So, today I was stupid, and left my laptop powered on and in my backpack for a few hours. When I took it out, the battery which had been fully charged was almost out of charge.
So, I power cycled it, and when it came on, the BIOS took extra long to start, and then the following text appeared:
Broadcom UNDI PXE-2.1 v2.1.0 Copyright (C) 2000-2006 Broadcom Corporation Copyright (C) 1997-2000 Intel Corporation All rights reserved. PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable PXE-M0F: Exiting Broadcom PXE ROM Operating System not found
So, the first thing I tried was booting off an Ubuntu 8.04 Live CD, which worked, but it could find no traces of my hard drive (even after cooling my hard drive in a fridge for ~20 minutes).
I still have a warranty from Dell. Has anyone found that they cover this sort of thing (and preserve the data)? I'll be calling them soon anyways, but I won't bother if it's a waste of time.
If I have to recover the data myself, what are the best options? Is there anything free, or should I pay a disk recovery service? Which programs/services are the best?