Hello out there, My battery is dead, and my HD may be dead or simply confused. Upgraded to Lion, and want to clone my current system to an external disk including Recovery Partition before system service.... My Macbook Pro (coming on 2 years old now) recently had issues with starting up (blinking gray question mark.) I found on Apple's website the support forum which stated holding down alt while booting will allow you to choose either your HDD or a Recovery Disk. For the past few reboots I was able to do this, maybe over a 36 hour period (I always chose HDD.) Now, though, when I hold down alt and power on the notebook, only the cursor appears over a gray screen. No icons show up at all. When I press "N" the usual globe across a disk drive blinks. I've also tried to boot up holding down shift but to no avail. Then with the power adapter plugged in, the laptop worked like normal, at least for a little while. Then it froze up and I haven't been able to access anything as before. I have a ton of documents that weren't backed up (I'm talking manuscript documents, short stories, that sort of thing. I'm an MFA Fiction student and I simply cannot lose these documents.) If I throw in the OS X Snow Leopard disc and reinstall from there, will I actually lose my data on the harddrive? According to number 7 of this page (http://guides.macrumors.com/Mac_doesn't_boot) I'll be okay. But searching through some other forums it seems people have had their discs erased in the process. Is there anyway Apple could find those files after the reset if it does get wiped completely? What do you recommend I should do? Take it into Apple? I don't want to lose these files but I also don't want to pay Apple to do something I can do put in the original disk and reinstall OS X. Thanks to a very helpful poster over at the apple website, we've come to conclude my battery's on the fritz and most likely needs replacement. So should I go through with the reinstallation of Snow Leopard and risk losing my documents, or should I go through and attempt what he suggests? (https://discussions.apple.com/message/16718013#16718013) Thanks so much! I really appreciate any and all help! I owe you guys a round!