Thank you for fast reply! Here is the story and, it's a long one which involves 2 PC's I'll do one at a time.
I had HP XP Media Center PC which stopped working on me so I took it to Aware Bear here in Rochester. They called and said the mother board was shot but my HD was fine and did I want them to make back up CD's. I didn't really have the $$ at the time so said I would be in to pick everything up. I knew I could get a USB portable HD for my data at a lesser cost than they quoted for the back up CD's. When I opened the PC case the HD fell out onto the table. They never bothered to hook anything up, just shoved it inside and closed it up. So I decide to hook it up as a slave in another PC and freaked out when I saw it said "no OS" I called the shop and took it back to them. The guy tells me the HD is recognized but no data is showing up and there is a 50/50 chance the data can be recovered and to try is about a hundred bucks. After I remind him they said my HD and data was fine when they had it there before now he tells me I probably caused the HD problem myself because I transported it to there wrapped in paper towell and a bag. I said, are you kidding, gee maybe it happened when it fell out after YOU stuffed it back in with out so much as a single screw or cable attached. I just walked out at that point.
The bottom line is that HD has family photos and voice emails from my husband who passed away in 2005 that can't be replaced at any cost and I desparately want to do all I can to recover whatever is possible. I am on a small fixed income and simply can't afford to hire a professional so it is up to me. I realize I may do more harm than good but it is my only chance. I am so greatful I found a group with amazing minds willing to share and help anyone who asks, plus provides software and all for FREE.
So on to PC #2 and that problem.
I'm old and get attached to things I'm used to and I like. After learning my mother board was no good but before knowing my HD had been trashed I had what should have been a great plan.
I would get another PC just like it and have a 2nd HD on slave to use as my back up and all would be well. I went on craigslist and found a PC pretty much the same and a bit newer, the only thing was the owner had upgraded to XP Pro which was working just fine. Since he provided me with the restore to XP Media Center CD's I bought it anyway and it should have been simple. NOT simple! I ran the first 7 and all was well, after it indicated the restore portion was completed and go to CD 8 it started with a bunch of can not install such and such (many were cat files) and after I hit OK it went on and on. Eventually it acted as if it was finishing but it never did. I figured the CD's were defective I called HP thinking I could get a set of restore CD's that would work but they are no longer available.
So that's where that HD is now, no Media Center or XP Pro so no PC.
I know that UBCD is free but this older PC I'm using has no burner so to me under $5.00 inc. shipping was a fine deal. Again thank you so much for being here on the net and whatever suggustions and help you can give is greatly appreciated. Sorry tis is so long!