Today I helped a neighbor recover data from his laptop. It wouldn’t boot and it ran (or failed to run) Windows XP. Checking it with a low level utility showed that the MBR and partition table were shot.
Now, Windows repair didn’t find the drive. Fixmbr didn’t fix the MBR. Fixboot didn’t fix the boot. Knoppix couldn’t mount the drive. Nothing worked.
So I pulled the drive from the laptop, hooked it up to my old, crappy, Dell Optimus, Octopus, or whatever it’s called, since it had SATA. Got the FindPart utility package, and man does that thing work right! The instructions aren’t exactly clear, but you can figure it out with a little patience. That stuff rocks! Highly, highly recommended.