computer won't boot up

Gateway T-1625 notebook
March 9, 2010 at 15:35:39
Specs: windows vista home premium 32 bit w/ sp1, AMD Turion 64 x2 / 2GB ram
I had to download and burn a vista boot disk in order to get my laptop to boot up. The problem is my hard drive is not being recognized. There is no operating system to choose to repair and when I run Startup Repair it cannot fix the problem. I have no clue where to go from here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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March 9, 2010 at 17:23:26
Many laptops nowadays use a SATA hard drive instead of the more traditional IDE drive. The problems with SATA drives is sometimes the cards used to read them aren't recognized by the Windows Vista DVD. In this case you have two choices:
A) Go to the website for your computer manufacturer and download the driver for your SATA/chipset, put it on a USB key or a separate disc, and load the drivers when you use the Windows Vista DVD
B) Go into your BIOS settings (usually by pressing Delete when you start the computer, or F2 or F10) and change the SATA mode from SATA, RAID or Storage to IDE.

This is assuming that your hard drive is readable in the first place.

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March 11, 2010 at 13:57:03
Thanks for the advice. The BIOS setting is changed to IDE.
When I try to load the driver I am getting a message that the installation failed. When I continue on with the startup repair without choosing a drive the results show "Does not have a valid system partition." I don't want to do anything that would cause a data loss. There are some files on the drive that I would like to retrieve before all else fails. Any suggestions.

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March 11, 2010 at 17:53:18
Would I be able to take the hard drive out of my laptop and plug it into my desktop to extract the data off of it?

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