I attempted to save files from a friends malfunctioning IDE hdd (primary drive not found msg) by connecting it to my XP desktop (both are dell's). The damaged hdd was recognized by windows and in the process of being scanned when at about 40% complete it made the clicking sound and stopped. After disconnecting it and restarting my desktop I got a message to the effect that it can't find any drives. No Primary 0, 1; no secondary 0, 1; no diskette drive. I tried to boot on the recovery disk, but since it can't find the cd-rom it didn't help. Any suggestions?

Do you hear any sound from the hdd when you turn the PC on?

Have you got the CD drive and faulty hdd on the same cable?

I doubt you be able to get the data back without paying a lot.

Try resetting your BIOS by removing the motherboard battery for a few minutes (not seconds), replace, boot into "Set up" (see start up screen for your button to access) and check if the BIOS is now recognizing any drives now.
If you get your PC going again, do not try and fix his, just copy off any information you can get. One way that often works is to put his drive in the refrigerator for an hour before you try to access it. Once you have all the information you need, then try to repair. To try and repair it, go to the web site of the manufacturer of the drive and see if they have tools for the drive, if so, download and try to repair the drive with them.

No sound from hdd. cd & dvd are on the same cable and open/close, hdd is on a seperate cable. I am unsure if the power connections were returned to exact original location.
I tried the bios reset and removed/replaced the battery without success.
It is just crazy that none of the drives (hdd, cd, dvd, diskette) are found. Any other ideas?
Thank you!

Unplug both ends of the leads going to the drives and re-seat ensuring a good fit. With the power it makes no difference where it comes from or goes to just as long as you have the correct type of lead plugged in. It is just about impossible to put the wrong power connector in the wrong devise.
If that will not work, unplug the CD/DVD and try and boot with just the hard drive plugged in.
If that will not work, you had better look at taking it to a repair center. if you do try and find a one man operation. You may get a free quote to repair.
You could try your hard drive in his PC just to see what happens.