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It sounds like your computer's hard drive may be failing or you have a corrupted operating system. If it finally starts, I'd suggest using the restore partition/ restore media to reinstall the operating system. Otherwise, replace the hard drive.
Try this method it may work. If you can boot up with the external USB hard drive on your Acer, then use a working computer and copy the Windows installation CD onto the external hard disk then connect the USB externak hard disk to the USB port on your Acer and boot up using the external hard drive.
The notebook cannot find the Windows operating system on the hard disk. The hard disk may have failed.
First - re-seat the harddisk and reboot the computer. If this does not work then reboot and go to theBIOS configuration to see if the BIOS detects the hard drive. If it doesn'tdetect the hard drive then it could be faulty.
Next - to determine if thehard drive is faulty, remove the hard drive and insert it into an USB hard drive adapter and connect it to a workingcomputer's USB port. If this computer cannot see itas an external hard drive and you cannot open the various folders and files,this confirms the hard drive is faulty.
Then the hard drive needsto be replaced in the computer/laptop, Windows installed and the computer orlaptop's device drivers plus your programs etc. to get a functioning computer/laptopagain.