With XP's activation scheme, this is doomed to failure. Your best bet would be an USB 2.0 drive enclosure and hope for the best that the loaner laptop will read the data ok.
But you may be revealing you haven't learned that hard disks are temporary storage media. In less than one second, hard drive contents just vanish.
If you were maintaining your backup, you would not be asking such a question.
Time to re-think what the issues are. Again, most burn before they learn. Your choice.
Are their other notebook brands or models that could operate off the hard-drive currently in my Gateway 450ROG -- a 60 GB Toshiba MK6021 GAS? Does it ever work?
The backlight on my notebook screen went out (notebook just 6 months old), I apparently have to send it in for warranty repairs, but meanwhile I am in an active job search and can't afford to be without my email and files for 7-10 days. I'm thinking about perhaps renting / borrowing another laptop / pc that will allow me to keep working and give me access to the info on my current hard drive.
Other ideas welcome?