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Greetings all:

I was using an HP m1170n (Media Center) desktop, with a 200Gb Seagate hard drive, running xp sp2 with no problems. A few weeks ago I turned on the computer, and got the infamous "black screen." As background, at times I got just the black screen or the blue HP screen, before it all froze. One time I was able to turn the caps lock light on and off, but eventually, I couldn't even do that. I troubleshot the graphics card and monitor, and verified they weren't the problem. I was unable to enter safe mode. I tried to do a complete recovery using my recovery discs, but the system simply froze each time it entered recovery mode. I then bought a new Seagate 320Gb hard drive, replaced the 200Gb Seagate that was supplied with the m1170n, and tried the recovery again without success. Based on these results, I made a leap of faith and assumed I had a fried motherboard, and decided to buy a new computer.

At this point I am hoping to salvage the files stored on the 200Gb hard drive that I removed from the computer.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I bought a new HP Pavillion computer with Vista Home Premium. I also bought an external hard drive enclosure, installed the old 200Gb hard drive, connected it via USB on the new computer, and powered it up. Upon opening the hard drive folder, I find two files listed, and the names of the files are the odd symbols that usually indicate trouble. The properties show 294mb used and 6.1Gb free. Not sure what that means, considering this is a 200 Gb drive. I also find that the properties show that the file system of the now external hard drive is FAT32, while the file system of the hard drive in the new Vista computer is NTFS. Truthfully, I don't know anything about file systems, so I don't know whether this is a problem or not.

Sorry for so much background. Here are my questions:

1. Is the 200Gb hard drive from the old computer (now the external drive) dead?

2. If not, can I access the data that was stored on the hard drive? How?

3. If the files are lost, is the hard drive salvageable? If it is, how do I go about reformatting it?

4. Do you think the motherboard of the old computer is fried? If it's not, what can I do to bring the computer back, given that I have a new, unformatted 320Gb Seagate hard drive installed as of this time?

Appreciate any suggestions.
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