The trick of installing Windows on a separate hard drive worked - after I went online with the laptop and made a floppy with the correct drivers (the diskette which came with the motherboard was not readable).
As part of ts initial setup, XP spent hours salvaging the original RAID array. This morning I was able to finish the installation, and not only did it see the array, it saw it as drive C, which means I may be able to boot from it.
But first, I launched the RAID manager app, told it to mark the "bad" drive as good, and it is now rebuilding the array. This time I am going to let it finish before doing anything which would make the machine reboot. SP2 will go on later.
A cursory examination showed my docs are intact, but I'm not able to see any of my Nikon D-70 photos. The filenames and sizes are correct, but they won't come up in Windows Viewer or Paint. After the rebuild and SP2 I'll see if I can boot from C: and see the photos. And generally find out the extent of the damage.
Bottom line - this is much better than I expected.
So why was I up at 6 am on a Sunday after not getting to bed till 1:30 AM? Because Pumpkin discovered a little round plastic gem holder with two rings inside which jangled prettily when he batted it across the floor. H must have knocked it off the night stand. One ring is gold with a teardrop facet-cut ruby my grandparents gave to me for my Bar Mitzvah. It needs to be resized. The other is a silver ring with Florentine finish that was made for me in Thailand in 1977, which lost its teardrop 1 carat star sapphire. I have a replacement, though. Just have to get them both to the jeweler.
I highly recommend Goldfields, in Sunnyvale. Mr. Chang does superb work at a reasonable price.
Was not able to get the 'puter to boot from the RAID drive, re-installing Windows on it said it needed to format everything, so no thanks. The original registry is just plain gone. Looks like maybe 10% of my photos survived, but none of my software. Since it's going to require re-installing everything anyway, I may as well put Vista on there. So before I left for the nails place I started defrag on the RAID array. It needs it. Hope it doesn't take more than all day.