I have an ATA drive that I want to recover old harddrive files from, but it doesn't seem I have any usable HDs to install XP on. Every time I tried to delete a partition and reformat it, I get an error message. I can't recall the exact message but it's preventing me from making a partition on these drives. All the HDs I have been working with seem to have more than one partition and I've been trying to install XP on those alterantive partions. In other words, I've been avoiding installing XP on partition C since I keep thinking it might have the important HD files I'm looking for.

Can you answer this simple question: DISK 0 always means the one that isn't the slave, right? I'm always making the important HD a slave while I'm trying to install XP on another HD.

Now to my actual question: is it possible to map a ATA HD to a laptop via USB? since I can login into windows using this laptop. Or can I backup those important HD files, that I know are located on the C drive, onto a portable USB drive? Is there a command line tool I can use for this? I'm just trying to look for some alternative options on how to backup HD files without using the "mapping on a new drive method with a working windows partition'' so to speak.

Disk 0 is the first Hard disk.
If I understand you right, you need a USB/IDE/ adapter.
Attach it to the Laptop USB port, then copy the appropriate files.

Thanks, I will have to see if I can get my hands on one of those. I will mark this resolved if it works...