Russell, thank you. The drive light does not appear to be on i.e. not like the other lights. I will leave it off for over night and check again tomorrow evening (and will reply then).
H Russell, I have put the hp laptop on again. It will not boot and the hard drive light looks off.
Thanks Russell, it is good to know one way or another. Just out of interest what do you mean by LiveCD or bootable CD - just so that I don't look a complete luddite when I ask.