How many GB of the hard drive?
What brand of your hard disk?
I picked up an old Acer Travelmate 290 just to use for the net and checking email etc. It had Windows 7 with SP 1 installed. I added AVG antivirus, Advance Systemcare, Word and Excel. The laptop worked fine for a couple of days apart from failing to load updates. It would download them but not instal them? Earlier today it began running very slowly, I shut it down and during the shutdown it began loading updates. However, in the middle of loading the updates it froze then crashed! I restarted it but it was painfully slow booting up, once I finally got in I did a system restore. In the middle of restarting after the restore it froze then crashed again.
Now when I try to boot it up it doesn't recognise it's own hard drive! Goes through the bios info (slower than it did before) then comes up with a boot device list, selecting the hard disc and hitting enter does nothing! I even tried a Windows XP disc I have, loaded fine to the point where it basically asked "where's the hard drive?"!
Further to the above, couldn't check the bios because somebody had password protected it! Found a way of clearing password by shorting out a split jumper, worked. As far as my laptop is concerned it doesn't have a hard drive, none listed in bios settings!
I suspect the hard drive has gone west, far west!