After the verdict came back that the hard drive had gone in the old 6 or so year old computer (for the second time), the decision was made to get a new one, rather than continuing to patch to old one. Back to Windows 7, and content with it. New 'puter is faster and more quiet.
I lost essentially no data, thanks to my Western Digital Passport 1 T backup drive. I can't stress enough the value of having an ongoing backup. And they are so cheap these days, too.
However, without some extreme efforts, I will need to start from zero on Free Cell.