Yes, all the obvious things were checked....
But when it was in the slave bay inside the PC, although it wouldn't show under 'My Computer' or allow access of any files, I did notice it when I ran the Belarc advisor.
It showed as drive 0 and was called WD250-_____, but thats the only evidence I have of it even being recognized. I can't imagine why it would cost so much to fix one of these things....or where such a lab is to be found, but one thing I learned is this:
Don't handle these hard drives while they are still hot or warm. You gotta let 'em cool off completely. That's the only 'rough treatment' this one got, being moved from one place to another and back again, without a cool-down period.
Also, it seems the bigger they get, 250GB, 360GB, 500GB the more delicate they are and more prone to getting broken by just handling them while they are still warm.
It's a tragedy of immense proportion, so heed my word on this. I know now from experience and a broken heart.