I am posting this question under storage because I think I may be out of other options. Computer amateur, so I apologize for wrong terminology and wordy description.
Initial problem: stop error c0000415 - which I now believe was related to my ATI video driver. Initially I could access XP Pro safe mode and was instructed by the Dell technician to run chkdsk on my hard drive, which seemed to fix the problem - XP booted normally. Next day, same stop error message. So I was able to enter safe mode again and ran chkdsk on the hard drive. This time it didn't work and after reboot, could not get back into safe mode - safe mode would attempt to boot, but would stop after agp440.sys driver line appeared on the screen (which I believe is the last loaded driver on my system before actually getting to safe mode). Then inserted XP boot CD and ran XP recovery/repair, disabling agp440.sys - which did not help - safe mode would still stop at the same point. Dell recommended to reformat HDD, but it still contains non-backed up data I would like to keep. Hard disk appears to be ok - passes IDE disc diagnostics on boot menu. I also re-enabled agp440.sys as disabling it did not seem to help. If I tried to boot XP normally, it would stall on WindowsXP logo screen then start CHKDSK - would eventually say volume is clean, reboot, and run into same stop error.
Gave up on dell tech support and installed new hard drive as the master (formatted, installed XP, working fine), moving my dysfunctional HDD to the 2nd/slave spot in an attempt to access my data/files this way. I think I made the appropriate adjustments in the boot menu system setup, but XP doesn't recognize this second hard drive(my original drive). This second (original) drive is listed under disk management, with no assigned drive letter and a single partition dividing the drive (39MB FAT / 74.46GB NTFS). I didn't know whether or not the FAT portion of the drive was interfering with the drive recognition? And if so can anything be done about it short of reformatting? Any other suggestions?
Also, does anyone have any other suggestions about getting back into safe more were I to change my original drive back to master. I think that if I could get back to safe mode, I would be able to install a new video driver and resolve my original problem.
Thanks ahead of time!