I am attempting to transfer the contents of one broker laptop hard drive to my external drive for back up prior to having it repaired. It is under warranty and has a bad mother board. I have two laptops to do and one is running win 7 and the other win vista. I connect all cables and it shows on my good laptop that there is a device for a bridge but I can't or don't know how to withdraw the information I am seeking as that is the only indication I get that the usb device is working. How to I transfer using this device? Shouldn't my bridge be another drive letter that I could open and then copy?
What do you mean by "a bridge"? Do you have the drive from the broken laptop in an external USB case? How is it hooked up? Was the issue with the drive on the bad laptop to begin with? If it was, using an external drive cage probably won't help you get the data out. Need a bit more details here, maybe explain things different as the terms you are using are a bit confusing.
The way you want to do this is:
Get an external USB drive case, IDE or SATA depnding on what the drive connection is.
Hook up that USB case to the good laptop, along with your external drive, copy the files from one to the other.
Inside the enclosure will be a USB-SATA bridge board. If the bridge chip detects a hard drive, then it enumerates the enclosure as a "USB mass storage device". Your OS will probably already have installed the drivers for such a device. In fact a thumb drive uses the same driver.
However, if the hard drive cannot be detected, then the bridge IC may identify itself using its own Product ID and Vendor ID. For example, some Seagate and WD external products may identify themselves as a "Default Initio Controller". In such case the OS will ask you for a driver.