For around $25 you can buy a hard drive enclosure that you can put the drive into, then plug it into a USB port. That's the easiest and safest way. The only real technical thing you need to know is whether your hard drive is IDE (aka PATA) or SATA. You can tell that by the type of connectors it has. IDE uses a ribbon cable about an inch and a half wide, SATA uses a much smaller cable about 1/2 inch wide. Knowing that, you can buy the right kind of enclosure, put the drive in it, and plug it into a USB port. Windows will assign a drive letter to it like it does with flash drives, and you can access any data that's on it.
My HP Pavilion DV2000 seems to have a power problem, as though the power input jack has failed. I'd like to swap the hard drive into my new Dell m6700 long enough to back up some files to an external hard drive. I'm obviously not able to check my the old system's properties, so I don't know the old drive's model number or whether it will install and run properly on my new machine. I'm hoping someone can answer the question so I don't remove and replace in vain. Can anyone help me out?