Well. I am rather proud of my self. My major undertaking with this computer upgrade was a success!
Not without stress and pitfalls and hair pulling, teethgnashing, swearing a blue streak and stomping away from it, but still a success. Finally... after a few hours of not knowing if I could pull it off because of various road blocks.
The patient survived and is functional. Fully... well, I don't know yet, but for the most part, yeah. I still have all my files, except for one folder of pictures of my dog.... that seems to be corrupted and causes the external hard drive to loop endlessly, for some reason, so I may have to resign myself to having lost those forever.
But I am now fast and funcitonal in Cyberland again, so I am a happy camper! Thanks to everyone for your words of support. :-)