My wife got a new laptop and we cascaded her old desktop to me to use as a music server. All was going well until Thursday AM when the desktop was DOA with Hard Drive issues.
The BIOS could see the drive but the OS couldn't.
I went to Microcenter and bought a new 320GB EIDE drive and plugged it in. I ran the Recovery CD and it partitioned the hard disk and restored the system back to it's original condition (XP Pre-SP2). It was only 20 or 2 CD mounts as it swapped around loading the individual programs from the recovery CDS. I uninstalled (AGAIN) all the junk so I had a vanilla machine.
At this point I was happy I did the new Laptops recovery disks on DVD not CD - less mounts in the case of a total restore.
I pulled down a terabyte or 2 of Microsoft patches - with countless reboots. At this point I have a viable machine. I'm in the process of restoring the music and pictures from the backups (yes it was being backed up - whew) and we'll be good to go.
I bought a USB ATA/IDE drive adapter and the drive is DOA. I have another IDE drive sitting around that it can read, so I know the adapter is working.
I have to give Microsoft their due, everything worked as expected. I was a little hesitant since I wasn't sure the restore was going to work fine or not. While I work in it I haven't done anything with PC's (other than use them ) in 10 years.