If you think about it, he can't download and run anything in windows. He can't get that far.
I am not certain what would cause that error other than (impending) hard disk failure or controller/motherboard failure. Overheating wouldn't seem to be the case as I would expect different errors in that case.
My suggestion would be to slave the drive to a working machine and use one or more tests on it there. I would start with something which looks at the S.M.A.R.T data on the drive and assuming there isn't a warning of immanent drive failure, from there run some other utilities starting with chkdsk. This would also suggest a problem with the motherboard controller.
If the SMART data shows impending failure, do NOT run chkdsk or such, but rather, immediately try to copy off any data which can't be lost.
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