Well, I've managed to get the big ol' auxiliary drive opened safely … the scan found only one infection, a piece of spyware. Which, of course, leaves me wondering why the whole system failed so spectacularly in the first place, but pooters are what they are, software is what it is, and Microsoft is Microsoft … meaning, of course, that there's no way to tell. Each entity in the chain of responsibility claims that it's the other chap's fault; THEIR product is (naturally) flawless.
Any road, I've found ALL my backed-up files in the drive, but now the problem is where to put it once it's opened. The bundle is 63 Gig, and the HD in this machine is only 80 Gig, of which there is only 43 Gig of free space. In the words of Jim, the slave (Huckleberry Finn), "you can't put two gallons in a one-gallon jug. 'Twould strain de jug." I have the same problem … unless, of course I can open and store the files in the drive in which they are now situated. I must research this before doing anything irrevocable. Any words of wisdom from members of this Community would, of course, be appreciated.