True, my son who has a Mac laptop has never had problems. I guess on that count it is true: better to spend twice the price for an Apple laptop as a PC-based laptop ($1500 for the Apple vs. $700 or so for the PC laptop).
Since my last post, I enlisted the help of a friend who manages the local computer systems for the Social Security Administration. My friend tried to lead me over the phone in retrieving my audio and activating my hard drive. No luck on either count, during a 90 minute conversation. My friend believes my motherboard (3 years old) is set to read a SATA I hard drive and that my new hard drive is SATA II. A quick fix he suggested did not work. So, I guess I will try buying a PCI card for SATA II and hope for the best.
My audio has returned, tenuously, via a suggestion by a less computer-savvy friend: System restore. I selected a date to restore to that preceeded these problems, and it worked . . sort of. Sometimes when I reboot the computer, it goes back to no audio. Have you EVER dreamed of having a Microsoft engineer tied in front of your computer and you say, "Make the sh!t work, or there will be a quarter-sized hole where your brain used to be!"? No? OK, maybe its just me (but, in my dream, Bill Gates is sitting there).