So this is the scenario. I have just left my house and will be abroad for 3 weeks. I see some disks lying around from Dell with words such as 'recovery' and 'in case of system failure'. For what I can now recognise as the most intelligent few seconds of my life I considered taking them with me. Of course, I did not. And now I am here. A few days ago (after plugging in my sisters iPod to my computer...not saying it's her fault....I'm just saying that is what happened) I started getting random BSODs of DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_EQUAL_OR_LESS with reports of problems such as tcpip.sys (okay, so maybe it's not entirely my sister's fault). This got more frequent even after attempting some fixes for known tcpip.sys errors. I read that this could mean bad RAM or HDD. Tested RAM and it was fine. I decided to leave chkdsk overnight. Unfortunately, a loss of power during the night meant my laptop shut down mid-chkdsk. Since then I haven't managed to boot into Windows. Error code 0x00000024 which I am led to believe is to do with ntfs.sys and the recommended solution is to run chkdsk. However, at this point I have no way of booting into windows. Safe Mode, last known config. etc all lead to BSOD. I start to worry about my HDD. Since I am away from home I do not have all my blank cds with so I start to make USB bootable keys. I start off with the trusty Ubuntu Live. Boots fine. Mounts system perfectly. I now have a theoretical way of backing up all my data (theoretical because I need to get an external drive to back it up to first). I try the UBCD4Win. Boots fine before I realise it has no useful utilities for what I am doing (I think....). My mission: run chkdsk. Next step, I get NTFS4Dos. Try to boot and get BOOTMGR missing. Mission Failed. Windows 7 Live. Error 0xc0000017. Windows Vista Recovery USB - I get to the repair page and it asks me to select the OS to repair but none is listed. I click load drivers and it tells me to insert device installation disk....I don't have that. Does that mean that I wont be able to even reinstall windows? Or does it mean I need to go out and buy some blank CDs - or will it still not find my HDD? In theory...I can buy an external HDD, boot into Ubuntu, clone my drive, reinstall and clone back. Right? Is there any way to fix this issue without cloning my drive and a clean install? I now try to boot completely normally of the HD and it says 'Loading DRMK [dell recovery console] Version 8.00... Can't load kernel file' So now I can't even get to BSOD. Why me?!