startup Recovery, Safe Mode, Command Prompt . . . etc.

Go to Troubleshoot - Advanced Options - System Restore, see if you have a recent restore point you can revert to

If you do not have a recent restore point, go to Troubleshoot - Advanced Options - Startup Settings, click restart.

Upon restart press 4 to boot into Safe Mode, if you can get into Safe Mode, backup your data, reboot and see if your system boots normally

If all this fails go to Troubleshoot - Advanced Options - Reset this PC, choose to keep all your files and Apps

This will be the same as a clean install of Windows 10 whilst keeping your data and applications

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So This is what we know:

You were using your drive (PC running Windows Vista) and while it was running you banged it (was on the edge and then it fell onto the flat side). At that point you unplugged the USB cable and then reconnected (failing to dismount the drive). Now you can't access the drive, but the device driver and the USB interface internally of the drive is responsive (drives power light is lighting). So the drive was spinning when you knocked it. And, you failed to dismount the drive correctly.

We don't know if the system was still in the process of writing to the drive (where you in the process of reading or writing a file off of the external drive?) If not then the cache write back is only effected which is a minor issue. Otherwise the file you were accessing is likely damaged.

The big issue here is what was the drive doing, was the disk head arm parked or engaged? From the sounds of it it appears the arm was engaged so it was somewhere on the plater/s. So the heads likely dug into the platter ripping one or more off and damaging a part of the magnetic surface of the plater (heads crashed). It doesn't take much for this to happen.

OK now what - If the data is that important you'll need to send your drive in to a data recovery service so they can disassemble the drive in a clean room to try repair the drive long enough to pull your data off (replacing the damaged heads).

If you have also encrypted your data you will need to give them the application and the encryption keys so the they can decrypt the data. It also turns out the HD it's self is hardware encrypted so it will only work with the logic board it is mounted to, so you can't send them just the hard drive internally alone either (need to ship the complete drive with the power adapter).

The cost will be expensive and there is still a chance they can't recover the data. Attempting to fix this via software won't work and if you are able to get it to respond the process could make things worse. Here's a PC Mag article on what happens in a clean room Don't forget to try out their drive simulator to see what happened to your drive.

Sorry for the bad news ;-{

A laptop that does not boot is always a source for concern and even panic in some cases. If you are like many people, your laptop not only serves as a source of entertainment, but also as a repository for important data and documents. Therefore, if your laptop turns on, but is not able to display anything on the screen, anxiety runs high – to say the least. If your laptop is still under warranty, contact the retailer or manufacturer immediately and ask for assistance. If your laptop’s warranty has expired, though, use a few simple steps to troubleshoot the notebook and determine whether you can repair the unit yourself.

Reseat Battery and Cables

  1. Shut down the laptop and close the LCD screen. Remove the AC power cord and other cables from the laptop. Flip the laptop over and remove the battery pack.

  2. Use an eraser to clean the metal contacts on the battery and the battery bay. Remove any tarnish or build up that may appear on the contacts. Blow the excess eraser bits from the battery and the battery bay.

  3. Reinsert the battery into its bay and reconnect the AC power cord and other cables. Ensure that the cable connections are tight and that you lock the battery in its bay.

  4. Power on the laptop and check to see if you can see an image on the display.

Reseat Drives and Memory

  1. Shut down the laptop, unplug the AC adapter and close the LCD screen. Flip the laptop over so that it is upside down.

  2. Locate the cover for the memory module. On most laptops, the memory slot cover has a small icon picture of a memory stick or label. Remove the screw that holds the cover in place with the Phillips screwdriver.

  3. Insert your wrist into the loop of the antistatic wrist strap and clip the other end to a metal surface.

  4. Unlock the clips that secure the memory module in its slot. Remove the memory module and reinsert it into the slot. Push the module down until it snaps into place. Replace the memory cover slot and secure with the retaining screw.

  5. Locate the hard drive cover and remove the retaining screw. Remove the hard drive and reseat it in its slot. Do the same for the CD/DVD drive of your laptop.

  6. Reconnect the AC adapter to the laptop. Power on the laptop and check to see if an image displays on the screen.

Check With Spare Monitor

  1. Shut down the laptop and disconnect the AC adapter.

  2. Connect the monitor cable from a spare external monitor to the VGA or DVI video out port on the rear of the laptop. Plug the power cord into an available electrical outlet.

  3. Power on the laptop. After the LED lights on the laptop appear, or you hear the hard drive inside start to spin, press the “Fn” key combination that sends the display to an external monitor. On most laptop keyboards, there is a small icon picture of a monitor symbol. Press the “Fn” key and the key with the monitor symbol a couple of time to see if an image appears on the external monitor. If an image appears on the monitor, the problem is with the LCD screen of the monitor. If no image appears on the monitor, either the video card or motherboard in the laptop is probably defective.