If you suspect the power button, try shorting it right where you are. Don't disassemble the PC, just follow the wires back from the power button, identify the 2 pins that it plugs into, draw a picture or take a photo or whatever you need to do so that you can put it back the way it was. Then remove the power button wires from their pins. With the PC all plugged in and ready to go, reach in there with a little screwdriver or some other metallic instrument and short those two pins for a half second. Electricians often wrap their screwdrivers with electrical tape so that only the last half inch is exposed. I mention that because sticking a screwdriver into your PC is not exactly a risk-free proposition. You don't want to touch anything but those two little pins!
If the PC doesn't jump to life, or does exactly the same thing as it did when you pushed the power button, then you might as well put the power button wires back on and assume that the problem is deeper.
I was hoping someone else would pipe up and tell us whether it's possible to keep destroying power supplies by hooking them up to a ruined motherboard. Darnit.
Anyways, your data is kept on the HDD. Completely independent from the motherboard. Problem is you can't just put a new motherboard and parts underneath a HDD that was set up for another system. Not without a lot of screwing around, anyway. This is a drivers issue. Too complicated to go into right now.
Your best bet for retrieving data at this point is to take out your HDD (let's call the one from the damaged PC HDD A) and plug it into another PC as a slave. If your HDD A is a PATA HDD, the kind that plugs into the wide ribbon cable, then you'll probably want to plug it into the 2nd IDE bus and ribbon cable.
Jeez, where do I start? What I'm proposing is not a terribly difficult project, but the IDE interface has always caused confusion because you have to put the device on the proper clip (each IDE bus can support 2 devices, so IDE cables generally have 2 clips on them) and you have to understand how to set up the little jumpers on the back of your HDD's and optical drives so that the IDE bus properly identifies them as the primary and secondary devices.
Your HDD A (from the damaged PC) will be jumpered as the primary in the old system. The simplest thing I can think of is this:
1. - Open up your working PC. Identify the #1 IDE bus on the motherboard (or "plug" if you will - the plug that the ribbon cable is connected to). The #1 IDE bus will have the HDD plugged into it. There's also (almost always) some sort of label silk-screened onto the motherboard itself, identifying IDE #1 and IDE #2. If the working PC has an optical drive, that drive should be on a separate IDE cable, plugged into the #2 IDE bus. That's how it SHOULD be, but sometimes manufacturers cut corners and put the optical drive on the #1 IDE cable, jumpered as the slave.
2. - Lift HDD A out of the non-functional PC as a unit. Disconnect the ribbon cable at the motherboard, not the back of the HDD. That's the surest way I can think of to be confident that HDD A is jumpered correctly, and on the right IDE ribbon cable clip. Before removing it, make absolutely sure you draw another map, showing which way the ribbon cable is oriented. There's always a colored stripe marking the #1 pin. Most IDE cables are keyed, but some aren't, and we don't want you to lose track of how it was plugged in.
3. - OK, back to the operating PC. If there's a ribbon cable plugged into the #2 IDE bus, draw another map showing how that one is oriented. By that I mean, make a little map showing whether the colored stripe on the ribbon cable is facing up or down. You must make sure that you know where the #1 pin is. Then unplug it. You don't have to remove the optical drive from the PC, just get the ribbon cable out of the way.
4. - Plug HDD A into the #2 IDE bus. Make sure you plug it in so the colored side of the cable corresponds to the #1 pin. Find a power plug for the HDD, either by grabbing a loose one or borrowing it from the optical drive if necessary. Set HDD A on a piece of cardboard or a box or whatever so that it doesn't get dropped or jolted. It doesn't have to be screwed into the PC case as long as you have it securely parked on something non-conductive. *One comment: keep an eye on this drive if you end up having the PC on for hours. It might get hot without air moving around it. You may need to set up a small room fan blowing on it.*
5. - Start the PC. Your BIOS should automatically detect the second HDD, but the PC will not try to boot from it. The PC will boot to Windows from the original drive, NOT HDD A. If you can tell by putting a finger on it or placing your ear next to it, see if HDD A spun up when the PC started. If all goes well, the operating PC will see HDD A as another drive, and if you go into Windows Explorer you should be able to explore HDD A, copy files from it back to the first HDD or to a thumb drive, or whatever you want to do.
EDIT: You'll be able to copy files, such as Word documents or mp3's or your TurboTax data. Programs are a different story. Programs intertwine themselves into the system, and you can't just copy the program folder. If we can't get the original PC working you'll have to try loading TurboTax to the second PC, then opening your saved data.
It's also possible to plug your HDD A into the operational PC and have the optical disc too. But that would entail more screwing around with master and slave and positions on the IDE cable & it'd just get way too complicated. If you google around some I'm sure you can find some pictures of IDE ribbon cables and how to set devices up as master and slave.
I tried to read all the above and I got confused
You may just have to get a friend over there to help you move HDD A over to the other PC. Or maybe someone's posted a much better guide (with pictures) on the web somewhere!
Edited by Bartender, 15 September 2006 - 05:49 PM.