If you system don't wan to boot windows up, and you have some files you want to save. It's easy to boot up a live Linux OS. I recommend DSL. YOu can both boot it from cd and USB.
To prepare for a dead harddrive, you can set up your system in RAID0 or do one of the above methods.
---------- Post added at 10:18 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:16 AM ----------
ohh... you have a laptop. Forget about raid then