More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague where the cause is revealed.
As to the drive, since the drive cables are incorrect, get around the issue by placing the drive into some USB drive housing.
I have dismounted hd from a a four yr old emachine which blew up its mother board. Distended capacitors I am told. No one knows why. I took out the hd and want to add it to another computer so user can continue work in same disk, HP Vector, pentium 3 with windows xp pro. And so I can learn how to do it. I can add this hd to the HP power supply, but both buses are female, and I can't find a way to plug into the master bus and make the this hd a slave. Nor am I sure of any config requirements, drive d etc. If anyone can direct me before I electricute myself or blow up the second computer I would be grateful. The old hd came out of a four year old emachine, but I can't tell what kind of hd or size etc.