Thanks for the suggestion. I will try it probably Monday.
You're essentially bypassing the hard drive for loading the system. Hopefully you can still "see" it so you can copy your data. If it still won't load from a PE disk then it's probably not the hard drive or OS, and some other hardware issue.
I'm at my mom's house trying to load the two PE executables to a CD and it keeps saying cannot format medium-incompatible medium. I've used 4 CD's and it happens with all of them at about 83%. So I guess I will try it at some other computer but not sure when or where that will be. rats :(
There are other PE disks you could try, like UBDC, etc... but the one I gave is about the simplest to create. I wish I could be more help but there's only so much we can do to help with this kind of issue in a forum.