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If the hard drive is faulty and then you cannot backup your data. There are companies that can recover data off faulty hard drives BUT it will cost you an arm and a leg for their services. You can buy a hard drive for your Gateway, it does not need to be the same make or model BUT if you get a larger hard drive you need to check the laptop's specification to see the maximum size hard drive the BIOS can support.
I'm sorry to have to tell you this but it sounds like your hard drive has gone bad. If you bought this as a factory refurbished unit you can go to gateway.com for help with a replacement hard drive, I can't promise how much help you'll get.
Otherwise, you can buy a replacement hard drive from one of several online computer parts sellers. The problem is that you'll have to replace the operating system unless you have a recovery disk. If you don't have a recovery disk be sure to order an OS at the same time or you'll end up buying the more expensive retail version. Estimated cost of doing it yourself $175-$300 depending on OS and hard drive choices.
If your not knowledgeable enough in computers to change the hard drive and install the OS yourself then take it to a friend that is, taking it to a repair shop will most likely cost you more than it's worth.
I hope this is helpful.
I have a Gateway 7510GX. Turn the laptop over. On the side closest to you should be a cover that is held in place w/one or two screws. Reomve this cover and the hard drive should be underneath it. One screw is all that is holding the hard drive tray and the hard drive in place. Remove the screw and gently wiggle the tray loose. There are probably four screws holding the hard drive into the tray. Replacement is the opposite of removal.
Hard drive passwords cannot be broken or gotten past. There are no special tricks unfortunately....most people that have an unknown hard drive password are forced to get a new drive and start over. If you know what the old BIOS password was, sometimes when people make a bios password they make the hard drive password the same. BIOS passwords and user account passwords can be reset......hard drives cannot. If you need the files from the hard drive....you might be able to access the files by removing the drive and using an IDE / SATA to USB adapter and connecting to a different computer.
Check the connections to your hard drive and make sure the sata and power cables are fully connected. Then listen for the spinning sound. If your hard drive is not spinning it may be bad, or it could be an issue with your connectors, either way i would contact gateway for further support as it should be looked at.
Open "my computer" and highlight the C drive, which is basically the hard drive, at the lower left it will tell you the initial size of the hard drive and the amount if space you have left. If you don't have much space left, then you may consider a new and bigger hard drive. You can also free up some space by deleting any unused programs and running a disc defrag and disc clean up from the accessories category in the start menu.