How many wires? If there are four to six it is probably a pulse moter. If you do not know which wires to pulse when you will have to figure out by process of elimination. It is not that hard to do I used a dc power supply or battery, connecting the wires two at a time in a sequince that will rotate the motor in one direction. Use low voltage when tinkering as not to damage the motor. To control I would sugest a Basic Stamp. You can buy a starter kit from Parallax for about $149. This gives you the Stamp, PBaisc programming language, serial cable to connect to your computer, 300 page manual, and carrier board. I have used these before and they are awsome. Some things can be powered directly from the basic stamp but if the motor requires more amprage than the stamp can supply you may need additional circuitry between stamp and motor.
I've taken them apart and modified them, but never really used them for any real application. I was going to put one in an RC plane but it ended up being to heavy.
They are usually just simple 3-phase (3-wires) AC motors. Making a controller to control them is easy, getting them out of the HDD is the real tough part. You will need a 3-leg inverter set up and a uC to control all 6 FETs. Sin-wave modulation is probably the easiest to implement but space vector modulation will give you the best performance.