The Windows XP on my friend’s laptop failed to boot up. Asked me for help to fix it for her. What can I say about the female gender when it comes to technologies. Didn’t bring her licensed Windows re-installation CD with her when she came over here to study. Didn’t know the importance of backing up her stuff, especially her course work. Luckily at least the guy who set up the laptop for her partition her hard disk into three drives. So her important stuff are located on drives separated from the the Windows partition.Initially I thought it was just software issues, at most a day’s work, so took it on without question, and that the deadline of her course work is looming, end of March. I was aware that I haven’t got all the right tools to deal with the problem, but gave it a try anyway. Turned out that her hard disk was failing. And fortunately I was in time to pull out her course work, as well as her personal stuff. On why the bad sectors on her hard disk could spread across partition I have no clue. As it seemed to me that other partitions on her hard disk were not used that much. Anyway, her laptop has been in service for three years already. So perhaps it’s not too surprising afterall.With such serious hardware problem, you either have to replace the hardware or you replace the whole laptop. The latter is a quicker option, but expensive. The first option requires buying the right laptop hard disk, and then installing and configuring the software. That takes time, and will most probably require me to assist again. While she sorts out what to do, the immediate solution for her is to settle on using her current laptop/hard disk, as her hard disk may still be able to last a little while longer. Unfortunately, both for her and for me, Windows is the only operating system she’s familiar with. But I already had a working version of Fedora linux installed on her laptop! And the most annoying thing was Windows refused to install when other operating system had taken over the Master Boot Record! So more work for me, yet she eventually still has to settle on using Linux, as Windows just cannot survive on a failing hard disk. Well done Windows!