Look up bootable LIVE CDs like Ubuntu.com so you can boot from the CD/DVD drive and see if the live cd sees the old HDD.
For almost a decade machines have us create the restore media. My conclusion is that folk can't be bothered to create them so it's an extra 35 bucks on average when the HDD fails.
New HDD is about 50 so 85 bucks to fix this?
My Gateway ec14 notebook will not boot. I can only enter the F2 BIOS menu and cannot access the system recovery on the hard drive by pressing Alt and F10 upon startup, as my manual details. I have no recovery disc to try. The error message I get upon startup is something to the effect of "Check cable connection. PXE-M0F: Exiting Intel PXE ROM. No bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key." I just don't want to shell out the money for a new hard drive if I am missing something here. My google searches have turned up fruitless.