I'm using a Dell Inspiron 15R laptop, operating on the latest update of windows 8. When I turned on my laptop today, it was acting fine. When it asked me for the password, after typing it in, my computer froze. I left it alone for a few minutes. When it didn't unfreeze, I decided to manually shut it off using the power button. The power button didn't succeed in turning it off, so I closed my laptop and left it alone for a while. When I opened it up, there was a black screen. I tried turning it on, to no effect; it almost seemed like it froze with the screen off. After a few more attempts of trying to turn it on/off, shutting the laptop, opening it again and repeating the process, it finally turned on. The normal Dell symbol popped up, as well as some text in the top left corner that says "Checking media_". Then the Dell symbol popped up again, and beneath it, it said "Preparing Automatic Repair" with a loading symbol. After a few seconds, the screen flashed black, then the Dell symbol popped up again, underneath it there being a loading symbol and the words "Diagnosing your PC." The words then changed again to "Repairing disk errors. This might take over an hour to complete." After waiting two hours, I turned it off and on a few more times, hoping that it would fix itself, but to no avail. I really need to fix this as soon as possible, because I need my laptop to do homework. I haven't backed up my computer, so is there still any way to save the stuff I have saved to my computer?
First thing to do: make a backup.
Remove the hard drive, mount it into an external USB case, and attach it to a working system. Copy the files you need to recover to the working system.
Then return the drive to the system, press F12 at powerup (a few times), and boot to the Dell diagnostics. Run an extended test on the hard drive -- you'll likely receive a notice starting wtih 2000- (likely 2000-0142). If you do, it means the drive is failing and needs to be replaced.
@shalulohani, did you create two separate threads under two separate accounts for the same issue? Your original thread and this one started by @WildWolfPaws have almost identical first posts. If you can get your system to actually load into the Automatic Startup Repair interface rather than checking the entire disk, you'll have an option to run Command Prompt, where you can also run chkdsk c: /r. Alternatively, as ejn63 suggested, if you have a USB to SATA dock/adapter (or a desktop PC with an available SATA port and a spare SATA cable), you can remove that disk from the system and connect it to another PC and run chkdsk on it from there, since that other PC will have a working Windows installation. However, if the automated disk check is hanging for hours, there's a very good chance that the disk is dead. In that case, you might still be able to recover some of your files from the disk without even running a disk check, since it's possible the damage is limited to an area required for Windows to boot from that hard drive, but there's no way to be sure at this point.
But whatever happens, hopefully this experience motivates you to start backing up your data going forward. If you don't have an external hard drive or access to a network share for this purpose, then get one. Windows has a tool called File History built in that's very easy to use as long as you have an external hard drive or network share and will handle your personal data, and then there are other tools that can handle capturing an image of your entire hard drive in order to facilitate recovering or rolling back your entire operating system if desired. One such tool that I like is Macrium Reflect, which has both free and paid versions depending on your needs.
CheckDisk (chkdsk) is useful for fixing issues related to an improper shutdown of a computer, where a file was open when the shutdown occurred. Here is an explanation of chkdsk (technet.microsoft.com/.../ee872425.aspx). If you run chkdsk, have it just perform the analysis first. If it returns a large number of errors, there is a good chance that your hard drive has mechanical or logical issues and would need to be repaired. Running chkdsk with a large number of errors can cause problems if it is allowed to try to and correct them. Hard drive repair (www.gillware.com/.../hard-drive-repair) should be able to correct the problems and allow the data to be recovered successfully.