|It could be a failing hard drive, one reason among many why it's so important to have your files backed up on a different drive.|
You need to test it with the drive manufacturer's diagnostic software for DOS, which runs from a bootable CD which you make from the downloaded ISO file.
The liinks are top of this page: http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm...
If you can't ascertain what make it is, download "Seagate SeaTools for DOS" which can be used to test any make: http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/su...
Then download & install IMGBurn from here: http://filehippo.com/download_imgburn/
Use IMGBurn to create a CD from the ISO file you downloaded from Seagate.
Now boot your faulty laptop from that CD to test it's hard drive.