We hooked up the old hard drive & proceeded to follow the instructions in the article. And quickly encountered problem #1: our original Windows XP Pro CD won't bring up the "Welcome to Setup" screen.
So, we found a copy of Windows XP Home Edition from our old home computer & put it in the CD-ROM drive, and were able to get to the "Welcome to Setup" screen & enter the recovery console as directed. We entered all of the command prompts in part one of the article (md tmp, then the copy c:\windows\system32... & delete c:\windows\system32... & copy c:\windows\repair... commands) & then typed exit to quit the recovery console. Lo and behold, it gives us the same message as before. We managed to get to a screen (by pressing F8 after restart) that let us choose the option to start in safe mode but when it restarted it just brought up the same error message.
We are at our wit's end. We tried your advice on how to repair XP by reloading it (putting the original CD in & not choosing the recovery console option), but our original XP Pro CD won't even bring up the "Welcome to Setup" screen, & my husband was afraid of losing data by loading the XP Home Edition CD (when we loaded it, there was no Windows XP operating system found). We even tried the advice to try FIXBOOT (it didn't work) or FIXMPR (does not seem to be a viable option since we're trying to recover data that's on the hard drive). I really need to access the data on this hard drive & at least print it out if I can't back it up or copy it.
Please help. Do you think we need to take the hard drive to a computer shop? (I'm concerned about how much they'd want to charge us, and the last time we took a hard drive to a computer shop they couldn't fix it, charged us $100 anyway, and my husband ended up reformatting it & fixing it himself - but it's not the same hard drive as the one we're trying to access now ;p) I just got a laptop with XP Pro on it; is there any way to connect the 2 computers via USB & repair it from this computer somehow?
Thank you for any help you can give! It is greatly appreciated!