Is it completely dead? If you can get into the system, you can usually obtain the hard drive manufacturers diagnostics tools which can test your drive.
Regardless, I would probably use Knoppix to get my data off the laptop and use the command line tools to check for hard drive errors, but you'll need to do some reading up on this if you are new to it.
Boot with another device such as a floppy, bootable CDROM (if your system is capable) and see if you have access to the hard drive. If your computer does not include a floppy drive, you may be able to buy an external one. Have you checked your CMOS settings? What makes you think it has failed? What operating system is loaded on it?
Me thinks you have a power problem. If your HDD was dead, you would've got a boot error on your screen. The fact that your screen is blank and your CD tray has no power leads me to believe you have a more fundamental problem that you originally thought.