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Depending on your version of windows, I would trying starting in safe mode to see if the computer does boot. If it does, then you want to restart again, go to advanced boot options and select "start windows with last known good configuration." Access advanced boot options following the steps at this link. Need to Start Windows 7 in Safe Mode Here How
If the screen's backlight doesn't come on at all, that's a new screen. You can find more from Gateway's support website. If the screen lights up but stays completely black, that's a motherboard issue, same fix. If the Gateway logo comes up but never goes into windows, that's most likely a hard drive issue, same fix. If you see an error message from Windows, that's a Windows issue. You could use the recovery DVDs that came with the system to fix that. Just put them in and turn the computer on. Press F8 repeatedly until you see an option to boot to DVD. Then follow the instructions.
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You could remove the hard drive and pickup an adapter online or from a computer retailer that will allow you to connect a 2.5" drive to a standard ide connector found in most "tower" computers. If this is a "SATA" drive it will not need this and can be connected as a 2nd drive with no problems.
Try going into safe mode upon startup by hitting the F8 button. If it does then hit safe mode to get into your computer. Go to start>accessories>system tools>system restore. Follow the wizard to restore your computer to a date earlier than when you started having problems. Let me know if you have any problems or questions.