hi again, thanks to the helpful people from here, I've established that my harddrive has been physically damaged but no other parts. I've ordered the replacement hdd and it's on its way, however, backup is now the issue. startup takes longer and longer each time. 5 minutes at first, then 10, then 30, and last night it managed to get to an hour just to startup to the main screen. now that I'm at the main screen, I literally cannot do anything except for move the spinning pinwheel around. the clock is frozen, some of the icons in the menu bar haven't loaded and some of the icons don't load. my question now is: how can I backup a failing harddrive? thanks for reading.