My daughter has a Gateway MA2 laptop and I think it was hit by lightning on campus, I was told the motherboard is fried as it wont boot up, (No power Bat or plug)
My question is can I take out Hard drive and power up somehow or stick in another laptop and boot up to salvage her documents, pictures etc. It was running XP Home edition.
as long as the HDD was not encrypted (doubt it was as you were running xp home) and not fried by lightning (doubt it too as HDD is insulated somewhat from the powerline through the PSU) just pull the hard drive and hook up to a working system,, it should just show up as another drive (just make sure the working pc bios is set to boot from its own drive,,, otherwise it may try to boot from your daughter's drive)
PS I had something similar happen before,, the electric company paid to replaced/repaired my appliances & PC parts damaged from the power surge.
I would presume it is a fairly new laptop so it likely uses a SATA connection. You can pull the hard drive out and connect it to any SATA supporting desktop as a second drive and pull data off provided the hard drive was not damaged by the lightning as well. With SATA both laptop and desktop Hard Drives use the same connectors so it will connect easily. It is unlikely that putting the drive in another laptop (unless it is identical to the original) will allow you to boot the disc due to different hardware being present. Since you did mention XP Home is on it, it is possible that it is a parallel ATA drive in which case you would need this adapter to connect it to a desktop computer: