Problem evolves from XP to 7 and now DOS

I guess this is the right spot - it crosses a wide swath of systems - anyway -

I have now had five computers crash in a month, and I got four back without losing data, but this is the one that's killing me.

The crash started when I re-booted, and XP hung up at the Microsoft logo, as if in a loop. I tried booting in safe mode - hang - but got it to come up in Safe mode for directory work, or whatever it is called, and when I tried to restore to an older restore point, it wouldn't (of course) restore - to any of the points. But, when I clicked OK, it went ahead and loaded as normal. Great.

So I ran a registry clean, virus scan and everything else I could think of, and rebooted, and again it hung, but this time it wouldn't load windows in any form. So I bought a new computer with Windows 7, because I didn't have time to play, but -

The c: drive, has tons of data I want to get off, so I thought I would hook up the drive as a slave to another IDE computer running Windows 7 I have here, copy the data and toss the old IDE drive. Now, here's the strange thing - when I restarted the computer with the old drive as a slave, that computer hung trying to start Windows 7 - got to the logo and stopped - and the problem drive was a slave.

So I decided to load up my DOS disk, find the drive, delete anything windows related, and remove my data, but when I load DOS, it doesn't recognize the other drives. The BIOS sees them but not DOS.

How can I get the data off my old IDE drive, if it hangs all copies of Windows, and DOS doesn't see the drives?

TL:DR - drive hangs Windows anytime it's connected to a computer in any position (master or slave) - DOS doesn't see other drives.

Amazing - I still remembered all those funky DOS commands -

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  1. some models of IDE drives have 3 jumper positions, Master, Slave, or Single if its the only drive on the cable. DOS wouldn't understand the newer filesystems on the hard disks so I wouldn't use that. You could boot off of an Ubuntu or Fedora LiveCD and use the filemanager to copy or delete any files you need.
  2. I loaded Ubuntu from the disk and it did not see the second drive even though the bios did. It did not appear to have a means of looking at files on another drive - in fact it didn't see the windows C: drive.
    So I put the wayward HDD in the c: position as master, thinking I would load Ubuntu on there as an operating system, and Ubuntu hung, just like windows XP and 7.
    I will now try Fedora. Must be something really nasty happening on that drive.
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