I decided to use the browse/backup files function to try and salvage the files so I can just reformat and reinstall Windows. When selecting my hard drive I receive an error. Any other volume browses just fine, including the other thumb drive I inserted to test:
I tried the partition editor, where only the bootable USB drive showed up, the hard drive wasn't shown at all. I was starting to think the EasyRE software must not be very good so I tried hooking the drive up to my desktop PC. While the drive is hooked up, I selected my working hard drive to boot from. It freezes on the black Starting Windows screen. I think the laptop hard drive is just physically broken at this point. I am going to take it into the repair shop to see if they can recover my files.
As far my experience with EasyRE the purchase and download process was very pleasant. The file size was only about 50mb. I am unsure what will happen when new versions are released but it seems the single download of the current version is all you get. Burning it to a CD was very easy and painless. I decided to create a USB because it may run faster on the machine (it didn't). Creating a bootable USB was a little more difficult but using the instructions contained in the email I received with my purchase I was able to create the bootable USB using EasyBCD which I was able to obtain for free for personal use only. The EasyRE software boots up well and seems to contain all the features it claims to. I'm sure that it would have fixed my problems if they were software only, but I am almost certain the hard drive is physically broken. I feel that EasyRE is quicker, easier but most importantly more powerful and feature rich that the Windows installation disk. A single successful use could easily justify the cost. I intend keeping it in my arsenal of PC repair tools for the next time Windows won't boot on one of my PCs. EasyRE can be purchased here, use "play demo" for a nice video walk-through of features: