Gee Syd, It sounds to me that your hardrive has failed. You may try to restore the machine to factory settings.
You have not mention your lappy's make and model. Most have a recovery partition. Unfortunately, after such recovery all data is lost but it's better than a morbid lappy.
In the Kioskea faq bank, they are restore to factory settings tips for most laptop makes.
But if you are asked again, your bios may be corrupted and Windows must be installed.