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The DST error code 1000-1046 is definitely a failing hard drive. ..I am not sure why your laptop is not recognizing a CD in the drive, but you should go into your BIOS settings, and in boot sequence, make sure that the CD drive is the first boot device. If you can't boot from a CD, you are not going to get very far with installing a new hard drive...
your hard drive has failed, on boot (dell splash screen) press f12 to bring up boot menu, choose diagnostics option, run this and it should confirm hard drive failure on dst short test (drive self test) and give an error code (e.g 2000 - 0142), trust me on this i am a dell field service engineer
A 0146 error means that the hard drive has a failing sector, and the drive will need replaced. If it's operable, then back everything wanted or needed up, because it will fail completely if it hasn't already.
The short DST test is generally the failure of the HDD,It would giive you code next to it , that would something like 1000-0146,or 1000-0141 etc. Do give that code and I would let you know the exact failure