Oh thank you thank you for your reply!
When I click on the external drive it opens and shows me most folders, and all applications seem to be there. The problem- some of my folders are not there: personal documents and 'shared' folder for example. With the applications differnent things are happening. Quicken and Firefox are "like new," my history and settings are not there and I don't know how to restore them. VLC player icon will appear in the dock but nothing else (I download the current version). AppleWorks folder is present, but no app. And where are my photos?
As this puter is my first Mac, I reckon some of this is simple and I still need to figure it out. However, I am under the impression this should be easier. That said, I want to boot from my external drive because I am missing (and emotionally missing) files dear to me.
Thank you, thank you. Switching to Mac has been an awesome learning experience, thanks to kind people such as yourself educating the rest of us! I think computer are like cars (to the rest of us): best to know how to change the oil and get regular tune ups. :)