You should be able to navigate to your external HDD from the Open dialog panel in PE. There you should be able to locate your Project and load it.
When working with externals, I strongly recommend that the drive letter for that external be set in the OS (same for ALL OS's on any other computers too), so that the computer sees that drive with the same drive letter, every time you boot. In XP, this is done via Computer Management (local) and navigating to Disk Management. There you can assign a drive letter, and every time you plug-in or boot with the drive plugged-in, it will have the same drive letter.
For externals, I assign the first one Z:\, the next one Y:\, etc. This allows me to work backwards up the alphabet, so I do not conflict with any internal HDD's, or burners. I do this for that drive on every computer's OS, so my Z:\ is seen as Z:\ on all of my computers.
PE links to the drive letter first, with all Projects and also the Recent Projects dialog. If you booted without that external, it probably lost that link internally, though if the Project is still intact on the external, and is not corrupt, just navigating to it, will get you going.
Good luck, and please report your success,
Hi Hunt, [first or last name?]
Thanks for your speedy response, I was up and running same day. Had my daughter give me a hand.
Great news! Hey, isn't it time that your daughter started paying you back for all those years of suffering? [Grin]
BTW, last name. First is Bill. The scren name is actually one that I set up with Adobe many years ago. It was never used in the fora, until the recent changeover and boom, there it was after all those years. Went to change it back to Bill Hunt, but Adobe said that that name was already being used. Since I had had it, from the beginning of Adobe's presence on the Internet, I assume that I now have two accounts. Some day I'll call Adobe and try to get them combined into one. Until then, I am the_wine_snob. When I saw that, it was like the "Ghost of Christmas Past," however it long pre-dated Christmas Past!
Thanks for reporting your success,