Look up Zero Assumption Recovery. If it works then you only need to decide if the files are worth it.
Ok, This will be a long story, but at the start there were will be a few points that summarize my questions/problems, and the the long story.
1. What is wrong with the drive? -- is it really dead? Device manger, and Bios still see it.
2. would purchasing a converter to make it a USB drive work in retrieving files?
3. if no, what will work
The computer in question is my girlfriends, well ex-girlfriend now. It was an old gateway, about 3 or 4 years old. I am not sure if it is Fat32 or NTFS. i assume it is NTFS because windows XP was installed on the computer. Simply, one day I came home from work, and her screen was blank and she was laying down, I move the mouse to receive a "PXE-E61: Media test failed, check cable" at the boot screen which would continue every time I booted it up. I understand what that means.
and while the bios still saw the hard drive I knew the hard drive was not dead, so I changed the jumper settings threw in a spare 60gb I had (the old one was 40gb) and reinstalled windows xp, and set the old drive as a slave. Except "My computer" does not notice any partitions, but device manager sees it.
Next, i have tried moving the hard drive into another computer, and again bios sees the drive but does not boot from it. I figure there is a problem in the master boot record as I've even tried using different IDE cables. So I guess my question is does anyone have any other ideas for me? and if my hard drive is damaged how can I recover my files I there are a lot of pictures on there from travels we took, and what not (we were together for over 2 years, and there are a lot of memory's on there which we should've backed up)
anyone questions ask, and I will try and offer more explanation. I am not a computer expert, but I am by no means computer illiterate.