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try booting with either "option" or "cmd + r." Disk utility has a section for disk testing and repair. Apple also has a page for recovery mode with a free tool to download and use as a bootable thumb drive.
Your hard drive may have crashed or it's settings have changed so it is no longer recognized as a startup (boot) drive. Try starting from your original operating system CD. (or borrow one). Press the C button at power up to force your computer to start from the CD.
Once started, don't install the operating system. Go to the pull down menu's and select Disk Utility. If Disk Utility sees your hard drive, select it and run the repair disk program. If it doesn't see it, your hard drive has likely crashed. You will have to replace it, install a new copy of the operating system, and likely have lost all your data and documents. This is where I would start.
Have you tried booting off of your restore disc? During startup you can boot from a CD, DVD, or thumb drive by holding "C" while booting. You can also try starting into recovery system by pressing "R" and "command" keys while booting, but I'd reccommend trying the bootable disc method first. Hope this helps!
Question 1: how old is the mac book? If its very old, it may be a problem of age... sounds stupid, but old machines can give up the ghost.
If its really dusty where the fan intake is... the build up of dust could cause an over heating problem... try cleaning the vents with a hoover and some gas air.
question 2: is it running from mains power or battery? if its running on battery alone.. it could be a weak battery that needs replacing.
failing all of these... take it to your local dealer and get them to give it a look over.
if you dont wanna do that... time to invest in a new machine possibly.
Restart your mac. As it's restarting/booting up, hold down the command, option, R and P keys simultaneously. As it's booting up and you're holding these keys, you should hear the startup chime, continue to hold the keys down, it will cycle and you'll hear the startup chimes again. Let it go thru this cycle 7 (seven) times before you let up on those keys. Once it's cycled 7 times, let it boot up normally.
If that doesn't work, then reinstall the original system software that came with the Macbook. You may have to reformat the hard disk and do a clean install.