Posted 23 September 2009 - 04:31 PM
I have done this several times in the past, usually when someone else's harddrive has got contaminated.
Assuming your operational computer will support two hard drives, all you have to do is take the side off your computer and plug it into an IDE or SATA lead ( with your computer switched OFF ) and into a spare power connector. It is important that none of the circuitry of the hard drive you are connecting temporaily can contact the case of your computer. To avoid this risk, either mount it into an empty drive bay or sit it on a non-conducting surface - a rubber / plastic mouse mat will do nicely.
When you re-boot, the second ( temporary ) drive will show up as Drive D:/ in Windows Explorer and you should be able to copy any files you want. When you have finished, turn off the computer, remove the hard drive and put the side back on.
I have never tried this with drives set up under different operating systems and I do not know if that would work, but you say that both your desktops are running XP, so that shouldn't be a problem.
I am curious about one thing - how did you manage to fry everything and not fry your hard drive ?
Hope this helps,