bungeejumper wrote:when I ran the system checkup, it declared a physical fault in my hard drive and advised me to copy all my data out.
Well, at least I've done the safety copy already. I guess it's chkdsk time, then?
Followed probably by a disk cloning and replacement?
I think the very first thing I'd try to do is make a system image before it's too late.
People use the terms 'clone' and 'image' interchangeably, but it's important to know the difference. A clone is an exact sector-for-sector copy of the original, an image contains just the active data from the original. Both can be used to create a working system with the same partitions as the original, but an image is smaller because it doesn't contain any of the unused sectors.
Windows has it's own built-in system imaging. It's a bit cranky and there are other better ways to make images (Macrium Reflect Free being one of the best) but the advantage of using the Microsoft one is that it is already installed, nothing new needs to be written to this (potentially failing) disk.
You'll need an external usb HDD to put the image on and either a CD/DVD drive or a USB stick to make the boot media to perform the restore.
Make the system image from Control Panel > Backup & Restore (Windows 7) > Create a system image. When done, it offers to make the system repair disk on a CD/DVD. If you don't have a DVD drive, or you do but would prefer to boot from USB then skip this.
The USB boot disk can be made Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Recovery > Create a recovery drive. You do not need to 'include system files' if you just want to use it to restore an image. With system files included it becomes capable of clean installing Windows on a blank drive. As this is an Acer OEM install, the 'system files' will also include all the Acer custom drivers and utilities - it will be the 'Factory Reset' drive for your specific model - well worth making in any case.
The next thing I'd do is replace the HDD. Then I'd restore the system image to that before working on repairing the damage (if any) the system had suffered while on the old drive.
Edit: on reflection making a recovery drive including system files is the VERY first thing I would do. If all else fails, you would at least be able to create a clean 'Factory reset' install on a new drive.