1. Find the make/model of the hard disk and run it's maker's drive test or drive fitness test. Also check the cables are still plugged into said drive.
2. A proper restore CD will work proper within the limits of what OS you have. That is, Windows XP has a limitation of restoring to a 127GB maximum size drive. XP SP1 or XP SP2 can go past that. Some run out and change the drive size past what the machine or OS can handle.
3. "If I were to copy all the info from my C-drive onto one of these externals, and then take it out of it's encasement and put it in the old computer as it's new master drive, would I have a clone of the newer computer, with it's operating system functional and everything?"
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Here's why. There is no standard that dictates that the sectors must be translated the same way in the drive case or when on the IDE interface. As such, transfers like that are not a sure thing. I've seen failure and success.
Relative newbie when it comes to hardware issues. Have 2 eMachines computers on home network with a router, running Windows XP home, SP2 on both, also running spybot, adaware, avg free antivirus, ZoneAlarm firewall on both; newer machine runs Microsoft Antispyware and Norton antivirus 2004... older machine runs McAfee antivirus. Regular defrag performed.
Ok, here's the problem. On my older machine, reboot was becoming slow the past couple of times it worked, meaning I turned it on, the eMachines logo appeared and got stuck there for 15 minutes, and then it would boot normally. The most recent attempt, it stood there and I left it for several hours, after which I get a black screen with little white letters saying ''Operating System not found.'' The system drive on this computer is 20 gigs, the computer is 5 years old, and I had installed (with a geek helping) a second 120 gig hard drive, which even the geek had trouble connecting due to the configuration of the case and had issues at first getting the slave drive recognized. I am not concerned with the info on the system drive, as most of the important info is on the slave drive. So, I wanted to put in the rescue disk that came with the computer to see if it would re-install the operating system, BUT my concern is this: on the chance that the system drive died, would the rescue disk see only the slave drive and start to format it? (I don't want to lose this info.) I have trepidation about going in there and disconnecting it first, as even my geek friend (no longer available to help me) had trouble getting it recognized in the first place, but if that is the only way to safeguard the info, I'd have to do it. But is this necessary? Or would the rescue disk just fail to do anything if the master drive is dead?
Ok, second question. Assuming the master drive IS dead and I need to replace it. Will my rescue disk still work on a replacement drive, or would I need to re-install Windows XP from a purchased CD?
Third question: This may be a stupid one, but, then I am a newbie. My newer computer has several external usb hard drives connected. If I were to copy all the info from my C-drive onto one of these externals, and then take it out of it's encasement and put it in the old computer as it's new master drive, would I have a clone of the newer computer, with it's operating system functional and everything?